Deciding to consult a reproductive endocrinologist, or so called fertility specialist, is one of the most important steps in the way towards parenthood. Many patients think that they are the only one who meets such problem and can’t get pregnant. But the estimates suggest that 1 in 8 couples deal with infertility. This means that a couple is unable to have a child trying for 12 months or a woman is unable to carry a child full time. However, the initial In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) consultation should not be perceived as a frustration, it should have a positive feeling, the way to finally having a baby.
The first step for the patient is to select the appropriate Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) program. Important points for consideration include the qualification and experience of personnel, types of the patient being treated, support services available, cost, convenience, live birth rates per ART cycle started, and multiple pregnancy rates. A patient should be alert, because many factors contribute to the overall success of a program.
Through the website, you may choose the most suitable option.
At the first appointment with the fertility specialist, the doctor will review medical history and assess the general health of the patient. A patient should bring all recent records about previous fertility treatment(s) and prior gynecological surgery. Based on the history, age and how strong the wish to pursue treatment is the doctor will arrange the following initial tests and investigations for a couple:
- Blood tests for women (antibodies against some bacterial and viral infections, full blood count and blood type, thyroid status, and pap smear)
- Instrumental fertility tests for women (vaginal ultrasound to check for fibroids, polyps, ovarian cysts)
- Blood tests for men (HIV, hepatitis B and C)
- Fertility tests for men (semen analysis)
- Pre-pregnancy screening for some genetic conditions is also used very often.
You will be also strongly recommended to quit smoking, eat a balanced diet, daily take vitamins, exercise regularly to better prepare the body for a healthy pregnancy and delivery. A patient should also investigate ways that help decrease stress in daily life.
A doctor will discuss a patient’s building goals, the physical and emotional implications of the treatment, explain what to expect in the upcoming IVF treatment cycle, including any specific treatments, injection techniques, and medications.
The first consultation lasts usually more than an hour. If you are sure about the selected clinic and the physician, be ready to answer to the difficult, but important questions about:
- Number of harvested eggs
- Number of fertilized eggs
- Embryo freezing
- After completing the family, what to do with the freezing embryos (donate to the couple, to the research group or discard them).
- The third person who will be responsible for any frozen embryos in the case of a couple’s death
- Type of sedation during the procedures and other questions.
The costs of IVF treatment can be high, depending upon what tests are required, the type and dose of medications used, and the number of cycles required to become pregnant. A couple should familiarize themselves with all coasts and realize what is covered by insurance and what is not.