Fertility Consultation Questions: What You Should Ask

by | Apr 18, 2024 | Donor, Fertility 101, Resources

Making your initial consultation work for you.

Scheduling an initial consultation for fertility treatment is a big step toward your future. It can be an emotional decision to explore fertility treatment after struggling to get pregnant on your own, but approaching the consultation prepared with the right questions can make the whole experience much smoother. Whether you’re looking for treatment as a couple or an individual interested in working with egg or sperm donors, here are fertility consultation questions that can make the process easier for everyone involved.

The Basics of Preparing for a Fertility Consultation

Take time before your initial consultation to sit down and write out everything you’re hoping to receive help with, as well as all of the goals you’d like to accomplish during fertility treatment. It’s important to share with your doctor how many months you’ve been trying to conceive as well as any medical conditions you have, even if they don’t pertain directly to fertility. Our bodies are interconnected, complex systems and it’s important to provide as much information as possible. Your consultation is an opportunity to speak openly about your hopes, concerns, and what you’re hoping to achieve. Sharing all of this information will help to establish a strong relationship with your physician.

The Importance of Self-Advocacy in Fertility Treatment

As in any medical setting, self-advocacy is an extremely important part of fertility treatment. There’s no such thing as a dumb question, so don’t hold back when you have your doctor’s full attention. If you don’t understand something, ask them to walk you through it step by step—that’s their job! If you don’t feel comfortable asking questions or you feel like you constantly have to advocate for and defend yourself, that’s a sign that this might not be the right fertility specialist for you. The right fertility doctor will rise to the occasion when you ask the hard fertility consultation questions and will make you feel empowered on your journey.

Fertility Consultation Questions to Ask First

There’s no doubt that you and your doctor will dive deep on the specifics of your treatment, but in the initial consultation there are some basics that you’ll want to cover first. The very first fertility consultation question to ask is what treatments the clinic offers and what tests they recommend to determine which treatments are best for you. After a consultation the next step is testing, so make sure the clinic offers tests that would address your unique needs. Similarly, it’s important to ask what lifestyle changes your doctor would recommend before diving into more involved treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF). Sometimes lifestyle changes like cutting out alcohol, getting more sleep, and tracking your cycle more closely can help increase success rates without further treatment. However, if you’ve been trying for a long time without success, testing is often still recommended even with lifestyle changes.

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Understanding the Timeline of Fertility Treatment

An important fertility consultation question to ask is about the expected timeline of the initial phase of testing before starting treatment. One of the best ways to ease your own anxiety is to understand the big picture of your timeline. It can be very reassuring to have a solid grasp of how long it will take to complete testing, get the results back, then for your doctor to review them and meet with you. Your doctor doesn’t want you to feel in the dark about what’s happening, and neither do you. Setting clear expectations up front is a great way to build that trust.

Discussing the Financial Side of Fertility Treatment

Another element of fertility treatment that’s important to understand up front is the cost. Around the time of your initial consultation, be sure to have a conversation with your clinic’s financial team to discuss the cost of services, whether insurance is accepted, and any discounts, packages, or programs that could make treatment more affordable. If you are confused by something, ask! It’s very important to understand the cost fully so that there are no surprises down the line.

Unique Questions for Those Looking for Donors

If you’re hoping to work with a sperm or egg donor or a surrogate, your fertility consultation questions will be a little bit different. Ask whether the clinic has its own sperm or egg bank, or has one that they partner with or prefer to work with. It’s important that the clinic has a seamless system in place with any donor bank to ensure that everything runs smoothly. Similarly, clinics often have specific surrogate agencies that they work with and trust. If you are hoping to work with a known surrogate (family or friend), be sure to discuss that with your doctor as well.

The initial consultation for fertility treatment can be both exciting and anxiety-inducing. The right clinic will be successful in making you feel heard and understood, and their practices should make you feel empowered to move forward with the next chapter of your life.

PNWF is ready to answer your fertility consultation questions. Schedule an initial consultation today to get started on your fertility journey.