I know dealing with infertility can be a very stressful thing. I know this first hand. Nothing about it is easy. But, I will say, educating yourself and preparing yourself as much as you can will help ease the amount of stress you will be going through. If you are about to head down your first journey with infertility treatments, there is so much to know, so much to learn and you will probably have so many questions. If you’re looking to find out what to expect at your initial infertility consultation, you’re at the right spot!
Now, keep in mind, I am sure each clinic may practice a little differently with what they do and when they do it. I’ll be sharing the experience that we had and the way that our local fertility clinic practices. They’re very well known and tend to be what other facilities can base their practices off of. Every couple will encounter different reasons that brought them to the facility, but, generally, the same initial plan or consultation is made to get a baseline, find out what is going on and then form a plan of treatment. I wanted to shed some light on these things for you, so you can walk in to your initial fertility consultation as educated and prepared as you can. I hope to share a list of common questions you may want to ask your provider or things you will want to know the answers to to make the most of your time there.
As with most medical health care providers, you’ll have your appointment time and your arrival time. Your arrival time is the time they’d like you there to fill out the paperwork. This is not just simple demographic paperwork, this is a little more in depth. Some offices may even give you paper work to fill out ahead of time. Do not put this off. You will need to put in all GYN/ OB if applicable history that you have. If you have any family history of anything, you’ll need to know as much as you can. The more you can give your provider, the better they can help you.
Personally, I have a binder for medical appointments. I have a personal history section with anything I have been diagnosed with, like PCOS, or a placental abruption. The binder has a family history section that gives dates and conditions that my family was diagnosed with. It also has a medical procedure section where I have copies of my reports from any ultrasound appointments, pertinent lab work, radiology exams, etc. anything that may be relevant to the appointment I am going to. I take this binder with me to any medical appointment and can update it as necessary and make sure the provider I am seeing is up to date on anything and everything medically related to my case.
Once paperwork is filled out, you meet with the Reproductive Endocrinologist. It’s important to find one that you like and trust. They’ll become a vital aspect in your journey and you need to be able to have faith in them. We adore our RE. He is very personable and remembers little details about you that makes you feel like he truly cares and understands. They will go over your history. This will obviously be different for each and every one of us depending on the reasons why we are their.
Initial Plan of Action
Generally, no matter your history, most everybody gets put on a start out plan. On the first day of your next cycle, cycle day one, you will call the office. They will set you up for an appointment in office for cycle day three. At this appointment you will have blood work and an initial ultrasound where they find out your monthly baseline. They’ll measure the lining of your uterus, called the endometrium. They’ll check out your ovaries and make sure you don’t have any cysts or anything else going on.
Depending on what testing you have already done, if any, you’ll most likely have to have an HSG (hysterosalpinogram) somewhere between cycle day 5 thru cycle day 12. If you don’t know what an HSG is or you have more questions about it, check out our other post (coming soon) giving more information about what an HSG is and what to expect from it.
Your partner will also have to give a sperm sample for a semen analysis. Most of the time, the office will provide your partner with a specimen collection cup to use at home and then guidelines on when to collect and bring in to the office for analysis. If your partner is diagnosed with male infertility, there are many things they can do to help that diagnoses and you can learn more about it, as well as the things you can do to increase male factor health and things you can do to prevent having problems in the future if your man ends up testing normal.
Other tests you may need to get done if you haven’t already would be your baseline pelvic ultrasound before your day 3 scan. This ultrasound looks at even more detail and checks for a few more things than they will look for in office on the day three scan. You may also need to get a Hysterosonogram, this is not to be confused with the HSG (hysterosalpingoram) we talked about earlier.
If your provider things it is necessary, they may offer genetic testing. I think our RE suggests it to everyone, no matter what risk rate their family has or not. It is an optional test, just gives you and the provider information on things you and your partner may be a genetic carrier for or things your future baby may be at risk for. The more prepared and educated you are, the better, in my opinion, but to each their own. Some people would rather not know. I’m not trying to start a debate. But, personally, I would love my baby no matter what condition it has, I would just like to be prepared and educated about something ahead of time. Again, to each their own opinion. No judging here. Our RE works with Counsyl. If you are interested in learning more, make sure to talk to your provider about what lab and what information you could find out.
So, usually your first consultation goes over your history, your prior diagnoses, the RE’s initial thoughts on what they think they might expect, what testing they would like done to get more information to create a treatment plan, a discussion of at least a month (if not more) “testing cycles” before treatment cycles.
We also met with an financial counselor. Based on your basic plan ideas, they can see what your insurance may or may not cover, so you can start with a general idea of what to expect. They can also tell you about different financial plans they offer.
I know that is a TON of information to take in. But, at least if you have read through this, you’ll have an idea of what to generally expect on your initial consultation. Remember these are just guidelines, every patient and every practice may be different. I wish you the best of luck and am sending you the biggest amount of baby dust possible over the internet.
I’m here for you.
Feel free to reach out to me through email with any questions or if you need extra mental support! I’m there for you in this journey.
If you enjoyed this post, please share on your social media platform of choice to help bring awareness to infertility and help educate everyone. Knowledge truly is power.
Just remember Infertility is a diagnosis, not a definition!
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