Questions for Your First Appointment
As you get ready for your first visit with your Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE), you will probably notice that you are quite anxious and maybe even a little bit nervous. This is completely normal. Remember, investigating fertility treatment can be very emotional and you will probably go through many ups and downs in the process. You probably also have a million questions that you want to ask. But where do you start?
Make a List
When preparing for your first RE appointment, it is probably a good idea to write down a list of all the questions that you would like to ask. This may seem unnecessary, but nerves and emotions might cause you to forget some of those important questions. Creating a written list will alleviate the pressure of having to remember and will also give you the time needed to listen and take notes during your appointment. In the weeks leading up to your appointment, keep a pen and paper handy so that you can record any questions that you find important.
Questions to Ask
The following are some topics that you may want to ask your RE about. They will help you to evaluate your RE and the clinic in which she works. It is a good idea to find out as much as you can about the clinic and its practices. Also, be wary of any doctor who doesn't seem interested in answering your questions. As a prospective patient, you have the right to know all the details about treatment at the clinic.
One of the most important questions to ask before deciding upon a doctor or clinic is about office hours. You will want to find out if the office is open when you are available. It's not much good to you if you can only be seen during regular working hours. It is likely that you will need repeated ultrasounds and blood tests, and the last thing you want to be having to do is rescheduling work responsibilities around your clinic's hours.
Procedures like intrauterine insemination and in-vitro fertilization may also only be available during work hours. If you need to have a procedure done on the weekend or in the evenings, it is important that your doctor be available to you. If your clinic is not open during these times, it is very likely that your doctor has his interests and not yours at heart.
Number of Treatment Sessions
Now is also a good time to find out about how many treatment sessions you might need to undergo before you see results or move on to a new treatment. While this varies from woman to woman, your doctor should be able to give you a ballpark figure regarding how many times you will try a particular treatment before attempting something new. If your doctor doesn't seem aggressive enough for you, than she may not be the right fit.
Some clinics only accept a certain number of patients at one time for specific treatments. It is important to ask when you can begin treatment. If you want to start right away, you might not be happy with going to a clinic that needs you to wait until the next treatment cycle begins.
One of the most important things to ask regards the performance of procedures. Though your doctor may discuss your treatments with you, he may not actually be there to perform those treatments on your scheduled days. Ask if your doctor uses nurses or nurse practitioners to perform some of his procedures.
The lab is one of the most important parts of a fertility clinic. You want to be going to a lab that is fully updated and has all the available technology. Ask if they have a trained embryologist and if they perform blastocyst transfers, assisted hatching, and other techniques. If they don't, don't sign up.
Also ask about when the lab is open. Some clinics close their labs during the summer months, and this could interefere with your schedule.
Undergoing fertility treatment can be very taxing and you will have a lot of different questions come up. You won't always be able to wait to ask your doctor these questions at your next appointment. Find out if your doctor will accept phone calls from you at her office.
Success rates are one of the most important things to find out about. After all, you are eager to become pregnant. However, be wary of extremely high success rates. Some doctors overestimate their success rates in order to gain business. This is not to say that you won't become pregnant, but try looking to other sources for information. Ask your friends or gynecologist what they know about the clinic.
Talking about costs can be difficult sometimes, but it is your right to know everything that you are being charged for. This is especially important if your insurance is not covering your treatments. Ask about the cost of office visits, phone calls, and additional testing.