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Finding a Fertility Specialist

How should I prepare for my first visit?

You may want to consult with more than one fertility specialist before choosing a physician you think is right for you. Not only do you want to check their credentials, but you also want to make sure you feel comfortable asking questions and conversing with them. The initial meeting is the perfect opportunity to talk with the doctor and assess how well you will be able to work together. Below is a list of questions you may want to ask. Consider bringing a notebook and a pen along to jot down notes.

About the doctor's practice

  • Where did you receive your medical training? When? Are you a Board Certified reproductive endocrinologist?
  • How long have you been treating infertile patients?
  • Will you send me to any other physicians or laboratories for treatments or tests?
  • Who can I call if I have a problem after office hours? Are you affiliated with a hospital?
  • Will you treat my partner? If not, who will?
  • Do you use Pergonal/Metrodin/Humegon/Lupron to induce ovulation? If so, do you monitor egg development with ultrasound and blood estrogen to avoid multiple births?
  • Are you on the RESOLVE, Inc., recommended list of physicians?
  • Are you a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)?
  • Are you a member of the Advanced Reproductive Care network?
  • What insurance plans do you accept?
  • Do you offer any financing options or payment plans?

About tests, medication, surgery and treatments

  • What kinds of procedures do you perform? What will the results tell you?
  • Do you offer the assisted reproductive technologies (ART)?
  • Does this practice have a donor sperm/donor egg program?
  • How much will treatment cost? Does that include lab work, procedures and medications?
  • Will it hurt? Are there any side effects?
  • How will I feel afterward? Will it interfere with our sex life?
  • Do you perform the tests/treatments in your office or in a hospital?
  • Can I drive myself home afterward?
  • Will I be incapacitated? For how long?
  • Will my partner or I have to miss work or delay our vacation?
  • How many times will treatment be repeated?
  • Do you perform sterilization reversals? What is your success rate?
  • Do you perform microsurgery? What is your success rate for vasectomy
  • reversal? For fallopian tube repair?

Is there anything I should watch out for?

Once you've chosen a specialist, you should continue to monitor his or her performance. You should be informed and aware of what's going on at all times. Below are a few things that may signal to you that you have chosen the wrong physician. If you notice any of them, you may want to take a step back and reconsider your choice.

  • Lack of a treatment plan - Your fertility should not be a game of hit-or-miss. After your first visit with your doctor, he or she should be able to outline the a plan for you to follow together. Once the plan is implemented and test results come back, which may take up to six weeks, your doctor should be able to present you with a more detailed plan of action for your treatment. If any changes are made to the initial plan, ask questions and find out why.
  • Poor communication - In the beginning, it is completely understandable to feel somewhat awkward discussing a topic as intimate as your fertility with a stranger. After a few visits, however, you should be comfortable enough to discuss it with your doctor with a greater sense of ease. If you have questions, don't be embarrassed to ask them. It is your doctor's job to make sure you totally understand what's going on, but you have to take the initiative and speak up. If you are worried about forgetting to ask a certain question, try to write it down before your appointment. If your doctor seems impatient or irritated about explaining terms and treatment, will not return your calls, or is too often unavailable when you need help, find another.
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