Your first fertility consultation: what you need to know before seeing a fertility specialist
Have you been trying to get pregnant for some time, but not having any luck? Do you think you might have problems conceiving? Are you worried because you want to become a mother but aren’t sure if you’ll be able to? At URE Centro Gutenberg we are well aware of the many questions about fertility and assisted reproduction that bombard women’s minds if, when the time has come, the desire to have a baby isn’t fulfilled right away. Maybe it’s time for your first fertility consultation.
Almost every woman assumes they won’t have any issues getting pregnant and that it will happen easily once they’ve decided they’re ready to enter into motherhood. Sadly, this is not the reality. Experiencing difficulties conceiving is much more common than we think. Factors such as advanced maternal age at the time women decide to become mothers, “hidden” pathologies that prevent natural conception or make it more difficult, being overweight and/or having obesity and other problems can turn the road to motherhood into an obstacle course.
Fortunately the information we have access to is constantly improving, and clinics specialised in reproductive issues can help you through the process. So, if you’re thinking of visiting a doctor who is a fertility specialist we would like to help by offering you some tips about certain things you can have ready before going to your first appointment. Grab a pen and paper… and start taking notes!
- 1 How long have you been trying to conceive naturally
- 2 Have you ever been pregnant in the past?
- 3 Are you up-to-date with all of your gynaecological check-ups
- 4 When was your last period
- 5 Have you ever had an illness or a condition related to the reproductive system?
- 6 Do you have a family history of any serious illnesses?
- 7 Have you previously undergone any fertility treatments?
How long have you been trying to conceive naturally
This will be one of the very first questions the doctor asks you at your first fertility consultation. You should be able to explain to the doctor how long you have been having regular intercourse (between 2 and 3 times a week), without contraception.
Have you ever been pregnant in the past?
This might seem like a strange question, but it’s not. Many women find that they are having trouble conceiving when they start trying for a second child. This is what we refer to as secondary infertility.
It’s also possible that you have experienced one or more miscarriages if you’ve previously been pregnant.
All of the above is extremely important information that makes up your reproductive medical history.
Try to make note of all the approximate timelines and dates so that you can explain everything to your fertility specialist in an organised manner.
Are you up-to-date with all of your gynaecological check-ups
It’s important to have an updated cervical pap smear (once a year), and to rule out issues associated with the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, etc.
These problems are often detected during routine gynaecological check-ups. So even though your initial fertility consultation will include a complete gynaecological exam, it’s important to tell your doctor about any issues you are already aware of so that they can confirm them and properly diagnosis your case.
When was your last period
This question may seem like something every woman should be able to answer fairly easily, but many patients go blank when they’re in their appointment with the doctor and start to question themselves. Keep track of your periods, the number of days your complete menstrual cycle usually takes and the number of days your period lasts.
You may already be aware that you have a problem that is preventing you from conceiving. Pathologies such as endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts can be detected during routine gynaecological check-ups. These are pathologies that may make it difficult for you to fall pregnant naturally.
If you suspect that you might have one of these problems, tell your doctor so that they can inform you regarding any necessary tests and to rule out specific conditions.
Do you have a family history of any serious illnesses?
It is essential that you know whether any of your close family has or has had a serious illness. Your family medical history is extremely important as it can provide us with insight into your reproductive profile.
Have you previously undergone any fertility treatments?
Maybe you have already undergone some type of fertility treatment such as in Vitro Fertilisation or artificial insemination, or maybe you’ve already done the basic fertility tests. If this is the case, we advise you to bring any and all information to the initial consultation with your fertility specialist: analyses, testing, medical reports, etc. This way you will save yourself time and money as you won’t have to unnecessarily repeat tests that have already been completed and are still in date.
At the Centro Gutenberg Reproduction Unit your initial fertility consultation with the doctor is cost-free and will last approximately one hour. During this appointment the doctor will review your general medical and reproductive history and also perform a completely gynaecological exam. Occasionally the doctor will also carry out an andrology exam if the patient has a male partner. For this reason we advise couples to come to this first appointment together.
An essential exam we order for all couples is the semen analysis, also called a sperm study. This test makes is possible to analyse the concentration of spermatozoids, their motility and their morphology in order to detect potential abnormalities. Remember that having a child takes two, so carrying out tests on the male partner is necessary as well.
If the doctor has all the information they need at your initial consultation, then they will be able to directly indicate what treatment is necessary in your case and even provide you with the informed consents for that specific assisted reproduction technique. If this is not the case and additional results are needed before we can proceed, then you’ll be given an appointment for a follow-up consultation to review any outstanding results and to decide what treatment is indicated in your particular case.
Do you have any more questions? In addition, remember that you can request an appointment online for a fertility consultation. Or, if you prefer, you can make an appointment by calling us on 0034 952 122 565.
We’ll be happy to help no matter how you decide to reach us.