Getting ready for your first infertility visit? Congratulations! For many couples, scheduling the first fertility visit is one of the biggest hurdles of all. It takes a lot of courage and dedication to accept that something isn’t working, and being willing to find out what it is so you can solve the problem.
Odds are you’re experiencing a wide range of emotions. On one hand, there’s a sense that this can’t be real. Pregnant women seem to pop out of the woodwork and you assumed it would be relatively easy once you were ready to start trying. You’re probably a little bit scared; Is it me? Is it my partner? How will this affect our relationship? And then, there is the anxiety of knowing that the most intimate parts of your relationship and body are about to be evaluated and “tested” by a stranger.
Preparing For Your First Fertility Consultation
Here at the Reproductive Resource Center, we’ve learned knowledge is everything. Knowledge, and a whole lot of heart. The more you know about what will happen during the first visit to your fertility clinic, the more relaxed you will be so you can soak up all the important information that’s about to come your way.
While every clinic is a bit different, certain aspects of a first fertility consultation will be relatively the same. Your visit will probably last a few hours, and while there, you can be prepared to:
Review your medical history. First, the doctor is going to want a detailed description of your personal medical histories, as well as your family medical history. She’s listening for any red flags that might indicate a medical or genetic predisposition for infertility factors. Things that will come up include lifestyle habits, drug use (past or present), past sexual history (STD’s, prior pregnancies or abortions, etc.). Past and current medications may be reviewed as well. There is no judgement in these consultations. These facts are all part of the critical information store that will help us to help you get pregnant faster.
Share your fertility journey. For a woman, the fertility journey begins long before she wants to get pregnant. Thus the doctor will want to know about your menstrual cycle: have you had regular or irregular periods? Are your periods painful, heavy, light, unusually short or long? She will also be interested in your story as a couple. How long have you been trying? Are you timing intercourse correctly? What methods or infertility treatments have you tried already, if any?
Receive a thorough physical. We are doctors after all, and what would a visit to a doctor be without a routine physical? Seriously, though, completely physicals provide a nice general portrait of you and your body. You could have a latent infection or medical condition that shows up on the physical and can be addressed right away. The healthier your body is, the easier it will be to conceive and have a healthy baby. Thus, we need to start at the beginning, and add more detailed information from there.
Tests, tests & more tests. It probably comes as no surprise that your first visit will also include a host of tests, based on your medical and personal histories. At the end of the day, there are three different pieces of the puzzle that we need to wrap our minds around when it comes to infertility:
- The Ovaries. Ovaries are where your eggs live. Are they working? Are there sufficient egg stores? Are the eggs maturing as they should – leading to ovulation? These are some of the questions the tests will answer.
- The Fallopian Tubes. Once the egg is released, it travels down the fallopian tubes, hoping to meet a healthy sperm. Once connected, the two continue traveling down the tube and into the uterus. However, fallopian tubes can be blocked for a variety of reasons. If they’re blocked, or don’t move the egg and/or fertilized zygote fast enough, it will be impossible for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus. So, we need a clear image of whether the tubes are open enough to facilitate the ovulation/conception process.
- The Sperm. Of course, healthy and energetic sperm are integral to the fertility equation. An “all clear” on a sperm sample taken by your general physician won’t be enough for the fertility clinic to go on. The lab techs that work on these samples in general medical labs are good at establishing whether your sperm count is normal or not, but they aren’t always that great at telling whether enough of the sperm have healthy morphology (shape) or motility (movement). The lab techs in fertility-oriented labs provide a more accurate and well-rounded picture of sperm health.
Please read, Making the Diagnosis: 6 Common Fertility Tests to learn more about fertility testing procedures.
Stay and Chat a While. Finally, we know that you probably have a ton of questions of your own, and we’re here to answer them to the best of our ability. From now and until your appointment, keep a list of questions running so you can bring them with you. It’s the best way to make sure you’ve found out everything you want to know. This process is also important because it allows you to get to know the fertility specialist and staff a little better.
Are you on the hunt for a great fertility specialist? Contact RRC and schedule a consultation. We look forward to being the solution to infertility, and the beginning of a successful fertility journey.