For most couples scheduling that first infertility appointment is nerve-racking. They look forward to the appointment date with anxiety, and eagerness for answers. Most couples will be referred to a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) by their family physician. There are some family physician’s that are comfortable treating infertility problems or at least the initial testing that is involved.
There are some important things to keep in mind for this first critical appointment. Besides scheduling the appointment another important task is to gather all medical information for your partner and yourself. You will also want to bring any cycle charting that you have from the past few cycles.
You will also want to bring a record of any ovulation kit results for the past few cycles if you have these. You will also be asked about any non-prescription drugs, vitamins or herbs you are taking as well as any prescription drugs. Gather all of this information prior to the day of your appointment.
Expect to have a wait before you can even get your appointment date. Once the day arrives, if your doctor is like most, you will have to wait some more in the waiting room. While you wait, the nurse or receptionist is likely to give you some forms to fill out. You will be asked to answer questions regarding the medical background of you and your partner.
Do not rush through this stage of the process. This medical history could give your doctor important clues regarding your infertility problems. This is the time to be accurate and through. The female patient will be asked to undress and put on a gown. She will then be given a through physical examination, which will include a pelvic examination and possibly a pelvic ultrasound.
Depending on where in your menstrual cycle you are at on the day of your appointment, blood test may or may not be ordered. These tests are used to evaluate hormones in your system that will indicate ovulation among other things and have to be done on certain cycle days. The male partner is not to be left out, he will be asked to provide a sperm specimen. A semen analysis (SA) will be run on the sample.
You will not be receiving any information regarding the reasons for your infertility at this first appointment unless the doctor finds any information related to the physical examination, like high blood pressure, noticeable uterine abnormalities etc. You will be asked to schedule a follow-up appointment for sometime after the test results are expected back.
At this follow-up appointment your doctor will discuss the results, explain what the results mean to your infertility issue and together with you and your partner discuss possible treatment options. It is also possible that you will be sent for additional tests that will involve examining your fallopian tubes and uterus.
All tests that are performed should be explained to you regarding nature of the test, what to expect during the test and why they are performing the test. Your doctor will most likely either answer any questions you have during this first appointment regarding these tests or you may be asked to see the nurse or receptionists for information regarding these additional tests.
The goal of this first appointment is to gather information and to conduct a physical examination and any tests that may be deemed necessary in order to discover the cause of your infertility.