Whether it is your first or fifth fertility clinic consult, the anxious feeling and questions are the same…
Will I get all of my questions answered?
Will the doctor listen to what I want to try or dismiss me?
What will they do different?
Have they prepared themselves on my case in advance or will I spend the entire call bringing them up to speed?
Will they be on time?
While we can’t control their timeliness or if they read up on us in advance, there are things we can control to set us up for an informative consult where we leave feeling like we got our money’s worth and we are better informed to move forward. Here are our top 10 quick tips to make this happen…
- Send over your medical records in advance – this gives the physician time to brush up on your diagnosis and treatments thus far in advance of the call so you don’t have to spend most of the time bringing them up to speed. PRO TIP: it can take a while to get your records from your OBGYN and/ REI so be mindful of that when booking a consult.
- Organize your questions and any studies or suggestions you have before the consult – create a note on your phone, bookmark studies or write it all out on an old school on a pad – do not rely on your anxious memory for this one.
- Ask the physician what they will do differently from what you have already tried (i.e. different protocols, diagnostic tests, supplement suggestions, holistic suggestions, etc.)
- Ask if the clinic batches cycles or not – do they only complete procedures during certain times of the week or month? Or do they perform them more frequently? Many women experience cancelled cycles and extreme frustration at clinics that batch.
- Ask about the clinic’s lab (both for routine blood draws and for embryology and other more intensive testing) – is it onsite? do they outsource? Arm yourself with facts so that you know what to expect if you plan to undergo any sort of treatment that will involve a lab.
- Ask about the clinic’s success rates – clinics are required to track their success rates and should be able to direct you to either a place on their website or send you a report.
- Ask how the clinic handles monitoring appointments and communication – make sure your expectations are set on when you would see the physician, versus the nursing staff, etc. Who calls with updates? Do they communicate over email, phone, or both? Do they have texting communication? An online portal or an old school paper filing system? How can you get ahold of them in case of emergency?
- Ask about pricing – do they have guaranteed programs, grants, payment plans, etc.?
- Ask about the clinic’s policy on embryo/sample transferring – is this something they handle for you, do you have to handle it on your own, costs associated with either? – you do not want to be blindsided with logistics and charges
- Ask how they handicap your chances at achieving your goal – while physicians can never offer a guaranty, they CAN site statistical probability to help inform your path forward
I hope these tips helped. They are all things I have learned over the course or many years and consults of my own and through hearing the experiences pf other members of our Rally fam and those in our broader infertility community.
One last thing I will leave you with… doing a consult does not mean you have to move forward. It doesn’t mean you have to fire your current clinic if you have one. What is does mean is you are being a badass advocate for yourself through educating yourself on the options out there and seeking second opinions. You got this!