The multistep and generally arduous process of dealing with fertility issues can leave anyone feeling understandably fragile and exhausted. We’ve broken the process down into 6 simple steps of what to expect from a fertility clinic that can leave you feeling in control again.
Fertility issues are more common than you think. They affect more than 12% of couples, but the process of trying desperately to get pregnant without encouraging results can leave you feeling alone and isolated. Years of trying and disappointments can leave you with a sense of feeling completely out of control before you even get to a fertility clinic. Sound familiar? We’re here for you and many others that struggle with fertility problems to break down the entire process of what to expect when you’ve finally reached the point of seeking help from the experts at a fertility clinic.
1. Make an appointment with your doctor
If you’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, for a year or more to have a child, maybe it’s time to seek some expert advice. There are quite a few factors that can cause fertility issues between couples, in both men and women, so it’s important that both of you are present for the appointments. Make an appointment with your regular doctor and discuss any concerns or difficulties that you and your partner have been experiencing. Most physicians will give you a referral to a fertility clinic. If they don’t, feel free to ask for one!
Your regular doctor is a great place to start because they are already well acquainted with your personal medical history. It’s very simple for them to be able to explain what type of fertility clinic you may need to look for and they can even provide you with all of the necessary documentation regarding your medical history that your fertility clinic will require.
2. Discuss options at the fertility clinic
During your first visit to a fertility clinic, a standard consultation and exam will be performed. This will include a full discussion of both your and your partner’s medical history. Be sure to bring any relevant documentation with you. Laboratory (blood and semen), imaging, gynecological, and ultrasound examinations may all be performed. If this is the case, a second consultation will be scheduled to inform you and your partner of the results of these tests. Further testing may be required.
Depending on what the results of the tests reveal, your doctor may suggest specific treatments or surgeries. Some of these treatments may be considered “outpatient”, which means you’ll be able to go home immediately after the treatment has been performed.
3. Consider payments
Check to see whether or not your health insurance plans will cover the cost of fertility treatments. If not, prepare for a pretty large out of pocket expense. As doctors will often start with the least invasive procedure and work up from there, failed attempts can end costing a bit of money, even if they are absolutely necessary. On the bright side, surgeries and hormone treatments are often far less expensive than IVF or surrogacy programs. Check with your fertility clinic doctor to discuss all proposed plans and costs early. Prepare by saving money.
This can work in your, and your child’s, favor. If the treatments don’t end up costing all the money you’ve saved, then your newborn has a college fund!
4. Undergo treatments or surgery
Depending on what test results you have, as well as how you respond to any initial treatments, will guide your fertility clinic doctor down which route to proceed with additional treatments and procedures. These treatments and procedures take time. Sometimes regimes can take a few months or even a year to work correctly. Try not to get discouraged by the amount of time that may elapse between first seeking help and actually conceiving a baby! Keeping a positive attitude and staying focused on the goals you have in mind just as important as any other aspect of your health!
While undergoing treatments and procedures, be mindful of your wellbeing. Try to eat healthy, whole foods. Don’t smoke, drink, or engage in recreational drug use- as all of these things contribute to fertility issues. Regular exercise and mindfulness techniques to help manage stress are also important at keeping you healthy, calm, and ready for your baby! (See also: How to Break the Infertility Stereotype)
5. Take time to heal
Even if you don’t undergo invasive procedures, such as surgeries. Make sure that you take time, for both yourself and your partner, to really step back and take time to heal. Emotionally and physically. Make sure that you schedule time for yourself and your partner that doesn’t include the pressure of conception. We know that struggling with fertility problems and wanting to start a family are incredibly immense feelings. And that’s perfectly acceptable that they are! But, make sure that you take time to nurture yourself and your loved ones during this difficult time.
Make sure a schedule breaks in between fertility visits or “ovulation sessions”. Give yourself moments that are “baby worry free”. Schedule date nights with your partner. Maybe get a couples massage! Whatever the plans are, make sure that you take time to focus on yourselves and your romantic relationship occasionally. The pressure to start a family can be really overwhelming and this type of stress can actually accentuate already existing fertility issues.
6. Explore other options
If you feel like you and your partner have already tried everything, and nothing seems to work- don’t panic and don’t give up! There is a myriad of options available to those with even the most severe forms of infertility. In most cases, fertility clinic doctors will start off with the simplest, and cheapest, forms of applicable treatment. Sometimes these don’t work right away (if at all). Even though it can be exhausting, frustrating, and heartbreaking, there will be hurdles that you will need to navigate before you can jump through to fancy and costly solutions like IVF (in vitro fertilization) or surrogacy.
And even those options can have their own sets of obstacles to navigate. And that’s okay. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. You can do this, especially with the help of your local fertility clinic.
About The Author:
Stacey Smith is the freelance health writer. She is passionate to write about women’s health, dental health, diabetes, endocrinology and nutrition and provide in-depth features on the latest in health news for medical clinics and health magazines.