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First Fertility Appointment - What to Ask your Fertility Doctor on your First Visit

The 15 questions what you need to ask your fertility doctor during your initial consultation. These questions will help guide your conversation with your fertility doctor when discussing your infertility testing results, diagnosis, treatment options, and what to expect on your fertility journey.
What to ask your fertility doctor during your initial consultation visit
What to ask your fertility doctor during your initial consultation visit
Your first visit with your fertility doctor is coming up to discuss your fertility testing results and devise the plan to help you get pregnant.

You know the basics of what to tell your doctor and you’re prepared to answer questions about your medical history and goals but what question should you ask them?

Stepping into a fertility clinic can be an overwhelming experience. There are a lot of new terms to learn and hearing that you may have an issue that needs to be addressed in order to conceive can be overwhelming to take in during your initial visit. 

No one prepares you for the experience and they just don’t teach you much at school about reproductive health.

When you go in for your consultation to discuss your test results and treatment options with a Reproductive Endocrinologist AKA fertility doctor, I recommend you show up prepared with a notebook and a list of questions that will help you understand how to navigate the process of fertility treatment and what to expect moving forward. 

This will help you gain a sense of control over the situation and help you to manage your expectations and set up a plan for how to proceed in a way that you feel comfortable with.

Questions to ask your fertility doctor during your first visit


✅What is my diagnosis? How does it affect my ability to get pregnant?
✅What are my chances of conceiving naturally?
✅Are there lifestyle changes I can make to help improve my chances of getting pregnant?
✅What treatment do you recommend for me? 
✅How much will this treatment cost?
✅What are the success rates for this treatment based on my age?
✅How many treatment cycles do you estimate I’ll need to get pregnant?
✅What fertility medications will I need to take?
✅What are the side-effects of the fertility medications?
✅How long will I take these medications for?
✅What is the plan if my treatment is not successful? How many cycles do you suggest we do before looking into alternative options?
✅Who is my contact if I have questions during treatment?
✅Will I be able to contact you directly throughout my treatment?
✅Will you be performing all of my procedures or do you switch off with another fertility doctor?
✅When can I start treatment?

You can of course, come with your own questions to add to this as well.

Attending your doctor appointment prepared with a set of questions to ask can help you get questions answered you may not have thought of initially and give you time during your initial consultation to gather your thoughts and get more out of the conversation.

Ask what your infertility diagnosis means


It’s so important to understand what your diagnosis is and how it affects your ability to conceive.

However, be aware that your doctor might not always be able to identify what the exact issue is based on test results for you and your partner.

The most recent IVF data in the US reported that 11% of patients undergoing IVF had unexplained infertility. 

But just because the exact reason cannot yet be identified, it doesn’t mean that your chances of conceiving are poor! 

Women with unexplained infertility tend to have good success rates with infertility treatment compared to other infertility diagnoses.

Ask about treatment success rates for your age


Fertility is highly dependent on a woman’s age, which is why when you look at IVF success rates for a fertility clinic, you’ll see that the outcomes are stratified by how old a woman was when she underwent treatment.

If you’re doing intrauterine insemination (IUI), you’ll definitely want to ask your doctor what your chances  of success are.

Success with IUI is much lower than IVF, however it is less invasive and more affordable, so your doctor may suggest to begin treatment with a certain number of rounds of IUI before considering whether IVF may be necessary.

There are cases when IVF makes more sense than IUI depending on your test results. 

So make sure that you have a serious conversation with your doctor about which treatment option will be the most effective for you.

Compare the national averages for IVF success rates


For example, the current national averages show that women younger than 35 years old had a 56.7% success rate from their first cycle of IVF, while women over 40 using their own eggs had just a 9.2% chance of having a baby from their first IVF cycle. 

You can check the IVF success rates for clinics in your area on FertilitySpace. This will give you a good idea of what a round of IVF may look like for you. 

Here are the IVF Live Birth Rates for all IVF cycles in 2019 in the United States by Age

Female Age               <35         35-37     38-40     >40
IVF Live Birth Rate     52.7%    38.0%    24.4%    7.9%

It’s important not only to ask what the general success rates are for your age and diagnosis but also what the success rates are for you at this particular clinic.

You can check success rates for a fertility clinic at FertilitySpace if you’re looking to compare options. 

The procedures done for IVF can depend a lot on the skill of the doctor but also on the embryologists they have, so IVF success rates do vary from clinic to clinic. 

Keep in mind that data can be skewed if you’re looking at a small clinic versus a larger clinic for many reasons but one being that a clinic with fewer annual cycles means you get a less definitive idea of what success rates are for women of a particular age group.

Ask about the timeline for starting infertility treatment


This may seem like an obvious one to ask!

Fertility treatment can take up a lot of time in your personal and work life, so understanding timelines to do with your specific treatment protocol will help you keep organized and focused from the start.

The timing of when you can start a cycle depends on your body and any preparation your doctor may want you to do first.

The soonest you can start an IVF cycle is the next time you get your period.

An IVF cycle takes about two weeks to complete from the first day you start your fertility injections until you reach the egg retrieval.

Then you have about a week of updates as to how many embryos successfully developed that you can use to try to get pregnant. 

Find a fertility doctor that you can easily communicate with


Not every doctor is always going to be suited to your communication style.

With fertility treatments, it's important to find a doctor that you trust and feel is making decisions with your individual case in mind, not just going out a cookie-cutter protocol.

If you want to research doctors that might be a good fit, check out the past patient reviews of different fertility doctors to help give you a sense of who you might be interested in working with.

With this checklist of questions answered, you should have all the information you need to start making a decision on moving forward with treatment.

Come prepared with the data: Find out more about IVF Success Rates in the US by Age