Your first appointment at the fertility clinic is usually with a member of the medical team, a consultant or doctor, but sometimes a nurse. The goal of this appointment is to make sure the clinic staff are aware of your situation in order to work out the best way to proceed with treatment.
At this appointment, the doctor or nurse will want to know about your medical history. For you, this will include questions about your age, weight and menstrual cycle. For both partners, they will ask about any previous surgery, serious illnesses and sexually transmitted infections that could affect your fertility.
Most clinics will do a physical examination of both partners, but it is usually just a simple check-up.
For the man, this will mean ensuring there are no obvious problems with the testicles, or with the tubes that carry the sperm away from them.
For the woman there may be an internal examination and possibly a smear/pap test and a vaginal ultrasound scan. If you haven’t had a vaginal ultrasound scan before it is a straightforward process. The doctor or nurse inserts a probe into the vagina and uses ultrasound to check that the womb and ovaries look normal. You will have a few scans during IVF treatment and although at first the procedure may seem a little odd and rather undignified, it will soon become routine.
Make sure the clinic has your medical records of any previous investigations, tests and treatments you’ve had for your fertility problem.
Sometimes, when people change clinics, they are reluctant to let their original clinic know that they are moving on and don’t like to ask for their records. It is common for people to move from one clinic to another and it will save you a lot of time if your new clinic has access to your current medical records.
What happens next depends on how far along you are with testing and treatment. Sometimes, the clinic may want to send you for other tests that you haven’t had, or they may want to repeat some tests for example the semen analysis.
Many couples feel very nervous about their first appointment. This is normal and doctors and nurses recognise that this can be a difficult time. It may be particularly upsetting if they are going to have to tell you at this point that some form of assisted conception may be the only way that you will be able to conceive.
The end of your appointment
By the end of the appointment you will have some idea of what to do going forward. The clinic may want to carry out more investigations to find out why you aren’t managing to conceive naturally, or you may be ready to move on to treatment.
This is from my program ‘Everything you need to know before starting IVF/ART’.
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