Preparing For Appointments

Here’s an easy checklist to help couples get ready for appointments and procedures related to their fertility testing.

For The First Medical Appointment

The initial phase of fertility treatment involves much information gathering. Couples are asked to provide a lot of information about themselves, both as a couple and as individuals. Some of the questions may seem private or personal, but do not be embarrassed to answer them truthfully since the answers may facilitate the diagnostic process.

Couples should be ready for detailed questions about these areas:

  • Individual medical history and medical records regarding:
    • Surgeries
    • Immunizations
    • Childhood illnesses
  • Onset of puberty
  • History of menstrual cycle (know start and stop dates, length of period, days between periods)
  • History of any pregnancies; miscarriages (for both man and woman)
  • Lifestyle (including smoking, alcohol, recreational drugs)
  • Sex life and sexual history
  • Family history of fertility and diseases
  • Insurance coverage; proof of ability to pay for tests
  • Any specific questions or concerns

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For Medical Tests

Each partner will be required to have various procedures to obtain the medical information necessary to determine the cause of infertility. Couples can prepare for each appointment using these guidelines.

  • Find out what to do before actually going in for a test, including things to change or stop doing before or after that test. Ask for written guidelines.
  • Does the test need to be performed on certain days of the menstrual cycle?
  • Review all instructions in advance! Call the office beforehand with any additional questions.
  • Take suggested or prescribed medications for expected pain, anxiety, or for the test being given.
  • Follow instructions; don’t improvise!
  • If a specimen is needed, find out how it should be handled and transported.
  • Understand the procedure to be done.
  • Find out if both you and your partner need to come to the appointment.
  • Will you need to take extra time off from work?
  • Check to see if a ride home is necessary.
  • Know what to do in the 24 to 72 hours following the test.
  • Some couples find it useful to bring along a notebook or diary so they can write down the instructions. At home, they can write down their questions, or record any problems, etc. This allows them to have all the information they need at their fingertips both at home and in the healthcare provider’s office.

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General Tips About Getting Tested
  • Keep a running list of questions throughout fertility testing. Review the list before an appointment to see what particular questions may apply that day.
  • Research and read about infertility and specific tests. Stay up-to-date.
  • Talk with others who have used the same healthcare providers or undergone similar tests.
  • Inform employers, insurance companies, family, close friends, and clergy as may be necessary.
  • Create a support system. Consider groups, counselors, e-lists and bulletin boards.

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