consulation

Most couples seek fertility treatment after trying unsuccessfully to get pregnant for a year, or six months if the woman is over age 35. There are a few things you should know before you visit a fertility specialist and choose your fertility clinic, however. Let’s take a look at a few of them:

The first consultation is an information-gathering session.

It’s a great idea to send over all your previous test information, including any fertility tests you might have had elsewhere. We also want to see any other medical records on other conditions you might have to see if there are any relationships of which we should be aware.

There will also be lots of forms to fill out. We know no one likes them. But again, we want to have all the information we can so we can make a comprehensive plan to address the issues you are having with your fertility. You can expect a health form, family history form, a discussion about your monthly cycle and a physical exam. In preparation for this appointment, you might need to ask your immediate family members about their health and fertility history. There are some hereditary conditions (e.g., recurrent miscarriage, fibroids, polycystic ovarian syndrome or endometriosis) about which you might not even know that can affect what’s going on with your fertility health.

We also use this time to set expectations. We want you to know how we like to approach treatment and how it works at our clinic. We want to answer your preliminary questions and get a few of ours answered, too. We likely already have somewhat of a plan of what to do first for your case, at least as far as testing, but all of this information helps us be as efficient as possible with your treatment.

There are many tests in the beginning.
Couples that are considering fertility treatment should know that testing is part and parcel of treatment. From the semen analysis to the postcoital test that looks at whether sperm can penetrate the cervical mucus to a hysterosalpingogram that shows the doctor any abnormalities that might be present in the woman’s reproductive organs, there are any number of tests the doctor might order. We also take blood to test for hormone levels in the blood and to determine whether the fertility issue is hormonal or not. We are thorough in this part of the process, so be prepared to be tested.

Sometimes the diagnosis isn’t clear.

In general, the causes of infertility tend to break down as 40 percent female fertility issues, 40 percent male fertility issues and 20 percent unexplained. Sometimes you’ll hear it falls in thirds. In either breakdown, there are a large number of instances where it isn’t clear what is causing the problem. This diagnosis is often hard for my patients to hear, particularly after all the testing, but it’s an unfortunate fact about the science.

The good news is that despite the diagnosis, we can still treat infertility in a myriad of successful ways. We often start with fertility drugs to see if that works out the issue. In other cases, we opt to go for a more intensive treatment, such as in vitro fertilization. I can tell you that even if we can’t explain why there is a problem, we definitely know how to treat it anyway.

When it comes to fertility treatment and choosing a fertility clinic, you need to work with a fertility specialist with whom you feel comfortable and who can help you get pregnant. Working together — you, your partner and your doctor — you will create the family you always wanted for yourself.

Sources:

Weiss, Ph.D. Robin Elise Weiss. “Before You See the Fertility Doctor.” Pregnancy.about.com. 25 February 2015. Web. 12 January 2016.
http://pregnancy.about.com/od/gettingpregnant/tp/Before-You-See-The-Fertility-Doctor.htm

Kozarovich, Lisa Hurt. “16 Things to Do Before You Visit an Infertility Specialist.” www.babble.com. Web. 12 January 2016.
http://www.babble.com/pregnancy/reproductive-endocrinologist-2/#schedule-an-appointment