So you finally made an appointment with a fertility doctor. Now what?
Not sure what to bring to your first consultation , how long the appointment will take, or what kind of fertility testing you will have done? You probably are asking all of those questions and 100 others. RMA Network fertility specialist, Dr. Melissa Yih, breaks down the 13 things you can expect at your first visit at a fertility clinic.
1. Medical History and Insurance Information
Before you visit a fertility specialist, make sure to bring your insurance documents, any relevant test results or medical history documents, and your partner, if possible.
2. It is a lengthy appointment
Budget for about an hour of time, give or take 15 minutes, for your initial fertility consult. It is important that your reproductive endocrinologist learns as much about your current situation as possible. You will be asked questions about your sexual history and how long you have been trying to conceive.
3. Fertility Clinics Have Strict Protocols
Once you show up for your appointment, you will be checked in at the front desk. The patient services’ staff member may ask you some basic questions about your referring OB/GYN and how you heard about the practice. If you have a co-pay to see a fertility specialist, this is when they will collect the payment. For security reasons, the fertility clinic may take your picture or scan your finger or palm print to have on file.
4. Vitals will be Taken
Next, you’ll meet a clinical assistant who will take your vitals, height, weight, and ask for the date of your last period.
5. Time to Meet Your Reproductive Endocrinologist
At this point, you will meet with your reproductive endocrinologist or “fertility specialist” who will ask you about your medical history. While partners are not required to attend the first appointment, it is strongly recommended. During this appointment, they will collect information on your partner’s medical history as well. The doctor will also discuss your age, lifestyle, and how long you and your partner have been trying to conceive.
6. OB/GYN and Pregnancy History
Your fertility doctor will review your gynecological history and ask about previous pregnancies. They will ask if you have ever had: a successful pregnancy, miscarriages, or sterilization (tubal ligation or vasectomy).
7. Preexisting Medical Conditions
Your doctor will also review your medical history to see if you have any preexisting medical conditions which could affect your ability to get pregnant or maintain a healthy pregnancy.
8. Allergies and Lifestyle
Then, your doctor will go over any surgeries you’ve had and ask whether you are on any medications, have allergies, or regularly smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol or use drugs.
9. Family History and Genetic Disorders
Your doctor will also have a discussion about your family history and whether or not anyone in your family is a carrier for specific genetic disorders.
10. Pelvic Exam
Then, the doctor will perform a pelvic exam and vaginal ultrasound to take a look at the shape of your uterus and ovaries. This may cause some minor discomfort, but many do not feel any discomfort at all.
11. Exam Results
At that point, your fertility specialist will let you know what they found during the pelvic exam and answer any questions you may have.
12. Follow-up Fertility Testing
Finally, your physician will tell you about the testing you may need to do during a follow-up visit:
- You may need additional bloodwork to test your ovarian reserve
- You may also need to be tested for any sexually transmitted infections and thyroid function
- Your doctor may order a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) which will evaluate your fallopian tubes. An HSG allows your doctor to determine if your fallopian tubes and uterine cavity are normal.
- The doctor may order a test for your husband or male partner called a semen analysis to look at sperm count, movement and whether the sperm are normal in shape
13. Last-Minute Questions
At this point, you’ll leave the doctor’s office and see a nurse that has been chosen for you and will stay with you throughout the duration of your treatment.
That nurse will answer any other questions you have and schedule you for your bloodwork, along with an appointment with the finance department, so you know your insurance coverage options.
After all that, you can go home. If you decide to pursue testing, you should have all your testing done within four weeks of your first visit, at which point you will meet with your doctor again to design a plan to help you get what you came for: a healthy baby