If you’ve decided to read these first few lines, then you’re probably among the millions of couples who are struggling with infertility. If you plan to make an appointment with a fertility specialist, you are probably also anxious about what to expect.
That’s fine! Trust me when I say that many people have been in your position. Remember, 1 in 8 women struggle with infertility and at least 16% of couples experience difficulty with either getting pregnant or staying pregnant. To prepare you, expect to go through a series of tests and evaluations to determine the root cause of your infertility.
At Nevada Fertility Institute, we believe that information is power. We also believe that information is the best antidote to address your fear and worries.
Here are the things that you should learn to help you establish a clear awareness of your first visit and to allow the fertility specialist to give you the most information, right up front.
1. Status of Ovulation
One of the first things that your fertility specialist would like to know is the status of your menstrual cycles (periods) and whether you regularly ovulate during these cycles. The easiest way to determine this is by using ovulation prediction kits.
Ovulation kits work by detecting the LH (luteinizing hormone) levels in your urine. LH is a hormone made by your pituitary gland, within your brain, to talk to your ovaries. In order for your ovaries to ovulate – i.e., release a mature egg that can be fertilized by sperm – LH has to spike in your blood, at a special time in your cycle. That LH in your blood, eventually gets filtered into your urine and that’s how you can check at home.
If you’ve been tracking your ovulation using other methods (e.g. a phone app), bring all of the results with you to the visit with the fertility specialist, as well.
2. Fertility Testing
At your first appointment, you will sit down with your fertility specialist to review your and your partner’s medical history, and then, they will outline the fertility tests which you will need to complete. You will talk through things like your current wellbeing, your family health history (including both sides of your parents’ families when available), and health details about your partner. If you do not have a partner, that is okay. Your fertility specialist can also review options for helping you become a single parent by choice.
As part of the visit, your fertility specialist may ask you to get a series of physical examinations, including weight, height, blood testing, blood pressure, and semen analysis. If these tests have already been done, your fertility specialist will review and discuss the results with you at that first visit.
3. Semen Analysis
For men, semen analysis (SA) is the basic examination for infertility. This is done by taking an ejaculated semen sample and evaluating it in the laboratory.
The sperm in the sample is observed and counted for possible problems with motility (the ability of sperm to move independently through the female reproductive tract), concentration (total number of sperm), and morphology (how the sperm look, overall).
4. Fertility Treatment
After a series of testing and diagnosis, your fertility specialist can put together a treatment plan tailored to your condition. Even if some or all of the results of the tests show no definitive reason why you have not yet been able to conceive, you can still be treated for infertility! Once your fertility specialist finalizes your treatment plan, you’ll want to learn about a variety of factors for the treatment.
5. Insurance Coverage
The cost of infertility treatment and associated medication can be daunting for some couples. However, it’s important to know that many insurers in the Las Vegas area provide some amount of fertility benefits. If you have no fertility coverage, you may be introduced to financial support to ensure you get the assistance you need and deserve. At my clinic, we may discuss information about discounts, insurance coverage, grants, financing plans, and loans.
Infertility can be a struggle. Your fertility specialist is there to help you overcome this hurdle and help you achieve your pregnancy goal.
While at the clinic, make the most of your appointment. Ask as many questions as you like, to ensure you have clarifications for your concerns. Remember, everyone at the fertility clinic is there to guide you and cheer you on to your dream. You are not alone in this!
By Dr. Cindy M. Duke
Bio footnote: Dr. Cindy M. Duke, MD, PhD, FACOG is a Johns Hopkins & Yale trained Fertility Specialist, Virologist, Blogger, Influencer & Clinical Assistant Professor. She is the founding physician, medical director & Laboratory director of the Nevada Fertility Institute located at 8530 W. Sunset Road, Suite 310 Las Vegas, NV 89113. firstname.lastname@example.org, www.drcindyduke.com