Okay so you'VE accepted that it's time to seek more help or answers after waiting each month and not getting a "positive outcome." Let us help you with the minefield of "what's next"...
To get ready for your first appointment:
- Provide details about your attempts to get pregnant. Your doctor will need information such as when you started trying to conceive and how often you've had intercourse, especially around the midpoint of your cycle — the time of ovulation.
- Bring your key medical information. Include any other medical conditions you or your partner have, as well as information about any previous evaluations or treatments for infertility.
- Make a list of any medications, vitamins, herbs or other supplements you take. Include the doses and how often you take them.
- Make a list of questions to ask your doctor. List the most important questions first in case time runs out, however this is your appointment - you want a doctor who can give you their attention. Don't hesitate to ask your doctor to repeat information or to ask follow-up questions.
- Go as a Team. We highly suggest you take your spouse with you to your appointment. Remember "you are a team in this journey" and will need each other. But if this isn't possible take someone with you, record it with your phone, or take notes.
For infertility, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
- What are the possible reasons we haven't yet conceived?
- What's your philosophy on infertility treatments?
- What is your philosophy on moral/ethical issues such as; selective reduction? multiple embryo transfers? fertilizing higher numbers of embryos to freeze?
- We feel strongly about our Christian views/morals in regards to fertility treatments. We want to trust and rely on our doctor to lead us towards growing our family, however, we may want to do things a bit differently at times. What do you think about that?
- As Christians we believe that life begins at conception (Egg + Sperm = Embryo) and will make our decisions based on that moral foundation. Can you support us in that as our doctor?
- What kinds of tests do we need?
- What treatment do you recommend trying first?
- What side effects are associated with the treatment you're recommending?
- What is the likelihood of conceiving multiple babies with the treatment you're recommending?
- For how many cycles will we try this treatment?
- If the first treatment doesn't work, what will you recommend trying next?
- Are there any long-term complications associated with this or other infertility treatments?
- What resources does your office have to support us during this journey?
- Costs? Are there payment plans, or not?
What to expect from your doctor:
Be ready to answer questions to help your doctor quickly determine next steps in making a diagnosis and starting care. Don't hesitate to ask your doctor to repeat information or to ask follow-up questions.
Additionally, you should look for your doctor to show:
- Compassion. Some of them lack this - know what you need as a patient and person
- Encouragement. Or at least Hope that they can help and want to join you in the process of growing your family
- Attention. You deserve time and attention from your doctor and their staff, not to feel like just a number on the fertility assembly line)
- They are on Your Team. A doctor who understands what you want and not just what they want. Someone willing to listen and not push you ahead, but hear and seek out your desires. A doctor that hopefully approaches your case as the patient being both the husband & wife, "not just the wife."
**Remember you want a doctor/clinic to not simply be about numbers and a success rate but ultimately about your own good as their patient. Fertility specialists will always want the best % rate to get you pregnant the fastest - this does not mean that you can't take a step backwards or start at a different point. They are focused on doing their job "to get you pregnant." You are the only one who can be focused on the right path laid out before you and God's Will for that path to grow your family.**
Questions for the couple:
- How long have you been having sex without birth control?
- How long have you been actively trying to get pregnant?
- How frequently do you have intercourse?
- Do you use any lubricants during sex?
- Do either of you smoke?
- Do either of you use alcohol or recreational drugs? How often?
- Are either of you currently taking any medications, dietary supplements or anabolic steroids?
- Have either of you been treated for any other medical conditions, including sexually transmitted infections?
- Are you exposed through your work or lifestyle habits to chemicals, pesticides, radiation or lead?
- How much does stress play a role in your lives?
- How satisfied are you with your relationship?
Questions for the man:
- At what age did you start puberty?
- Have you had any sexual problems in this relationship, such as difficulty maintaining an erection, reduced sexual desire, ejaculating too soon or not being able to ejaculate?
- Have you conceived a child with any previous partners?
- Have you been treated for any form of cancer?
- Have you noticed any swelling in the scrotum or around the testicles?
- Do you have any male siblings with infertility problems?
- Do you experience recurrent infections of the testicles, epididymis, or prostate?
- Have you ever had surgery on the testicles, prostate, or in the pelvis (such as with testicular cancer or colorectal cancer)
- Have you undergone an inguinal hernia repair?
- Have you had a vasectomy?
- Do you experience recurrent respiratory infections?
- Are you on any medications currently or use any supplements for building muscle?
Questions for the woman:
- At what age did you start menstruating?
- What are your cycles typically like? How regular, long and heavy?
- Have you ever been pregnant before?
- Have you been charting your cycles or testing for ovulation? For how many cycles?
- What is your typical daily diet?
- Do you exercise regularly? How much?
- Has your body weight recently changed?
*We truly hope this information will be helpful for you and your spouse as you prepare. We know how hard the first steps are, especially to accept, grieve and move forward with being in this "unwanted" season.
There are lots of different paths on this journey to hopefully grow your family. You can't jump ahead or force yourself to be in someone else's "path." Stay your course and keep praying and asking the God who created you for guidance, He will give it - just keep seeking it and He will lead you. But remember the Lord's ways are not our ways and don't always make sense, nor do we understand them in the time, but they are perfect, good and right for us in the Big Picture of our Lives.
Isaiah 55:8 "For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord."
You are Loved and Not Alone. Please contact us if you need more resources, have questions or need someone to talk to.