Preparing for your appointmentBy Mayo Clinic staff
For an infertility evaluation, you'll most likely see a reproductive endocrinologist — a doctor who specializes in treating disorders that prevent couples from conceiving. Because infertility is a condition that involves both you and your partner, your doctor will likely want to evaluate both of you to identify potential causes — and possible treatments — for your infertility.
Here's some information to help you prepare for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.
What you can do
- Chart your menstrual cycles and associated symptoms for a few months. On a calendar or in a notebook, write down when your period starts and stops. Make note of days when you and your partner have intercourse. This will provide helpful information to your doctor.
- Make a list of any medications, vitamins and other supplements you take. Write down doses and how often you take them.
- Take a notebook or notepad with you. You may be given a lot of information at your visit, and it can be difficult to remember everything. Write down important information during your visit.
- Think about what questions you'll ask. Write them down; list the most important questions first, in case time runs out.
Some basic questions to ask include:
- When and how often should we have intercourse, if we hope to conceive?
- Do you recommend that I undergo any testing? What about my partner?
- Are there any lifestyle changes I can make to improve my chances of getting pregnant?
- Are medications available that might improve my ability to conceive?
- What side effects can I expect from medication use?
- What treatment do you recommend in our situation?
- What exactly might we expect from this process? For instance, how many cycles will we try one approach before moving on to another?
- What's your success rate for assisting couples in achieving pregnancy?
- Do you have any brochures or other printed materials that I can take with me?
- What Web sites do you recommend visiting?
Make sure that you understand everything that your doctor tells you. Don't hesitate to ask your doctor to repeat information or to ask follow-up questions for clarification.
What to expect from your doctor
Some potential questions your doctor or other health care provider might ask include:
- How long have you been trying to become pregnant?
- How often do you have intercourse?
- Have you ever been pregnant? If so, what was the outcome of that pregnancy?
- Have you had any pelvic or abdominal surgeries?
- Have you been treated for any gynecological conditions?
- Were you exposed to diethylstibestrol (DES) in utero?
- At what age did you first start having periods?
- On average, how many days pass between the beginning of one menstrual cycle and the beginning of your next menstrual cycle?
- Do you experience premenstrual symptoms, such as breast tenderness, abdominal bloating or cramping?
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- Kuohung W, et al. Evaluation of female infertility. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed Nov. 18, 2009.
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- Coddington CC (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. December 14, 2009.