Infertility – Preparing for your Appointment

If a couple has been trying to conceive for at least 6 months and has failed, then it is time for them to see their doctor. When you come in for an appointment your doctor will carefully study your medical history and talk to you about your aims in raising a family. He will then decide a number of diagnostic tests for you and your partner to undergo based on you and your partner’s age and medical history.

Some of the information you and your partner may need to prepare include:

  • You and your partner’s medical history
  • Previous immunizations or surgeries, if any
  • Information about your menstrual cycle (abnormalities, regularity, duration, etc.)
  • Insurance coverage (to verify if you can pay for the diagnostic tests)
  • A history of family diseases and fertility
  • Sexual history and sex life
  • Lifestyle information (drugs, alcohol, smoking)
  • History of abortion, miscarriage or pregnancy
  • Time when puberty began
  • Childhood illnesses

During your talk with your doctor, you can ask questions about you and your partner’s fertility problems you may have written down days before your initial appointment.  This is to help better understand you and your partner’s problem and the ways to address it. You can ask your doctor questions like:

  • Are our lifestyles like alcohol drinking and/or tobacco smoking the cause of our infertility?
  • Are our jobs (you and your partner’s) responsible for our fertility problems?
  • Can you recommend other unconventional types of infertility treatment approaches like acupuncture, meditation or relaxation techniques that help better our chances of conceiving?
  • Is it too early to get an evaluation of our infertility now, or do we need to wait a little while longer?
  • What kinds of tests do you think are the best to correctly diagnose our fertility issue? How much do you think will they cost?
  • After diagnosis, what treatment choices can you prescribe and how much do you think they will cost?
  • How much do you think health insurance companies cover for infertility treatments?
  • How high are the rates of success of these treatments you recommend?
  • In terms of success rates and number of procedures for the treatments you recommend, how high do you think this fertility clinic rates in terms of successful births?
  • Is it possible to talk to your former patients who have been through these treatments you recommend?

The doctor will have the couple go through routine testing to observe the elements of their reproductive system: the uterus, fallopian tubes, sperm, eggs and both hormone levels of the couple. Their results will serve as helpful information as to the kind of treatment approach that will be used to provide the best chances of achieving pregnancy.

The doctor, in turn, will need to talk to you and your partner and ask you each distinct questions to help better gain more information about your problem.

Some of the questions he may ask may include:

  • Are you using birth control pills or devices during sex? If not, how long have you been having sex without using birth controls pills or devices?
  • How long have you attempted to conceive?
  • How many times in a week do you have sex?
  • Are you using lubricants during?
  • Are any of you smokers?
  • Were you treated in the past for any medical problem particularly any sexually transmitted disease?
  • Do you live in constant high stress?
  • Are you happy with your relationship?

Questions or information the female partner might be asked by the doctor can include:

  • The age you first began menstruating
  • What type of menstrual cycles do you have? Are they heavy, long or regular?
  • If you have been pregnant before
  • If you have been diagnosed with infertility before
  • If have you been keeping tabs of your ovulation cycles and the number of cycles you have observed
  • Other clinical conditions you may have been treated before
  • The medications you are presently taking including supplements and steroids.
  • If you drink alcohol or smoke and the frequency you indulge in them.
  • The type of regular foods you eat and if you take in caffeine regularly.
  • If you exercise and the number of times you perform it
  • If you had gained or lost weight just recently

For males, some information that might be needed by the doctor can include:

  • The age when your puberty began
  • Any problems in performing sex with your partner like failure to ejaculate, premature ejaculation or difficulty sustaining an erection
  • Any use of drugs legal or illegal especially, marijuana and the frequency of their use
  • Your tendency to take steam baths or hot baths on a regular basis
  • Any child you have conceived with other past partners

Some other ways to help make your doctor’s appointment more fruitful can include:

Furnishing your physician with an accurate and full history – Bring with you any recent records that you may still have that relates to your previous gynecological surgery, prior fertility treatment and things relating to that nature.

Bring your own personal calendar – Knowing beforehand any pre-scheduled plans like house guests, court dates, work obligations or vacation plans will help you plan better for your infertility treatment and diagnostic tests.

Take notes – During your initial appointment with your doctor, a ton of information will be unloaded by your doctor and it is in your own best interest to write them down. Also, ask questions, and if you need to know about something email or call the doctor’s office.

If the doctor suggested a treatment that may be too expensive or invasive or not as effective enough as you like then you can ask your doctor for another better option than the one you’re presently availing.

You also may want to review your insurance policy and seek preauthorization or a from your primary care doctor.

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