In the States, I believe that it’s most common to see a fertility specialist after you’ve been trying to conceive for an entire year with no success. That may vary depending on what you have going on but in my experience, we first saw a specialist after 11 months of unsuccessfully trying to conceive. Every country is very different with that! We were concerned about my luteal phase and if I had Endometriosis so that bumped us up just a little bit! Being a “Type A” person, I made a list of questions to ask the doctor at our first appointment so naturally I want to share those questions with all of you! I am also sharing with you the important questions that I asked (or wish I had asked) after we had a diagnosis and a plan in place!
Hopefully you find this blog post really helpful! If you are about to head into your first appointment with a fertility specialist then you may want to read “What To Expect From Your Fist Appointment With A Fertility Specialist” blog post.
BEFORE YOU HAVE A DIAGNOSIS
#1 - Do you accept my health insurance?
This question should really be asked before your first appointment but I wanted to include it on this list just in case!
#2 - Do you offer payment plans for general billing?
Very important question because a lot of clinics don’t offer any sort of payment plans but a lucky few do! This may not be a deal breaker (because you can get financing elsewhere if needed) but it’s a good thing to know!
#3 - If my infertility diagnosis is not clear, what tests will you run next and how much will those cost me?
Again, I am Type A. At our first appointment, the consult, I asked this question and took notes on everything. I liked knowing that we had a plan and if that plan didn’t work out, we had another plan.
#4 - What vitamins do you recommend I take other than prenatal vitamins? (Or what dosage of particular ingredients in my prenatal do you recommend)
You may have already asked your primary doctor or OB this question but in case you haven’t noticed, every doctor is so different so you may get a different answer. Although I trust most doctors, with this type of thing I trust the reproductive endocrinologist just a little bit more because this is their specialty.
ONCE YOU HAVE A DIAGNOSIS AND A FORM OF TREATMENT:
#1 - What are your success rates with this form of treatment?
#2 - How many cycles can we do this treatment before we need to move on to something else?
You can even ask that that “something else” would be
#3 - How much will each cycle of this treatment cost and what does that include with your clinic?
#4 - What lifestyle changes can I make to better enhance how my body responds to this form of treatment?
This could be diet changes, exercise routines, etc.
#5 - What are the common side effects of this form of treatment?
Girl, you want to be prepared for this one. A lot of medications (such as Femara, Clomid, or most of the IVF drugs) have harsh side effects. While that shouldn’t stop you from taking them, because there really is no alternative, you should be prepared. If the side effects are headaches, ask your specialist what natural ways he recommends you treat the headaches. If it’s nausea, ask what ways you can reduce the nausea. ETC.
#6 - If this treatment is not successful, what would our next step be?
I honestly find this question to be very important because for me, I was worried about cost. Infertility is expensive to say the least and a lot of insurance coverage doesn’t matter when it comes to the cost of these treatments. In our case we have a high deductible plan so we have to pay a lot more out of pocket.
THINGS THAT ARE JUST GOOD TO KNOW ABOUT YOUR CLINIC:
#1 - If IVF is in our future, do you offer any financing for that specifically?
You may not even need IVF and that’s great BUT if you do have IVF in your future, you should be prepared cost wise and have a draft of a plan of how you will pay for it. Rather it be financing that the clinic offers, a private loan, family members, etc.
#2 - What is the average cost of IVF at your clinic and what are you success rates?
If you do have to do IVF, knowing the average cost will be very beneficial. If it comes to that point, hearing the news that IVF is your next step will be hard to hear so at least you can mentally prepare price wise. Also, you might want to shop clinics for the best pricing, so knowing the cost and success rates would be smart!
#3 - Do you offer infertility support groups at your clinic?
VERY IMPORTANT. We all need support during this and although a lot of us get it online, it would be awesome if they had a support group for other patients of the clinic because chances are, you are going through the exact same thing. This also depends with how comfortable you are with this question.
#4 - Do you have an online portal where I can view my medical documents or ask general questions?
In today’s world, a lot of doctor’s offer online portals where you can view your medical documents, upcoming appointments, billing, and send general questions to your doctor or nurses.
#5 - Once I get a positive pregnancy test, does your clinic offer HCG + Progesterone testing with bloodwork? Is this something that I will have to specify or is it an automatic order?
VERY IMPORTANT. I am very lucky that my clinic does this automatically because i’ve learned that a lot of clinics will not test your progesterone unless you specify. If you have never been pregnant before, please look up the importance of progesterone during pregnancy. If you have a progesterone dificiency and it’s caught early enough in the pregnancy, you can start medication. If this isn’t tested, you may miscarry and then not know that you have a deficiency.
This entire blog post was basically just brainstorming different questions to ask at different stages of appointments with your fertility specialist. Again, make sure to visit my blog post about what you can expect from your first appointment (if you are about to head into your first appointment) because I list a few items to bring with you, what you can expect, and what it was like for me and Kerry.