Ten Infertility Questions to Ask Your Doctor
Medical Author: Melissa Stoppler, M.D.Medical Editor: William C. Shiel, Jr, MD, FACP, FACR
Be sure to take along the records of any diagnostic studies and/or fertility treatments you may have had in the past if you are visiting a new fertility specialist. If you have been keeping records of the dates of your menstrual cycles and/or basal body temperature charts, take these along too. Also, print this and take it with you to your doctor visit.
1. What is my diagnosis, and how does this condition specifically interfere with fertility? Does my partner have a condition that interferes with fertility? Will these conditions worsen over time, improve, or remain constant?
2. If the reason for my infertility is unclear, what diagnostic tests do you recommend? What is the likelihood that each of these tests will establish a diagnosis? Are there any risks associated with the testing? Does my partner need additional testing?
3. What type of treatment would you recommend trying first? Does this treatment involve surgery, medications, or both? What are the risks of treatment?
4. In your practice, how often does this treatment result in pregnancy? (Be sure to determine whether your doctor is talking about pregnancy rates or live-birth rates when discussing specific treatments so you can make adequate comparisons. For example, a treatment may have a 30% pregnancy rate per cycle but only a 25% live-birth rate due to early miscarriages.)
5. Are less-invasive or more conservative treatments available? How do these compare with your recommended treatment in terms of risks and success rates?
6. How many cycles of treatment would you recommend before trying another option? Do you recommend skipping a menstrual cycle between treatment cycles?
7. Are there any lifestyle modifications that might help my condition and increase my chances of getting pregnant?
8. (If this is an acceptable option for you) Would you recommend treatments using donor eggs and/or sperm? Does your clinic or practice offer these options?
9. What is my prognosis? In your opinion, how likely is fertility treatment to be successful for me? (While no doctor can give you an exact answer to this question, taking into account your personal medical information and age, your doctor's past experiences may allow him or her to roughly estimate whether you will have an average, below-average, or above-average chance of success).
10. What does treatment cost? Does my insurance cover any of the medications, hospital charges, or doctor's visits? If I must pay out-of-pocket, do you offer any special payment plans?