When you make the decision to start fertility treatments, you have a lot to think about. It’s an emotional time and you’re likely feeling scared, excited, and anxious all at once. Your consultation or first visit to the fertility clinic can be overwhelming but we’ve created a list of 10 questions that you should bring along to help collect the critical information you need as you embark on this exciting journey!
1. Why haven't we been able to conceive yet?
This is the basic question on everyone’s mind. Your doctor may be able to give you an answer based on your medical history and the tests you’ve already had. If the answer isn’t clear, more testing may be needed.
2. What other tests do we need?
The answer to this question depends on the tests you and your partner have already had, what the results were, and how recently they were performed. Your doctor may ask for follow up tests if any of the results were inconclusive or to get a full picture of why you’re having difficulty getting pregnant
3. Does my insurance cover these tests?
Unfortunately, most states do not cover fertility treatments (visit RESOLVE.org for more details.). Clinics should have a designated financial coordinator who will help you understand what it means to pre-certify treatments, what your pharmacy benefits are and what the short- and long-term costs are going to be.
4. What treatment do you recommend first, and how long will we try this? Does the treatment involve surgery, medications, or both?
While IVF is a common fertility treatment, it is certainly not the only option. The type of fertility treatment recommended and how long you try affects both the cost and the potential outcome. Your age, and your diagnosis are both factors in the recommended treatment as well as your doctor’s expertise and evaluation of what will work best. Having both you and your doctor on board with the length of time you’ll try a particular treatment is critical!
5. If the first treatment doesn’t work, what will you recommend trying next?
It’s important to have a plan of action in case the first line of treatment doesn’t work. This can help manage costs associated with these treatments and could prevent you and your doctor from placing all your bets on the first try.
6. Are there side effects or long-term complications to this treatment?
You need to know what you’re committing to. If your treatment will involve fertility drugs you will probably feel both physical and emotional effects. Your partner needs to understand this as well. If the testing finds that one or both of you need medications or procedures to improve your chance of getting pregnant, be sure and ask what that will involve.
7. What is your success rate with this treatment compared to other clinics?
Ask the doctor how many of these procedures their clinic has performed and what the success rates are. Make sure you discuss the likelihood of success at your age and the cost of each treatment option that is under consideration.
8. Are the technologies offered here the ones that I have the biggest need for?
Most fertility clinics will offer a range of treatment options, however, they may not be specialized in the treatment you particularly need. It’s important for you to be aware of the clinics strengths and weaknesses before you engage in a long investment with the facility.
9. What is your philosophy on multiple births (twins, triplets, etc.)?
A common concern from couples beginning fertility treatments is they will have twins or multiple babies. As this can be unhealthy for both the woman and the fetus, many facilities are striving for healthy, singleton births. However, if this is an important consideration for you, ask the clinic whether they take precautions to prevent multiple births.
10. How available will you and your team be during a treatment cycle?
Find out if you will have a main point of contact should questions arise throughout the course of treatment. Your ability to get in touch with a medical practitioner can play a huge role in your comfort level during treatment cycles. This can also help identify the right person to contact so you can get a quick response.
When you go to your first visit, make sure to bring along records of any diagnostic studies and/or fertility treatments you may have had in the past. Also, if you’ve been keeping track, bring the dates of your menstrual cycle and any other information you’ve collected such as basal body temperature, notes about your cervical mucus, etc. Make sure you take notes during the meeting! A lot of information will be shared at this first visit and you want to be sure to accurately remember everything. Congratulations on taking this exciting step!