There is truth in the saying “knowledge is power,” but when it comes to fertility, it’s so overwhelming that we often don’t know what we don’t know.
Tackling fertility challenges may make you feel helpless and hopeless, but you can get answers from your reproductive endocrinologist (RE). Your RE or fertility specialist will know the finer points of fertility issues and treatments so you are better prepared to pursue your dream of creating or growing your family.
Before your RE visit, start by getting some basic information (relevant medical history) and resources from your OB/GYN. Also, make sure you get copies of your critical paperwork sent to the RE, as well as having copies for yourself. This paperwork may include test results, diagnoses, and treatment notes from your primary care physician and OB/GYN related to medical conditions or fertility challenges for you and your partner.
As you prepare for your visit to a fertility specialist, it’s also helpful if you bring a brief description of what you know your situation to be and the general sequence of events. This way, you can bring the RE up to speed very quickly when you first arrive. This information might include notes about your menstrual cycle, how long you’ve been trying to get pregnant, what medications or supplements you and your partner take, and any family history of fertility issues. If you already have any diagnosis documents and bloodwork reports, mark what you don’t understand and perhaps write specific questions related to your medical information. If your first appointment is through telehealth, we can help you prepare—check out this guide to find out what to have with you, what to expect, and what to ask.
Preparing for your visit with the RE
Go to your appointment armed with some key questions that can help you make an informed decision:
- Based on my tests and bloodwork so far, what fertility challenges are we facing? Do you recommend further testing and if so, what kind?
- What treatment options do we have, and which treatment do you recommend?
- What are the success rates for these treatments? Can you show me recent statistics?
- How long is the process for each of the procedures you think I should consider?
- Will the treatment hurt?
- How should I plan to adapt my life while undergoing the treatment you recommend for me?
- Whom can I talk to about the price/coverage for the treatment options?
- Can your office offer counseling or can you recommend a therapist to help me deal with this process?
Of course, it would be ideal if all of your questions could be answered on your first visit, but for the big one—will I be able to have a baby?—a committed working relationship with your RE is a great start.
It’s important to remember that you’re not in this process alone and that you have someone knowledgeable, experienced, patient, and compassionate guiding you on your path to fulfill your dreams of making a family.