Your first fertility consultation should be viewed as an inclusive conversation and experience, where you feel comfortable asking specific questions to learn more about your infertility diagnosis, treatment options, a fertility specialist’s success rates with your age, specific diagnosis, and so on. This visit can also be nerve-wracking, particularly if you are brand new to the infertility journey, or if you are striking out to meet with a new specialist due to a poor fit with a former fertility doctor the first time around.
Typically, your first visit includes an intensive review of your medical history and your family’s reproductive history, as well as any test records and results from your OB or a former fertility specialist. We’ll also conduct a complete physical examination and then discuss your options/our recommendations from there, working in a collaborative way to determine what’s best – and what makes the most sense – for you.
To help you keep on track, and to familiarize you with the types of information you’ll want to learn more about, we’ve put together these 5 important questions to ask your fertility doctor:
1. What do our test results show you? Can you establish an official infertility diagnosis?
We may feel it’s best to perform fertility testing again before we can answer this question with completely confidence. While we value any information that comes in from prior physicians, there are several things we want to establish on our own.
- Lab results evaluated by specialists in a reproductive endocrinology lab. Sperm analysis is a prime example of results that are often erroneous when performed by a general lab. While these lab techs do their best, we often have patients with a test that said sperm count/morphology was normal, when they were not normal at all. Lab techs working in a reproductive endocrinology lab are highly-trained specialists and get more accurate results.
- Verifying results. Healthcare professionals are conscientious. We don’t want to make a diagnosis based completely on someone else’s tests, results and/or analysis of those results in case someone made a mistake.
- Resolving conflicting results. We’ve also had cases where clients came to us with stacks of medical records with conflicting or contradictory results and findings. Our goal here is to provide streamlined clarity for resolution and accurate infertility diagnosis.
For these reasons, we may recommend repeating certain fertility tests so we can provide a confident and accurate diagnosis.
2. What course of treatment(s) do you recommend for our diagnosis?
Here, the goal is always to work in the least invasive and most affordable progression. There’s no need to jump to IVF with PGT when low sperm count/morphology/motility is the issue. In that case, we’ll probably proceed with IUI and/or oral fertility medications (if needed) for a few cycles before trying anything more involved.
3. What are my chances of success with each of the potential fertility treatments?
This is an important question because while there is a menu of fertility treatments available, their success rates are moving targets depending on your age, your infertility diagnosis, combined infertility factors, potential inherited genetic/chromosomal factors, etc.
Having the fertility doctor review the success rates for cases just like yours is the only way to move forward in an educated way. These answers may shift your fertility plan, causing you to consider options such as donor sperm, donor eggs, or even donor embryos to increase your chances of success.
Read, Understanding Fertility Success Rates: 5 Reasons Why it Matters, to learn more about what to look for when you’re comparing clinics’ statistics. Never hesitate to ask for clarity as the stats can be confusing!
4. Do you feel changes in diet or lifestyle would increase my fertility chances?
Some fertility doctors come at the topic in a very clinical way, leaving out some of the “outside of the box” factors we’re learning have an impact on fertility. The best fertility specialists are those who tackle infertility – and fertility treatments – in a holistic way, evaluating lifestyle and environmental factors alongside the clinical results.
5. Who do I speak to when I have questions or concerns about my results or treatment?
Knowing exactly who to contact, and how to contact them, is helpful. This gives you a personal “go-to” person when you’re interested in learning more, or want to address an concern about a treatment, after effects or your fertility medication.
We also recommend watching, 10 Things I Wish I’d Said to my Fertility Specialist; you can feel free to tell us or share anything you like. The more the team here at RRC knows about you, and can address for you, the more connected and supported you’ll feel throughout your time with us.