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Posted on 02/13/2023 in Fertility Treatment Options

69 Questions to Ask a Fertility Specialist at Your First Visit

69 Questions to Ask a Fertility Specialist at Your First Visit

First IVF Consultation: What Don’t You Know Yet and What You Should Expect? Visiting a fertility clinic can be intimidating, especially if it is your first session with a Fertility Consultant. It is normal to wonder about “what to expect at the first IVF consultation?”, “how much time does it take?”, “what questions to ask?”, “what tests will be done?”, “how long does it take to get the test results?”, “what follows the first session?” It is normal to overthink the littlest of situations, starting with “What If...?” and leading to the positive and negative scenarios bustling in your mind. And it is normal to feel like a bundle of nerves every time you realize that the Event Date is coming closer and closer. Indeed, everyone’s experience is unique, but most first appointments are just another appointment that unlocks the potential of options. It can last under one hour of the hour and a half. It can involve some fertility tests, or if you feel uncomfortable undergoing testing, you can ask your fertility consultant to postpone it and take some time to rethink everything you have discussed. It is your first step, and only you are taking back control of your fertility journey.



The Gist: 

●                    Introducing the Inside: Feeling Anxious Before an Upcoming IVF Consultation? — It’s Ok.

●                    The First Person You Will Meet at IVF Clinic Will Be Not Your Fertility Consultant.

●                    What Do You Need to Bring for the First Session at Fertility Clinic? 

●                    Preparing for Your First IVF Appointment

●                    Meeting Your Fertility Consultant

●                    Questions to Ask at the First IVF Appointment

●                    What to Expect at First IVF Consultation? 

●                    Follow–Up Fertility Testing: What to Expect? 

●                    Why Meeting with an IVF Nurse Again? 

●                    Wrapping Things Up



Introducing the Inside: Feeling Anxious Before an Upcoming IVF Consultation? And it is Okay.

The closer the date of the most anticipated and long–awaited appointment comes, the more tense and anxious you can feel. Tossing and turning in your bed in the morning with the “how would be my first session?” question wandering in your mind on the day of your first IVF appointment — is okay. Having a sleepless night and understanding that you have an IVF appointment booked for 10.00 am, you won’t fall asleep even for two hours before your alarm goes on — is also okay. And it is okay to have a bit of anxiety about the upcoming appointment and what that first visit will entail while counting the last minutes left before meeting with your fertility consultant while sitting in the clinic’s hall and exploring its blurred interior. Understanding that you will be invited to the consultant’s room just in two minutes, you can feel on edge and overwhelm with emotion, and it is also okay. But in most cases, your first visit will differ from the scenario you have imagined, and the first person you will meet will not be your Fertility Consultant.


While all clinics do vary in their process, there are some things you can expect when you go in for your initial fertility consultation. And knowing “what to be ready for” may alleviate your anxiety, make you feel less overwhelmed with emotion and think logically instead of worrying, or at least help you feel more prepared for the first visit. 


Here is what to expect at a fertility clinic, including the primary focus of that most eagerly anticipated first appointment. 



In Most Cases, the First Person You Will Meet at IVF Clinic Will Be Not Your Fertility Consultant

The first session will be a meeting with the IVF nurse, mostly always running beautifully on time. No matter how many online forms you have already completed and added your digital signature, there are always more to fill out and sign in the clinic. It is a never-ending pile of papers for ticking boxes and signatures. Once all the forms are completed and signed away, and your ID or your passport is taken for making a copy to check that you are who you say you are and not someone else, the nurse will enclose a copy of your ID with your application and papers and take you to see the Fertility Consultant.



What Do You Need to Bring for the First Session at Fertility Clinic?

While you are on a call with the clinic’s receptionist booking a consultation, ask what you need for the first session. Most likely, you will be asked to bring the following:

A valid government–issued identification document (ID card abbr. for Identity Card; passport or driving license)

Passport photos (they will be attached to your papers)

NHS number (a unique identifier for a patient; if you have it) 

Insurance Card

A copy of your health (medical) records 

Copies of all tests results that may have been done at a private clinic or at a hospital

If you are taking any medications, supplements, vitamins, or herbs, note them down, as these notes are also essential

Marriage Certificate (if you are married)


And if you are setting an appointment for yourself and your partner, you will need to bring your partner’s identification documents, medical records, and copies of all test results that may have been done. 



Preparing for Your First IVF Appointment

Think you are prepared for your first session? Think deeper. Preparing for your first session might not be so easy. But following these six tips will make prepping more structured and less stressful. 


Investigate your family history for medical and genetic disorders.

Your fertility consultant will also have a discussion about your family history, including specific genetic disorders that can be transmitted to the baby. A family history can help determine whether someone in your or your partner’s family is a carrier of a genetic disorder or has an increased genetic risk of having or developing certain diseases, disorders, or conditions.


Get a copy of your health records.

Having a copy of your records is essential when you start an IVF treatment. Your health records include vital information like any conditions or allergies you have and any medication you are taking, and a list of all current medications and/or medical conditions, too. It can help your fertility consultant keep track of your health information before IVF, throughout IVF, and beyond. 


Make the notes on your fertility history.

Your fertility consultant will have many questions for you. Be ready to disclose as much information as you can, especially when it comes to things like your menstrual cycles and any symptoms you noticed, what medication you are currently on, how long you have stopped birth control, and how long you’ve been trying to conceive. Make notes on your fertility history not to forget the essential details while answering questions.


Write down all questions you have.

While questions are hustling in your mind, transform them into words. Take notes on what you are wondering about and would like to have answers. Even if you cannot shape the question correctly, add the keynotes to it. Keeping a list of questions you want to ask your fertility consultant is helpful in covering everything you want to know.


Check your insurance information.

Call your insurance company to find out does your health insurance plan cover fertility treatments if the clinic you’re scheduled to visit is a clinic they work with, how many cycles of infertility treatment will be covered, and what limitations they include within the coverage. Some insurance plans may cover in vitro fertilization (IVF) but don’t cover the accompanying injections. Other plans cover both. Some plans cover limited attempts at certain treatments like IUI, IVF, vitrification and storage of the oocytes and embryos, Genetic Testing IVF, or FET. Some plans cover only the retrieval and fertilization of your eggs. And some plans do not cover IVF at all.


Bring a notebook to take notes.

At your first appointment, you will meet with your Personal Assistant/Case Manager, your dedicated Fertility Consultant, and your IVF Nurse, a Financial Counselor, who will all be presenting you with a lot of information. Bring a notebook and take notes throughout your first visit to help you remember all of the general, medical, financial, and contact information. Having this information at hand can make it easier for you to discuss and digest the roadmap of your appointment and further steps.



Meeting Your Fertility Consultant

Meeting your Fertility Consultant for the first time might be challenging, especially if you are not prepared for it. You can be curious, flexible, results–oriented, and a dedicated problem solver, but the ability to think “out of the box” will disappear the same moment you enter the consultant’s office. Like all appointments, this appointment will be unintentionally overwhelming. And unlike all appointments, it will be emotionally overwhelming. Dozens of intelligent questions will bustle through your mind before the consultation, but when you are in the room, your blank mind results in you staring, smiling, isolating just a few questions, and forgetting about 80% of what you were going to ask. So before coming to your first session, prepare a list of questions. While isolating questions and taking the keynotes on what you would like to know, you’ll create a seamless structure for the upcoming session without missing the essential details, and it will let you converse freely and comfortably with your fertility specialist.



Questions to Ask at First IVF Appointment

Making the Blueprint of questions to ask at the first appointment or keynoting things you cannot transform into questions will help you to understand deeper the IVF process and its timeline, the steps to take, when to consider alternative options or backups, and what to expect from the next stage. You may have loads of your questions, but if you are not sure where to start, take a look at 69 Questions to Ask Your Fertility Consultant at Your First Visit below and adapt them to your situation.



Organizational Questions: 

●                    Do you have weekend or evening consultations available?

●                    If I call or send an email after–hours, will I get an answer from an IVF nurse?

●                    Are there any early closures or holiday closures for this month? 

●                    May I know about upcoming holiday hours? 

●                    Will you monitor my IVF cycle during the holiday season? 

●                    Does your lab operate on the weekends and holidays?

●                    Could I check the laboratory holiday schedule right now? 

●                    Do you have emergency consultations? 

●                    Can I call you after–hours if something goes wrong? 

●                    If I need to book, cancel or change an appointment, who should I contact? 

●                I’m working as Salesforce Business Analyst, and at least one week out of every month, I travel to lead negotiations with key partners worldwide. Next month I’ll be traveling to the Emirates. Could I be referred to any trustworthy Emirati clinic for routine monitoring of ultrasound scans and tests?

●                   Will their staff interpret the results of the tests done, or the results won’t be interpreted but will be sent to me? May I forward the results to your email, or should I contact the IVF nurse? 

●                    May I have a copy of my treatment plan and medication protocol, including prescription, so I can have my routine monitoring done or get a medication refilled after arrival at my destination?


Questions on testing & IVF:

●                    What IVF programs do you have? 

●                    Do you have pregnancy guarantee programs?

●                    Are consultations, tests, lab work, and medications included in the cost of treatment?

●                    Can I know each treatment’s success rates?

●                   Long vs. Short IVF protocol: what is the difference, and which will be adapted to my case? 

●                    What is the cost of medications?

●                    How long does it take to start an IVF treatment?

●                    How long does it take to complete pre–cycle tests?

●                    Does my infertility workup need to be completed before starting a treatment cycle, or can some tests be done this week, and the cycle can be started in a month?

●                    What is my first step in the fertility workup process?

●                    What types of testing do you recommend in my case? 

●                    Will there be invasive testing?

●                Is it possible to eliminate some invasive tests or undergo an alternative test with minimal invasion?

●                    How much time should I attend the lab for the bloodwork? 

●                    How long does it take to get blood test results?

●                    May I have an Ovarian Reserve Genetic Test?

●                    Should my partner undergo a Male Genetic Test? 

●                    Do you have Drug Compatibility Testing? 

●                    Do you have a Medication Response Genetic Test?

●                    Which drug protocol may you ecommend in my case? 

●                    What are the most common possible side effects of IVF medication? 

●                    What potential risks may be involved during ovarian stimulation? 

●                    Will I have a session with the IVF nurse on how to administrate the medication? 

●                    How do I contact the IVF nursing staff?

●                    Can the IVF nurse administrate the medication?

●                    Do you have DuoStim protocol in case of poor ovarian response? 

●                    If I have a low ovarian reserve, is it possible to retrieve more oocytes by powering up the Double stimulation?

●                    How many egg retrieval sessions will I have in the case of the DuoStim protocol? What is the timeline for each egg retrieval?

●                    What oocyte maturation protocol will work in my case: single or dual trigger? 

●                    What fertilization technique would be the most effective in my situation? 

●                    Are there any risks of fertilization failure in my case? 

●                    Should I consider Preimplantation Genetic Testing? 

●                    Are there add–on services you suggest in my case?

●                    Do you have a Time–lapse technology (TTL)? 

●                    May embryonic arrest happen during in vitro development in my case?

●                    Which embryo transfer would work better in my situation: fresh or delayed frozen? 

●                    Do you perform Day 3 or Day 5 Embryo Transfer?

●                    Do you perform a mock transfer? 

●                    Do I need to undergo endometrial receptivity analysis (ERA) before embryo transfer?

●                    What are the potential reasons to cancel embryo transfer? And what will be next? 

●                    How many embryos should be transferred? 

●                    May I vitrify the embryos left after the embryo transfer? 

●                    Do you have a cryotransfer back–up if the fresh embryo transfer fails? 


Questions on cycle cancellation and back–up options: 

●                    In what cases my IVF cycle can be canceled? 

●                    What are the cycle cancellation timeline and fees? 

●                    What is next for a canceled IVF cycle? 

●                    When to consider Egg Donor Back–Up?

●                    How does Egg Donor IVF work? 

●                    May I have a Tandem IVF cycle, and how does it work?

●                    Fresh vs. Frozen Egg Donation: what is better in my case? 


Questions on financing: 

●                    Could I have a detailed list of procedures and costs?

●                    Does my Health Insurance cover any of the consultations, testing, or medications?

●                    What payment plans do you have? 

●                    What are the payment options?

●                    Is it possible to pay in installments? 

●                    How does the billing work?



What to Expect at First IVF Consultation? 

While you might be nervous about your upcoming first visit, there is a lot to be excited about it too. You may expect many things, including scaring and intimidating ones, but it will be simply a consultation, with nothing directly happening as a result other than further appointments being scheduled, and you will be spending the remainder of the day in an overwhelmed fit of emotions and questions. You wait for so long, counting down the days until this Event that you anticipate marking the start of the IVF journey. But on leaving the clinic, you will realize that it is just another appointment (but valuable) and that there is more waiting still to come. And although this is just another appointment as you may think, it will allow you to explore your options and back–up options, how IVF works, what to expect from the IVF process & timeline, the key insights of the process, medications, Egg Donor Back–Up, fertilization, Preimplantation Genetic Testing benefits & risks, embryo grading, mock transfer, vitrification of the embryos, FET, and much more.


It is worth noting that the first consultation can be only a discussion of options without clinical evaluation and may involve clinical evaluation. If your initial consulting doesn’t involve fertility tests, it will last between 30 minutes and 1 hour. And if an IVF appointment also includes testing, expect to spend between 1 and 2 hours at the IVF clinic.


For appointments that include consultation and clinical evaluation, the first part is routinely a general consultation, starting with a discussion. The discussion during an initial consultation can vary according to personal circumstances and health issues. But basically, most of the first sessions cover the following:


Your medical history and your family history

Pre–cycle tests that should be done 

Treatment options & back–ups

Drugs protocol & fertility treatment medication

The key risks for your case

Likely success rates for your case



The next part of the first appointment is a clinical evaluation. This usually includes a pelvic exam and an ultrasound scan, which provides your fertility consultant with extensive information regarding the health of your ovaries and uterus. Blood work, a urine sample, and x–rays may also be requested. And if your partner comes with you, blood work and semen sample tests may be requested too.


Finally, your fertility consultant will discuss possible options, although the treatment protocol may not be finalized until a future visit, as your lab work data will give some insight into tailoring the IVF program for your case. In either case, coming to the follow–up consultation will give you an opportunity to talk about fertility treatment options concerning your situation and will shape you some key insights into what might come next.



Follow–Up Fertility Testing: What to Expect? 

Before the time of your appointment runs to the end, your fertility consultant will schedule fertility tests that should be done before starting an IVF. Each patient is unique, so the same diagnostic testing protocol is also tailored to each case. After carrying out an extensive evaluation and taking into account your personal needs, your fertility consultant will generate a unique diagnostic testing protocol for your situation. 



Female Infertility Testing

To understand the cause of infertility, you will need to share a full medical history and undergo noninvasive and slightly invasive testing. Tests to determine Female Factor Infertility include:

Pelvic ultrasound scan

Tubal patency test

Hysterosalpingography (HSG) 

Vaginal microbiome

An endometrial biopsy

Anti–Müllerian hormone testing

Hormone testing (blood tests)

Viral testing (blood tests)

Luteal phase dysfunction workup 

Ovarian reserve testing

Ovulation testing 



Female Genetic Testing: 


A genetic test of ovarian reserve

Genetic profiling in case of implantation failure or recurrent miscarriages

POF: Ovarian failure genetic analysis 

A genetic compatibility test

Fragile X



Male Infertility Testing

To determine the cause of infertility, you will need to disclose your medical history and undergo noninvasive testing. Tests to determine Male Factor Infertility include:

Semen analysis

Sperm capacitation

Hormone testing (blood tests)

Viral testing (blood tests)

Urine Tests (after ejaculation) 



Male Genetic Testing: 


FISH Analysis of spermatozoa

Cystic fibrosis

Y chromosome microdeletions

A genetic compatibility test

TUNEL (DNA fragmentation assay)

Male fertility genetic test



Why Meeting with an IVF Nurse Again? 

It may sound like a Déjà vu, but you will have one more meeting with an IVF nurse before leaving the IVF clinic. Following the meeting with your consultant, you will have a further meeting with the nurse who will book you in for the “Preparing and administering the medication” appointment. You will be given a Guide to the IVF Process & Timeline, some brochures and leaflets on what long and short protocol means, fertility treatment medication, what embryo biopsy involves, and more IVF–related topics, and sent on your way.



Wrapping Things Up

After contacting an IVF clinic for a virtual or in–person consultation, you will power up the countdown for this event. You will be trying to guess “why you cannot get pregnant,” “what is wrong with you,” “when your IVF cycle will be started,” and “how to prepare for an upcoming meeting with your fertility consultant.” Sometimes you will be anxious about the IVF journey — tests, needles, blood draws, bruises, injectable hormones, egg retrieval, fertilization, viable and non–viable embryos, mock transfer, transfer, pregnancy test, and (take a deep breath), ultrasound scan that shows that you will have an IVF bump. And from time to time, you will concentrate not on how hard it is to start an IVF journey but on having those 10 little fingers, 10 little toes in your hands. And the first step towards the creation of your Miracle is an IVF appointment.


The initial IVF consultation seems like the start of the IVF process, and it is the appointment that you will be eagerly counting down the days until. But this isn’t actual. It is the first step on your road to IVF. And starting the IVF cycle may take longer than you expected — a couple of weeks or even months. Just prepare yourself for this. And take the initial consultation for what it is. It is the important first step towards IVF, but ultimately, it is just a meeting with your fertility consultant and an IVF nurse. No more and no less. But IVF is on its way.

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