Your first appointment at a fertility clinic can be a daunting experience so it’s important to prepare to get the very best out of the consultation. No doubt your mind will be full of questions and ‘what ifs’ so a little preparation will help you to make the most of the time with your fertility expert.
To help you get off to a good start on your IVF journey, we’ve put together eight important questions to ask at your fertility consultation.
What would you like me to know?
This may seem a bit counterintuitive but asking your consultant the essentials you need to know may mean you get a lot of your concerns covered from the get-go. Your fertility doctor should be experienced in relaying the key information in a calm and easy to understand way. This should then provide you with a platform to tailor the rest of the consultation to you.
Having a baby is no joke. It will be one of the most beautiful moments in your life, but also one of the most challenging. One of the hardest things is getting in shape after giving birth. Luckily there are many things you can do in order to make the process a little easier. Make sure you exercise regularly throughout your pregnancy and eat as healthy as possible.
What is your clinic’s success rate and what are my chances?
It’s always a good idea to know the live birth success rate of the fertility clinic you have chosen as well as how many cycles, on average, it takes for their patients to fall pregnant. From this you can ask about your own case and your chances of success using IVF, based on their experience of patients with similar circumstances, for example, age, egg quality and any associated health issues.
What tests do I need to get done?
Now’s the time to get specific about your case and to assess what diagnostic approach your consultant has in mind. Knowing more about the tests they plan to conduct – both for you and your partner, if appropriate – to assess your appropriateness for treatment, also means you can understand the implications as well as time commitment right from the start.
What treatment do you recommend first?
From what the consultant already knows, they should be able to outline the most likely IVF treatment to recommend for you. Getting as much information about any treatment plan will ensure you can start getting mentally and practically prepared for what lies ahead. This should include how long the treatment will take, what adjustments you will need to make in your day-to-day life and the procedures you are likely to undergo, and why.
Is there anything you can do to prepare?
Finding out more about what you can do to give IVF the very best chance to work can be an empowering takeaway from your first fertility consultation. As well as maintaining a healthy lifestyle, discuss any actions specific to your case, whether that’s reducing stress levels, getting your BMI in the healthy range, or avoiding smoking and alcohol. Also, ask about any supplements, such as folic acid, that would be beneficial for you to take.
Will I have someone I can contact?
Be upfront about your expectations of support. This means asking who you can contact if you have any concerns and whether this support is available out of hours or over a weekend. Also, will you have regular contact from your consultant, or will the treatment be predominately nurse-led? And should things not quite work out as planned, ask whether you will have access to counselling or support.
What are the possible side-effects or complications?
You will be embarking on demanding treatment so you should ask what impact IVF treatment could potentially have on your physical as well as mental health. This includes any side-effects that can be expected with your specific treatment as well as possible complications.
What are the costs?
And finally, IVF can be an emotional rollercoaster, so you don’t need it to be a financial one too. So, at your first consultation, make sure you put your cards on the table and ask how much the recommended treatment will cost, including all the tests and medications as well as the actual IVF procedure. With all this information to hand, you are in a much better position to make an informed choice about whether IVF is the right route for you.