Questions to take to your Doctor
You have reached a point that all efforts to become pregnant on your own have failed. You have listened to a year of your friends dismissive advice on just, “getting drunk and relaxing”, you have fended off the questions from your parents and in-laws since the day of your wedding asking exactly when they would be grandparents and you have sat with a painted on smile at seemingly every person you knows baby shower questioning when it would be your turn. Good news, now instead of sharing the personal decision on when and how to have family with your closest friends and family members you get to share intimate details of your with strangers you paying lots of money to see. It may sound terrifying to some but keep in mind these specialist have heard and likely seen it all.
First be sure to take along the records of any diagnostic studies and/or fertility treatments you may have had in the past along with any details of possible reasons for fertility issues. If you have been keeping records of the dates of your menstrual cycles, age of first menstruation, age of puberty onset, basal body temperature charts, positive ovulation tests, or timed intercourse take these along too. Sure it may seem like the world’s most boring sex journal but the information can be useful in determining how your doctor would like to proceed. Also, print up a list of any questions you may have about your fertility issues, treatments they offer, and experience in the field.
1. How long have they specialized in fertility? How long do they recommend stay with a treatment before moving to more aggressive treatments? What tests are they recommending to determine your cause of infertility? What treatments do they offer?
Once the initial stages of testing are completed you will likely return to discuss options moving forward. This is cause for another round of questions, these more specific to your particular cause of infertility.
1. What is my diagnosis, and how does this condition specifically interfere with fertility?
2. Does my partner have a condition that interferes with fertility?
3. Will these conditions worsen over time, improve, or remain constant?
4. If the reason for my infertility is unclear, what diagnostic tests do you recommend?
5. What is the likelihood that each of these tests will establish a diagnosis?
6. Are there any risks associated with the testing?
7. Does my partner need additional testing? What type of treatment would you recommend trying first?
8. Does this treatment involve surgery, medications, or both?
9. What are the risks of treatment?
10. In your practice, how often does this treatment result in pregnancy? (Be sure to determine whether your doctor is talking about pregnancy rates or live-birth rates when discussing specific treatments so you can make adequate comparisons. For example, a treatment may have a 30% pregnancy rate per cycle but only a 25% live-birth rate due to early miscarriages.
11. Are less-invasive or more conservative treatments available?
12. How do these compare with your recommended treatment in terms of risks and success rates?
13. How many cycles of treatment would you recommend before trying another option?
14. Do you recommend skipping a menstrual cycle between treatment cycles?
15. Are there any lifestyle modifications that might help my condition and increase my chances of getting pregnant? (If this is an acceptable option for you) Would you recommend treatments using donor eggs and/or sperm?
16. Does your clinic or practice offer these options?
17. What is my prognosis?
18. In your opinion, how likely is fertility treatment to be successful for me? (While no doctor can give you an exact answer to this question, taking into account your personal medical information and age, your doctor's past experiences may allow him or her to roughly estimate whether you will have an average, below-average, or above-average chance of success).
19. What does treatment cost?
20. Does my insurance cover any of the medications, hospital charges, or doctor's visits?
21. If I must pay out-of-pocket, do you offer any special payment plans?
This is not a complete list, each person’s list will differ based on their specific concerns but I do encourage you to create and actually remember to BRING the list to these doctor visits. It isn’t uncommon to only see the doctor a few times and for many of the procedures to be conducted by a nurse so use the time you have with them wisely.