So you have your appointment scheduled with a fertility specialist. This is an exciting time! You are on the road to getting answers and creating a plan for your fertility future. Here are some things you can do personally to make sure the first few steps of that journey go smoothly.
1. Bring all of your test results with you. Have you ever been let down by a fax machine? When it comes to medical records, most people have. While it’s true many offices are good about sending over the necessary paperwork, you can avoid disappointment and delay by making sure you have your own physical copies of any labs, test results, referrals, etc. and bringing them to your appointment. You might even want to buy a 3-ring binder and some plastic page protectors so that you can keep all of your necessary paperwork in one place. Not only is it practical and helpful to the doctor, it will also help you to document your fertility journey– something you might appreciate later on. If you don’t want to do that, contact your primary care doctor and any previous fertility doctors well in advance to send your medical records over to the new clinic. Then call and make sure those documents have arrived in time for your appointment.
2. Go through your insurance policy with a fine-toothed comb. It’s difficult to make decisions without all of the necessary information, and when it comes to fertility treatment, for most people cost does factor in. You’ll want to go into this journey knowing what types of fertility treatments are and aren’t covered by your medical insurance (or your partner’s), what the out-of-pocket expenses might be, including co-insurances, and if there are any caps. Many fertility clinics have a financial counselor on staff who can help you sort out the details, but it helps to go in with a general idea of what your insurance is going to do for you.
3. List of medications. Have ready to go a list of any medications you take, the prescribed dosages, and how often you take them. If you use herbs, supplements or other non-prescription natural health aids, include them on the list as well.
4. Details about your cycle. Since ovulation issues are a major factor in infertility, your doctor will want to know what your menstrual cycle has been like over the last several months. The dates and duration of your menstrual flow, as well as any noticeable details (Was it extra heavy? Extra light? Did you have spotting in between?) can help your doctor determine what might be causing your infertility.
5. What previous attempts you have made to get pregnant? Write out a record of the things you have already done in your attempts to conceive and for how long you tried them. Do you have a family history of infertility? Have you been charting your basal body temperature? Share that with your doctor, too. The more information you can give at your fertility consultation, the better picture your fertility specialist will have about your individual situation.
6. Confirm your appointment in advance. Make sure you have the right date and time on your calendar and that you’ll be able to arrive on time. Also confirm the address as many fertility practices have satellite clinics; you’ll want to make sure you go to the correct one.
7. Bring your insurance card, your partner’s insurance card, and one form of ID for each of you. Make sure the names match.
8. Bring a notebook and something to write with. When you arrive, have a notebook with your questions written down. Be sure to go through those questions during your consultation. If you don’t write your questions down, you’ll be sure to forget something. We’re all human! Also, the notebook will serve as a good place for you to jot down notes and recommendations from your doctor. With your notebook and pen in hand, you can be sure you won’t forget any important detail.
9. Be positive! You are not alone. Many, many couples experience infertility, and the vast majority are able to eventually become parents to a healthy baby (or more than one!). You are on the right path. Keep looking forward and know that, with the help of your fertility specialist, your chances of reaching your goal are very, very good.