Scheduling your first appointment with a fertility doctor can feel overwhelming, but here’s a way to put yourself in the driver’s seat and get all your questions answered. Plus, you’ll walk out of there with a clearer idea of what your future will hold if you stick with this clinic and a to-do list of things you can do on your own.
Bring a notebook and a pen and these questions to start.
- What sort of diagnostic tests you will perform?
Different clinics go about diagnosing infertility differently. You are most likely looking at getting some blood work done to check ovarian reserve along with an ultrasound and a semen analysis for your partner. But once those baseline tests are complete find out if they have the ability to do a HSG (to see if your Fallopian tubes are open) onsite or remove polyps and treat fibroid – if applicable.
- How do you decide which course of treatment is right for me?
You want to make sure that you are treated like an individual and not just set on a protocol they do for every patient. If your goal is to get pregnant the least invasive way possible, then you’d want to hear about ovulation kits and timed intercourse. If you’re older, or already know there’s an obstacle, you might be looking for a more aggressive approach.
- What are the costs and do you take my insurance?
Some procedures are covered, especially if they are deemed diagnostic. Other insurance companies make you sign-up or enroll for fertility benefits. Knowing what hoops you have to jump through on the insurance side can save you some money and some grief. Understanding potential costs for treatments like IUI or IVF, can help you prepare and save.
- How can we best prepare our bodies for success?
Different clinics recommend different prenatal vitamins and some require a prescription. Find out what they like their patients to take and get on them sooner than later. Diet and exercise play a role in fertility so while you have a specialist in front of you, get their opinion.
- What are their success rates by age category?
IVF clinics are held to national standards and their success rates are published by the CDC. You can look ahead of time and do a little research. Ask them how they compare to other clinics and see what makes them unique. Pay attention to how many embryos they implant at a time, as multiple embryos should increase success rates but also lead to risky twin pregnancies.
- Can you put together a roadmap of treatments we might try?
While a clinic should treat you like an individual, they also have protocols in place to treat different types of patients. Timed intercourse, timed intercourse with fertility drugs, IUI and lastly IVF.
- How easy is it to schedule appointments and what are your hours?
This might seem basic, but some clinics are overbooked and will not be able to begin treatment for months.
- Do you have payments plans or offer financial aid?
Clinics know fertility treatments are a financial burden so many have financial aid and loans available. Find out how best to gather more information and the options available. You will most likely need to schedule a separate meeting to go over all the details.
- Who is my designated point person if I have a question during IUI or IVF treatments?
Find out if you will have an email contact, phone number, or an online system that is monitored 24/7.
- Do they work with genetic counselors, egg and embryo donors or, if needed, help arrange a surrogate?
Find out their capabilities and affiliates. You may want to research the companies they rely on for these additional services. Good companies keep good company so look up their affiliates when you get home. You will want to avoid having to switch clinics if you need help beyond their capabilities.
Choosing a fertility clinic should feel like a partnership and you should feel comfortable asking questions. While timeline might seem like the most important fact, expertise and success rates as well as a personal rapport with the doctor and staff will carry you through stressful times.
At Overlake Reproductive Health we work hard to appreciate what our patients are going through, and we strive to keep their best interests at heart. We’ve been a top fertility clinic in the Seattle area for over 30+ years. Call us and make an appointment we’ll be ready to field all your important questions.