Today was our first consultation with our Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). I wasn’t nervous because I honestly had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if we were going to go in and they would already have a suggested “do it this way” guide or if we would get a bunch of shrugged shoulders. Fortunately for us, we received peace.
From the moment we entered the facility, we were put at ease. The staff was all courteous and everyone greeted us with a smile. We turned in our pre-filled paperwork listing how long we’d been trying to conceive, my pregnancy history, our sexual history, etc. Shortly after arriving, I was called into the back to get the ever dreaded weigh in and height. Nothing out of range, but I was not happy to see that I had re-acquired that pesky ten that I’d lost last summer. And then, S. (hubby) and I waited.
In about ten minutes, we were called into the back office and met with our RE who was one of the most professional, warm, and engaging woman I’ve ever met. I could understand why her reviews were so high. She went over our forms including my Ob/Gyn records, asked us some follow-on questions, answered our questions, and then immediately discussed what they [the facility] would do to get to the bottom of why we couldn’t conceive on out own.
She ordered a full blood panel including STD tests and an Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) for me. She ordered the same panel for S. and a sperm analysis for him as well. She answered our questions regarding how much IUIs cost versus IVFs and the options that were associated with each and then introduced us to our personal nurse, A. who would be helping us on our journey.
She gave us a folder with step by step instructions for everything that we’d discussed and information of how and when to have the HSG done. We left her office feeling pleased that we had a plan and a direction. I stopped by the front desk and made an appointment for the HSG and a follow-up appointment to return. S. made an appointment for specimen drop off. We were/are officially in business.
Here are a few of the questions we asked our RE. I got the list from Medicinenet.com. I didn’t ask all of these questions, but some were pretty relevant to our needs:
- If the reason for my infertility is unclear, what diagnostic tests do you recommend? What is the likelihood that each of these tests will establish a diagnosis? Are there any risks associated with the testing? Does my partner need additional testing?
- What type of treatment would you recommend trying first? Does this treatment involve surgery, medications, or both? What are the risks of treatment?
- 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.)
- Are less-invasive or more conservative treatments available? How do these compare with your recommended treatment in terms of risks and success rates?
- How many cycles of treatment would you recommend before trying another option? Do you recommend skipping a menstrual cycle between treatment cycles?
- 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? Does your clinic or practice offer these options?
- What is my prognosis? 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).
- What does treatment cost? Does my insurance cover any of the medications, hospital charges, or doctor’s visits? If I must pay out-of-pocket, do you offer any special payment plans?