Infertility: Ten Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Infertility

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

What Kind of Doctor Do I Need? Slideshow

Be sure to take along the records of any diagnostic studies and/or fertility treatments you may have had in the past if you are visiting a new fertility specialist. If you have been keeping records of the dates of your menstrual cycles and/or basal body temperature charts, take these along too. Also, print this and take it with you to your doctor visit.

  1. What is my diagnosis, and how does this condition specifically interfere with fertility? Does my partner have a condition that interferes with fertility? Will these conditions worsen over time, improve, or remain constant?
  2. If the reason for my infertility is unclear, what diagnostic tests do you recommend? What is the likelihood that each of these tests will establish a diagnosis? Are there any risks associated with the testing? Does my partner need additional testing?
  3. What type of treatment would you recommend trying first? Does this treatment involve surgery, medications, or both? What are the risks of treatment?
  4. In your practice, how often does this treatment result in pregnancy? (Be sure to determine whether your doctor is talking about pregnancy rates or live-birth rates when discussing specific treatments so you can make adequate comparisons. For example, a treatment may have a 30% pregnancy rate per cycle but only a 25% live-birth rate due to early miscarriages.)
  5. Are less-invasive or more conservative treatments available? How do these compare with your recommended treatment in terms of risks and success rates?
  6. How many cycles of treatment would you recommend before trying another option? Do you recommend skipping a menstrual cycle between treatment cycles?
  7. Are there any lifestyle modifications that might help my condition and increase my chances of getting pregnant?
  8. (If this is an acceptable option for you) Would you recommend treatments using donor eggs and/or sperm? Does your clinic or practice offer these options?
  9. What is my prognosis? In your opinion, how likely is fertility treatment to be successful for me? (While no doctor can give you an exact answer to this question, taking into account your personal medical information and age, your doctor's past experiences may allow him or her to roughly estimate whether you will have an average, below-average, or above-average chance of success).
  10. What does treatment cost? Does my insurance cover any of the medications, hospital charges, or doctor's visits? If I must pay out-of-pocket, do you offer any special payment plans?

Medically reviewed by Wayne Blocker, MD; Board Certified Obstetrics and Gynecology

REFERENCE:

MescapeReference. Infertility.


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Reviewed on 4/14/2016

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