What to Expect in Your First Visit to a Fertility Specialist

An Important Step on Your Path to Parenthood

So you’ve made an appointment with a fertility specialist, a reproductive endocrinologist. Congratulations! If you’ve been having trouble getting pregnant, you’re taking a positive and proactive step by consulting an expert about fertility treatment. You may be feeling a bit worried, since this is a new experience and one that can change your life. What can you expect to happen in your first visit? The specifics will vary from practice to practice, but the purpose is the same, wherever you go—to introduce you to your fertility center team, get complete medical histories on you and your partner if you have one, and determine if further testing is needed in order to develop your treatment plan.

Bring Your Partner or a Friend

If you have a partner, most practices will want you both to come to the first appointment. This is important so that you both understand the treatment options and also because, in heterosexual couples, infertility is not only a “woman’s problem.” As much as 40% of infertility is a result of male factors. If you don’t have a partner, bring a family member or friend with you. It’s hard to absorb information about such an emotional topic, and it’s good to have another pair of ears listening and taking notes

Medical Records and Insurance

Most practices will ask you to come early before your first appointment in order to complete the paperwork to get into their medical records system, whether electronic or on paper. They will ask you to bring your insurance cards and copies of your medical records from your OB/GYN, primary care physician or urologist if applicable, if your other doctors were not able to transmit them electronically. Bring a list of all the medications you take, including herbs, vitamins and supplements. Be prepared to talk about how long you have been trying to get pregnant and how often you’ve had intercourse, or if you have attempted intrauterine insemination (IUI) before.

Questions and Answers

Much of the first appointment will be spent with the fertility doctor reviewing your medical history and discussing the possibility of male-factor problems. The reproductive endocrinologist may ask you to get blood tests or have a pelvic exam, and may also prescribe tests for the male partner. If these tests have already been done, your doctor will review and discuss the results with you. Be sure to write down any questions you think of beforehand and bring them with you, because this is your opportunity to understand what may happen next and what decisions you will need to make. Always feel free to ask questions of your medical team. It’s their responsibility to educate you and respond to your concerns.

Financial and Time Commitments

It’s very important at this stage to tell the doctor about how much time and money you are willing to commit to having a baby. If you have a budget, be upfront about it. Don’t be ashamed to discuss money with your fertility team. You may be introduced to the financial counselor at the fertility center during your first visit, who can give you information about insurance coverage, discounts, financing plans and loans.

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