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What to Ask Your Reproductive Endocrinologist on Your First Visit

Preparing for your first visit to your Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) can be a little nerve-racking. You've probably put quite a bit of time and effort into finding an RE who is the right fit for you, so if you feel somewhat anxious on the days leading up to your appointment, it's understandable. After all, your fertility is a very personal, sensitive topic and you want everything to go as smoothly as possible!

Having a list of questions with you at the appointment is the best way to guarantee you won't forget to ask about the things you may be unsure of. It would also be helpful to bring a small notebook. The RE will give you lots of information and it will be nearly impossible to remember everything without taking a few notes.

The following are a few topics you should discuss with your RE before you or your partner agree to proceed with any treatment:

Hours of operation - Ovulation doesn't wait for nine o'clock Monday morning! Be sure the clinic operates at times when you are available, such as during the evenings or on weekends. You will likely have to make several trips to the clinic for blood work and ultrasounds, so regular business hours often aren't enough. Plus, scheduling your work responsibilities around your RE's hours can be both challenging and frustrating.

  • What are your office hours?
  • Do you close during the holiday season?
  • Who covers for you when you go on vacation?
  • How will we communicate with you outside of the office? Do you offer phone consultations?
  • Who can we call if we have a problem after office hours?
  • Are you or another doctor on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

Testing - Your RE should go over the tests he or she might perform, as well as the order in which they will be performed. If you are unsure of what any of these tests entail, do not hesitate to ask your RE to explain the testing process in complete detail.

  • Will I need to undergo a laparoscopy for diagnosis? If so, who will perform the surgery and where will it be done?
  • Will my partner and I be evaluated at the same time?
  • What other kinds of tests should we expect?
  • How long will it take to diagnose our problem?
  • Can all of our testing be completed within one or two cycles?
  • How long do blood test and other test results take to receive?

Treatment sessions - You and your partner will probably have the most questions regarding the kind of fertility treatment you will receive. Discuss with your RE all of your options, as well as when you can begin treatment, as some clinics only accept a certain number of patients for specific treatments at one time, and many clinics have a waiting list. Your RE should also be able to give you an estimate of many times you will need to receive a particular treatment before you see results or move on to a new form of treatment.

  • What are our treatment options?
  • Will treatment be individualized, or do you follow set protocols?
  • Can we begin treatment right away? Is there a waiting list?
  • How will you monitor my treatment and how often?
  • Will you always perform treatment monitoring or is it possible that on occasion another physician or a nurse might monitor?
  • When do you prescribe progesterone support?
  • Will I need to use fertility drugs, such as Clomid?
  • What kind of advanced reproductive technologies (ART) do you offer?
  • What are the qualifications for moving on to intrauterine insemination (IUI)? In vitro fertilization (IVF)?
  • Who decides how many eggs are implanted during an ART procedure?
  • Do you perform all egg retrievals and embryo transfers? If not, who else might?
  • Do you have ties to a donor egg/sperm program?
  • How many treatment sessions will we need before we see results?
  • How many sessions will we need before attempting another treatment?

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