You could be on your way to the specialist hoping to discover why you and your partner haven’t been able to have a baby despite the fact that you’ve been trying for almost a year. Maybe it feels easier to go on in the bliss of ignorance for a little longer. So, with this list of what you can expect at your first fertility consultation you have no reason to postpone it any longer.
This is what the specialist will want to ask about.
- At what age did you begin puberty? For the ladies, even though you would possibly like to forget that day, you will need to try and remember when you started menstruating. If you began puberty at a very early or a very late stage it could be an indication of a problem.
- Any health issues you currently have or that you have had in the past could be significant. This includes childhood illnesses such as acne, diabetes, mumps – anything! The condition itself or even the treatment for the sickness could affect your fertility negatively.
- Have you had any surgery at all? Tonsillectomy, tooth extractions, appendectomy – again, anything!
- Are you taking any chronic medication? Are there any other medications you take quite often? Ever taken chronic medication in the past? Try to think of any vitamins or supplements as well.
- When was your first sexual encounter? Have you had multiple sexual partners? Have you ever had any STDs? Early sexual activity for women might influence cervix health, and having many sexual partners might raise your chance of getting STDs, which might also cause infertility.
For the ladies:
- Ladies only: How is your menstrual cycle? Regular or irregular? Long or not? Quite heavy or rather light bleeding? Severe cramps?
- About how many times a week do you do the baby dance? It’s obvious that doing it too seldom may be a problem, but doing it too often can decrease the quantity of sperm.
- How does your sexual intercourse correlate with the woman’s ovulation? You need to have sexual intercourse at the appropriate time of the month to make a baby.
- Have you been pregnant previously? This may seem like a strange question in view of the fact that you are trying to ask about difficulties conceiving, but many couples struggle to get pregnant for a second time. If you have had many miscarriages previously then at least you know that conception is not the problem, but you have to work on keeping the pregnancy.
- What intimacy enhancing products (i.e. lubricant or vibrators) do you use? (If any.) Another strange question, asked not because the doctor is merely inquisitive, but because some lubricants give the spermies a hard time.
- Do you or your partner have any sexual problems? Inability to climax? Vaginal dryness? Pain? Problems getting an erection? Nothing is out of bounds! Everything needs to be revealed if you are looking for an accurate diagnosis.
The specialist will also almost certainly also enquire about your emotional wellbeing, which is a tough one, especially after that interrogation! Aim to ensure that you have shared all this information with your partner before you get to the specialist. Discovering your partner’s dodgy past for the first time at the doctor’s office is not conducive to emotional stability!
Your specialist will almost certainly also do a comprehensive physical examination, which includes an internal for the ladies. It could seem like a whole heap all at once, but it’s helpful to try and recall that the doctor only wants to be of assistance, and that internal exams are part of the deal. Trust me, when you are in labor at some point you’ll be asking for an internal so you can get an idea of how much longer you have until the baby is born!
Once he (or she) has given you a thorough once over you might need some infertility tests. This can include ultrasound scanning, tests to check for STDs, blood tests, semen analysis for the man and a pap smear for the woman. Ladies could also need a laparoscopy or hysterosalpingogram to check for any structural difficulties.
That wasn’t so awful was it? It was? I realize that having an practical stranger ask you intimate facts about your sexual and medical life history is a nightmare, not to mention the various pokings and proddings as well. Just keep in mind that this is to help you get pregnant – and believe me when that little hand curls itself over your finger one day, this will all feel very small in comparison.
Here is more information on Infertility Costs. Here is a website with a free mini-course dedicated to Infertility.