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What to Ask Your Reproductive Endocrinologist on Your First Visit

The lab - As one of the most important parts of a fertility clinic, the laboratory should be fully updated with all the available technology. It should have a trained embryologist and the technology to perform blastocyst transfers, assisted hatching and other advanced techniques. Equipment for ultrasound examinations, blood hormone testing, sperm preparation for insemination and all fertility procedures should be available on site whenever they are needed. Also, because some labs are closed during the summer months, it is important to ask about closures that could potentially interfere with your schedule.

  • Is an up-to-date laboratory located on site?
  • Can you perform ICSI and PGD at your laboratory?
  • Are laboratory hours the same as clinic hours? Does the lab close for any period of time?

Rate of Success - It is very important that you know your clinic's success rates because you are eager to have a baby and want a fertility expert with proven success. An unusually high success rate might be an exaggeration in an attempt to gain business, so check with other sources, such as friends or your gynecologist, for more information about the clinic.

  • What is your success rate with the treatment we will be receiving?
  • How likely is pregnancy to result from the recommended treatment?
  • How many pregnancies performed at this clinic have resulted from IUI? IVF? Egg donation?
  • What are the chances that a multiple birth pregnancy will result from this particular treatment?

Cost - You should always know how much you will be expected to pay for something before you have it done, especially if your insurance does not cover infertility treatments. Try not to feel awkward discussing the costs of your treatment, lab work, office visits and medications with your RE. It is your right to know exactly what you are paying for.

  • How much will treatment cost? Does that include lab work, procedures and medications?
  • Will my insurance cover these costs?
  • Are there extra costs for office visits or phone calls?
  • Can you offer me discounts on medications?
  • Do you offer payment plans or other financing options?

Counseling - It is common when undergoing infertility treatment to feel the need to speak with a professional for guidance or emotional support. Therapists and fertility counselors are knowledgeable about the subject and can help you and your partner choose the best treatment option if you are having trouble making the decision.

  • Does the clinic have a full-time or part-time licensed therapist to help us cope with any emotional issues or concerns? If not, can you recommend a good fertility counselor in case we feel the need to talk to someone?

These are just a few of the many questions you may have for your RE. Jot down any others that come to mind, and never feel too embarrassed to ask any of them. No question is silly or stupid. It is your right as a patient to know every detail about your doctor, the clinic and any possible treatment you may receive.

If your RE seems to dismiss your concerns or makes you feel as if you cannot ask questions openly, you might want to consider looking for a new doctor.

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