The topic that I see discussed the most is that dreaded first appointment with a fertility specialist. Everyone wants to know what they can expect, if they should bring medical documents, if your partner needs to be there, etc. Well, buckle down and read this blog post to find out exactly what you can expect!
We first saw our fertility specialist in June 2018. I didn’t know what to expect, I didn't know if we would get a diagnosis that day or if we would do any blood tests. I went in totally clueless. I understand that each clinic will work differently but in my experience, here is the best way to prepare!
WHAT DO I NEED TO BRING WITH ME?
Notebook with your questions and a pen to take notes: If you want to find out what questions you should ask, click here!
Any medical records that are related to your general health or fertility. It’s never a bad idea to bring any medical records that have information related to your general health such as, lab results from blood work, recent Pap smear records, your last 4-6 menstrual cycles (including what day you ovulated on and the length of your periods), and any medications that you take, prescribed, OTC, and vitamins included.
Make a list of products that you’ve tried while trying to conceive. The reason why I think that this is so helpful is because it might help them determine what tests they want to run or what medications they want to prescribe. For example I listed the fertility-friendly lubricants, vitamins, creams, you get the point.
Your partner, duh - This may be a no brainer but I feel the need to mention it because a lot of women think that because it’s a consultation type visit that their partner isn’t needed. That just isn’t true. At our appointment we discussed my husband’s lifestyle and diet in detail. That also helps the doctor out with his diagnosis, testing, and treatment! Also, this is your fertility. You should be in this together!
WHAT CAN I EXPECT FROM THAT VISIT?
The first appointment is a consultation so you’ll more than likely spend the entire appointment in the doctor’s actual office, not an exam room. In my experience, it was just like it was in the movies. Kerry and I sat next to each other across from the doctor and spent an hour talking about the fact that we weren’t pregnant but that we have been trying.
First we talked out my medical history and family history then we talked about how long we’ve been actively trying to conceive, what my cycles are usually like, and what both of our diets consist of.
After our specialist got all of the background information, we set a plan to start some genetic testing, arrange to do an HSG, schedule a semen analysis, and then come back to the drawing board.
Genetic testing is blood work that is done on both you and your partner. It’s sometimes covered by insurance but often times, not. In our case it was not covered but the clinic that we were now patients of had some sort of contract price with a lab company so our charge was only $50. I’ve heard of it ranging from $0-$200. The genetic testing could show any mutations that both you and your husband have, meaning you would pass to your child, so you can make sure that the problem doesn’t lie with your DNA.
HSG stands for Hysterosalpingogram and it’s basically an x-ray of your uterus and Fallopian tubes while the doctor inserts a catheter through your cervix and will push some dye through your tubes to check for any blockages. In my personal experience, the HSG was not painful. It was uncomfortable at moments but it was very quick and minimal pain however I’ve heard from other women that it’s very painful. What I did before my HSG appointment was drink A TON of water, like more than you would think you need to drink. I learned from my days working in the medical field that a hydrated body reacts to pain differently. You can handle more pain, usually. I’m not sure how totally accurate that is but a medical professional once told me that and it kind of stuck with me.
General blood work will probably also be done to check your thyroid levels, if you haven’t done so recently, AMH for ovarian reserve, and I think that’s it unless your medical history indicated that you needed another test. We also tested for my blood type because apparently there is a certain blood type that has a history of infertility and reoccurring miscarriages. Luckily everything checked out fine for me!
And last but not least, your husband will have to do the deed in a cup so they can test his semen for motility (movement and quantities) and morphology (shape). In our case, Kerry had to do his in-office because we live so far from the clinic. If your husband has to do it in-office, I recommend you read this blog post to help prepare him!
That’s really it for your first appointment with a fertility specialist. It’s basically all talking and working out a plan to move forward. I hope that this blog post helps ease your mind and makes you feel a little more prepared for the appointment!