Most women become clients of a fertility clinic the same way: they experience some trouble getting pregnant and consult their OB GYN. Some lab tests later, they receive a diagnosis that sounds like some really bad news: infertility. Then, either their doctor refers them to a fertility clinic where IVF treatment may be available, or they take it upon themselves to make an appointment on their own.
The first appointment is one that they may view with plenty of apprehension, nervousness, or even fear. No level of preparedness would prevent these emotions from happening, but here are some ways to be prepared for that intimidating first visit.
Gather Your Medical Records: It is important that you have all of your medical records in hand before you walk into the fertility clinic. Your OB GYN has all of the same records of your results in her own file, and has explained everything to you. However, it is up to you to make sure you understand what the results mean. By knowing and understanding exactly what is in your own records, you have real empowerment.
Here is a quick checklist of what you should bring:
- Test results, including genetic testing, lab reports, x-ray and ultrasound films, and any findings of prior fertility.
- Treatment history, including surgery notes, prior fertility treatment information, and results of therapeutic modalities.
- List of current medications, prescription, over-the-counter, or otherwise.
- Insurance card and other insurance information.
Bring Your Partner: Infertility is viewed as a couple’s problem, and doctors at fertility centers are more likely to be helpful during the first visit if both partners are there. Another reason to have your partner with you: you may be nervous, tense, or somehow unable to focus during the visit. Another set of eyes and ears could come in handy, and help you catch everything.
Prepare Your Questions Ahead of Time: The first appointment will entail plenty of forms that need to be filled out, an interview regarding your medical and obstetric history, a physical examination, any necessary labs, and consultation. The first meeting might not take longer than an hour, but there may be a lot to discuss. Start building a list of questions from the time you book your appointment, and add to the list from time to time.
Set Your Budget: When you’re ready to commit to IVF treatments and other assistive reproductive technologies, you need to figure out how much you’re willing to spend. Fertility clinics often do not want to begin testing or initiate any treatment until funding has been secured. Based on what services you need, the financial administrator or office manager will go over your insurance plan and inform you what needs to be paid out of pocket as well as what is covered by your plan, whether the coverage be partial or complete.