Prepare for Your First Visit with Your Fertility Doctor
Deciding to begin fertility treatment is a powerful decision. It can bring about all sorts of feelings of excitement, anxiousness, and fear. We know dealing with infertility is like being on a rollercoaster and this phase of the journey is no different. However, being prepared for this first appointment with your fertility doctor can help you feel more confident and in control of your care. Here are a few things to keep in mind and prepare in anticipation your first appointment.
Bring your partner or a support person
If you are partnered, many fertility clinics encourage you to bring your significant other to the first appointment. Fertility doctors like to gather as much information as possible before determining the best course of treatment. This includes your partner’s health information as well.
If you have chosen to parent alone or your partner is unable to attend, bringing a support person is always a good idea. Your first fertility appointment can be overwhelming, and having someone there to provide support is helpful. Be sure to take someone who you trust fully as you will be discussing very sensitive medical information in front of them. In this blog I talk a bit about how to choose your support person!
Come with medical records and be prepared to answer a plethora of medical questions
Be sure to gather your medical records from your Primary Care Physician and OB/GYN. This helps to make your appointment more productive by allowing the fertility doctor to have a better understanding of your history. Your partner should also bring any pertinent records from their PCP and Urologist. Specifically, prepare records that include:
- Recent Labs
- Semen Analysis
Your fertility doctor will ask you and your partner what seems like a million questions about your medical history. This portion of the visit takes the longest amount of time and will include questions about:
- Recent Labs
- Fertility Testing
- Semen Analysis
- Family History
- Menstrual Cycle
- Genetic Disorders
Take some time to think about these things. Additionally, be sure to speak with your family about your family’s medical history if you can. The more you know, the better!
Create a list of your medications and supplements for your fertility doctor
Going into your appointment with a list of your current medication and supplements (ie., vitamins, powders, etc.) is incredibly helpful and efficient. Medications and supplements can sometimes have adverse effects on fertility and/or interact with fertility drugs. Click here to go to a fillable and printable form to take with you to your appointment.
Be prepared to answer questions about trying to conceive
Your fertility doctor will ask you all sorts of questions about how you have been trying to conceive. This can get a bit uncomfortable for even the most open person. They will ask you questions like:
- How long have you been trying to conceive?
- Have you used ovulation predictor kits?
- Have you taken any medication to assist with ovulation?
- How often are you having intercourse?
- When are you having intercourse?
Be prepared for vitals, bloodwork, pelvic exam, and ultrasound
Once the nurse comes to get you from the waiting area, they will most likely take your weight, blood pressure, and ask for the date of your last menstrual cycle. After your consultation the doctor may likely order bloodwork to check hormone levels and complete a pelvic exam and ultrasound.
Be prepared to answer questions about your lifestyle
Your fertility doctor will ask you questions about your day-to-day life that includes:
- Alcohol consumption
- Drug Usage
- Physical activity
- Home composition
After meeting with the reproductive endocrinologist you will likely meet with a financial counselor. They will discuss any costs you will incur and any insurance benefits you plan to use. In addition, be sure to call your insurance ahead of time to discuss your benefits and any requirements. Some insurance providers may require you to join their fertility program prior to receiving benefits.
Prepare a list of questions for your fertility doctor
I am sure that if you are at this point in your journey you will have done a lot of research and have a ton of questions for your fertility specialist. With this is mind, prepare a list of any and everything you would like to know. Now is the time to get your answers and your memory may fail you in the moment.
Bring a notebook and folder
It is incredibly helpful to write down everything and keep it in one place. You will be given a lot of information that you will need to refer back to throughout your infertility treatment.
Your fertility doctor may order additional testing
Your fertility specialist may want to perform additional testing before beginning your course of treatment. These may include tests such as:
- Genetic Testing
- Pelvic ultrasound
- Bloodwork for hormone levels
- Hysterosalpingography (HSG)
Bonus Tip: It is okay to shop around for fertility clinics. All clinics are not created equal. Do not be afraid to find the best fit for you at the present moment!
Leave a comment below if you have any additional helpful tips for men and women meeting with their fertility specialist for the first time!