Preparing for infertility treatment

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For an infertility evaluation, you’ll likely see a reproductive endocrinologist — a doctor who specializes in treating disorders that prevent couples from conceiving. Your doctor will likely want to evaluate both you and your partner to identify potential causes — and possible treatments — for infertility.

What you can do

To prepare for your appointment:

Chart your menstrual cycles and associated symptoms for a few months. On a calendar or an electronic device, record when your period starts and stops and how your cervical mucus looks. Make note of days when you and your partner have intercourse.

Make a list of any medications, vitamins, herbs or other supplements you take. Include the doses and how often you take them.

Bring previous medical records. Your doctor will want to know what tests you’ve had and what treatments you’ve already tried.

Bring a notebook or electronic device with you. You may receive a lot of information at your visit, and it can be difficult to remember everything.

Think about what questions you’ll ask. List the most important questions first in case time runs out.

Some basic questions to ask include:

  • When and how often should we have intercourse if we hope to conceive?
  • Are there any lifestyle changes we can make to improve the chances of getting pregnant?
  • Do you recommend any testing? If so, what kind?
  • Are medications available that might improve the ability to conceive?
  • What side effects can the medications cause?
  • Would you explain our treatment options in detail?
  • What treatment do you recommend in our situation?
  • What’s your success rate for assisting couples in achieving pregnancy?
  • Do you have any brochures or other printed materials that we can have?
  • What websites do you recommend visiting?

 

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Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor to repeat information or to ask follow-up questions.

What to expect from your doctor

Some potential questions your doctor or other health care provider might ask include:

  • How long have you been trying to become pregnant?
  • How often do you have intercourse?
  • Have you ever been pregnant? If so, what was the outcome of that pregnancy?
  • Have you had any pelvic or abdominal surgeries?
  • Have you been treated for any gynecological conditions?
  • At what age did you first start having periods?
  • On average, how many days pass between the beginning of one menstrual cycle and the beginning of your next menstrual cycle?
  • Do you experience premenstrual symptoms, such as breast tenderness, abdominal bloating or cramping?

Women who are fertile experience a natural period of fertility before and during ovulation, and they are naturally infertile during the rest of the menstrual cycle. Fertility awareness methods are used to discern when these changes occur by tracking changes in cervical mucus or basal body temperature.

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