Scheduling a visit with your fertility specialist is a major step on your path to parenthood. A fertility doctor’s services can be important, especially for couples who experience difficulties getting pregnant. The initial fertility clinic visit can be intimidating for many people since they do not know what to expect. This article covers everything you should expect on your first visit with a fertility specialist.
Introductions With Your Fertility Doctor
Your first visit to the fertility clinic will be coupled with numerous uncertainties that can cause discomfort. Developing a trusting relationship with a fertility doctor can help ease the discomfort throughout the process.
The introduction process allows you to get to know your doctor better. Your doctor will talk you through what they do at the facility and answer any initial questions you may have. You can feel confident that the advice you receive is accurate and reliable, coming from a certified doctor with years of experience.
Health Information Evaluation
After you familiarize yourself with your doctor, you will describe your situation (including all symptoms you may be experiencing) to the doctor, in detail. The doctor will review your medical history as well, as this may help identify what may be causing infertility.
Some of the questions that your doctor will ask when following up on your medical and fertility history include:
- Menstrual cycle issues
- If you experience pain during intercourse
- The length of time you have been trying to conceive
- Lifestyle choices like smoking, alcohol or substance abuse, and weight
- Past treatments or medical cases not highlighted in your records
- Your ovulatory cycle
Note: When going in for the first fertility clinic visit, you should bring your partner. For heterosexual couples, infertility can occur with either partner; having both partners present, therefore, can allow for testing and questioning to accurately identify what the issues may be. If your partner is unavailable or if you do not have a partner, bringing a friend or family member along to hold your hand can be a good measure of comfort as you begin what can be an intimidating process.
Reviewing past medical records offers the specialist an idea of where they can start treatment. Before recommending any treatment, they must accurately diagnose underlying issues causing infertility. Then, your doctor will recommend several tests to get to the root of the problem.
Fertility tests include:
Ovulation testing: Specialists have to check your ovulatory cycle, so they institute tests to check for hormone markers. An ovulation test kit can help detect Luteinizing Hormone (LH) levels which surge right before ovulation. They can also test for progesterone, whose surge occurs immediately at the end of the ovulatory cycle.
Hormone testing: Hormones like pituitary, thyroid, and follicle-stimulating hormones (FSH) are huge female fertility markers. Your fertility specialist will conduct blood tests to check hormonal levels and determine if they affect your ability to conceive.
Medical imaging: Your doctor will recommend tests like ultrasounds, sonograms, MRI scans, and X-rays to check for abnormalities causing infertility. Medical imaging offers doctors a clear view of the uterus and ovaries, so they can notice abnormalities like cysts or fibroids. A detailed view of your ovaries will allow them to check for markers of your ovarian reserve like the antral follicle count.
Laparoscopy: To get a clearer view of the existing problem, specialists can recommend laparoscopy. The doctor will make an incision below the navel and insert a thin viewing instrument (Laparoscope). Then, they check the entire reproductive tract for anomalies.
Follow-Up Questions and Treatment Recommendations
Tests offer your fertility doctor essentially all the facts they need to initiate treatment, but they will also ask questions. Follow-up questions often seek clarification to ensure the treatment they choose is right for you.
Doctors will recommend various fertility treatment options depending on your condition. Some of the methods they may use include:
- Lifestyle modifications like quitting smoking and weight management exercises.
- Fertility drugs.
- Surgery to remove cysts or endometriosis that may be inhibiting pregnancy.
- Assisted Reproductive Technology like IUI and IVF.
Note: You cannot complete treatment on the first visit, so the doctor will walk you through the options first by offering detailed information on each. Then you can make an educated decision as to what you feel most comfortable with.
Financial and Time Commitments
Fertility treatment can be expensive and, in some cases, may not be covered by insurance. To avoid surprises during treatment, your fertility doctor will go over possible treatment costs with you.
Your doctor also schedules future clinic visits to follow up on treatment. The treatments can sometimes be unsuccessful, so doctors adjust techniques on subsequent visits to make sure the treatment is working effectively. Planning time commitments allows you to know when you will next see the expert on clinic visits.
Find the Best Fertility Specialist
Seeking expert help on infertility is a significant step towards parenthood. You should find the best fertility specialist to walk you through infertility treatment. Top doctors make the first steps to parenthood less intimidating by ensuring you have all the necessary information and are comfortable moving forward with any treatment.