For some patients, going to a fertility clinic can feel like a nerve-wracking experience. One way to feel more relaxed about your appointment is to prepare a few essential questions in advance, so you can be sure that your consultant answers everything you need to know. Here are nine important questions to ask your fertility consultant.
1. What Is My Diagnosis And How Does It Interfere With Fertility?
The first question to ask is what your specific diagnosis is and how it affects fertility. There are many causes for infertility, so your consultant should explain to you what the issues are and how they directly correlate to your infertility. Following on from this, they need to explain whether those conditions may change over time, will they get worse, stay the same or if there’s potential for them to improve.
2. What’s Your Clinic’s Success Rate Overall, And For Patient’s With My Condition?
It’s worth checking in with your consultant as to how successful they’ve been with treatments for patients in the past. Finding an IVF clinic in London that has had success with IVF cycles and live births for their patients, as well as a clinic that has worked with patients with similar backgrounds to you and your partner can help increase your chances of success.
3. Are Less-Invasive Treatments Available?
Once your consultant has explained the potential treatments available to you, you should ask if there are more conservative treatments available and how these compare to the treatments they recommend in terms of success rates and the associated risks. Every treatment, whether it’s assisted conception, surgery or medication, comes with its own pros and cons and side effects, so you should weigh up what those are and discuss the options with your doctor.
4. What’s The Estimated Timeline For My Circumstances?
The process of your treatment and the timeline may differ from the projections your consultant gives you. For most people, a single cycle of IVF can take between four and six weeks, but it depends on the individual’s circumstances – some women, for example, may not have the first stage of treatment which suppresses hormone production, which can reduce the time by several weeks.
5. How Many Embryos Are Typically Retrieved And Transferred To A Patient Like Me?
The number of embryos retrieved will depend on your health and your age, so this is a valuable question to ask your consultant as they may suggest just taking a single embryo or several. The latter will increase your chances of getting pregnant, however a single embryo retrieval is safer for the mother and baby. It can also be worth asking whether they prefer fresh or frozen embryos. ‘Fresh’ embryos, or non-frozen embryos, are transferred shortly after the eggs are fertilised while freezing can take a few extra weeks but might increase the chances of conceiving for some patients.
6. How Many Cycles Of Treatment Are Recommended Before Trying Other Options?
This will vary between clinics and specialists, so it’s a valuable question to ask. Some consultants recommend skipping a menstrual cycle between each treatment cycle, and there may be a set number of tries they suggest before switching to another treatment. It will help you set out expectations early on and will help you plan ahead if you’re not seeing the right results from your sessions.
7. Do You Recommend Any Additional Lifestyle Modifications?
While your treatment will be the main focus of your fertility journey, there are ways that you can support the treatment by modifying your lifestyle. Your consultant is the expert in terms of the specific treatment you’re receiving so they’re the best source of advice in terms of the changes you can make to increase your chances of getting pregnant. They may suggest increasing the amount of exercise you do each week, or cutting back on alcohol or giving up smoking, for example. They will have access to your medical history, and you can discuss your current lifestyle choices with them so they can provide additional guidance to aid your treatment.
8. How Often Will I Be Communicated With For Updates?
The wait for updates is difficult – you want to know whether the treatment has been successful or if there are any problems, so knowing how often the clinic will be in touch can provide peace of mind. Most clinics have standard protocols for contacting patients with updates, whether that’s daily after retrieval or only getting in touch when they have news to update the patient with. You should also check who your point of contact will be if you have any follow-up questions or need further information after your appointment, so you’re not wasting time being moved between different members of staff.
9. Will I See The Same Doctor Each Visit?
Patients place their trust in their fertility consultant and like to build a rapport with them so it’s important to know whether you will see your doctor every visit or if this can’t be guaranteed. At Fertility Plus we do our best to have a one to one approach with our patients, meaning they see the same doctor each visit unless in exceptional circumstances.
Don’t Be Scared – Be Prepared!
Understanding which questions you want answers to before your appointment with your fertility consultant will ensure you maximise the time you have with them. It will also help you to feel better prepared and less overwhelmed by the prospect of speaking with your fertility consultant, as you’ll have the right information to the key questions before you start your treatment.
At Fertility Plus, we treat every patient as an individual, with a personalised treatment plan for each patient. We believe this helps the patient feel comfortable throughout their journey and provides the best outcomes possible.