8 vital questions to ask your fertility doctor about infertility treatments. You may not know it all. Therefore, as couples seeking infertility treatments and hoping for a successful pregnancy, we advise you visit your doctor.
The purpose of this visit is to ask vital questions in regards to infertility and its treatments. It is necessary and of utmost importance to have the basic knowledge on infertility treatments so every appointment with your doctor as well as the outcome of the infertility process will be worth it.
We have compiled important questions meant for your fertility specialist. He/she will give appropriate answers to each question based on the nature of your problem.
What is the first and foremost treatment required for infertility?
Being diagnosed with infertility is a daunting experience for most couples. It is more like the beginner phase and you are most likely new to everything. Finding out what the first treatment will be is necessary.
Medical processes or interventions can make conceiving easy even though you have been diagnosed with infertility. So, with any of these interventions, you can stay pregnant and conceive successfully, depending on the nature of your infertility problem.
Usually, the first treatment for infertility are medications. These medications are prescribed by your fertility specialist to rev your chances of carrying a baby and delivering successfully.
For instance, most medications can help your ovaries release more eggs and prepare your womb to house a baby.
Medications can be available as hormone replacements, such as progesterone, to boost ovulation or help treat erectile dysfunction in men.
Your fertility specialist could also prescribe these medications to reduce your risks of miscarriages so you can stay pregnant once you actually become pregnant.
Also, your doctor may recommend certain lifestyle changes as a plus to the prescribed medications. These lifestyle changes include avoiding exposure to certain toxins and chemicals, taking alcohol in moderation, avoiding caffeine and smoking, and most importantly, eating a balanced, nutritious and healthy diet.
What effects does health have on fertility before conception?
One of the reasons for infertility is age. As time goes on, fertility can drastically reduce as you age. But, some health conditions can negatively impact fertility as you get older.
For instance, diabetes, high blood pressure and thyroid conditions can affect fertility. Infections, especially sexually transmitted, cancer, certain medications and poor nutrition can affect the male and female reproductive system making it harder to conceive.
Plus, taking alcohol and smoking regularly can interfere with fertility and reduce your chances of getting or staying pregnant.
Before conception, you and your partner should be in good health condition as it can help boost the chances of a successful pregnancy. Besides, healthy parents give birth to healthy babies. So, your health directly affects that of the baby.
What your fertility specialist will do is to ensure that you are in the perfect health condition and if you are not, he/she will make specific recommendations so you can be in perfect health during your medical examination.
Treatments for male and female infertility
Most of the treatments for male and female infertility are similar but sometimes, they are different.
Both genders tend to feel like the females are the cause of infertility, a thorough medical examination and evaluation on both partners can be done. A fertility specialist can check whether male or female infertility or both male and female infertility is responsible for failed pregnancy.
In men, low sperm count, delay or inability to maintain an erection during sexual intercourse can cause infertility. Most times, medications can help treat such erection dysfunction. Poor quality of sperm or low sperm count doesn’t necessarily mean pregnancy cannot occur, the only problem is, getting pregnant may take a while or be difficult.
In women, ovulation issues like PCOS are the main causes of infertility. The best part is there are plenty of options that can aid and boost ovulation.
Some women actually need to boost ovulation regularly for pregnancy to occur. Your fertility specialist may also prescribe hormone medications, like estrogen and progesterone, mostly high doses to help stimulate ovulation.
Other medications may be available in the form of injections. And this process is called ovarian hyper stimulation (COH).
Plus, infertility may also be treated with in-vitro fertilization (IVF). An IVF involves fertilizing egg with sperm outside the body. An IVF results in a biological baby. After the fertilization, the eggs are either frozen or transferred to the uterus(womb) during ovulation.
IVF is usually a go-to for most couples when other fertility options fail, the only issue is it is expensive.
Well, an alternative to IVF is called INVOCELL (IVC). It is newer, cheaper and effective. The main difference between an IVF and an IVC is in an IVC, the vagina serves as an incubator for the blastocyst – the baby. And the blastocyst stays there for 5days before being harvested and transferred to the uterus. The IVC also involves the use of less fertility medications than an IVF, so you do not have to worry about spending so much.
How does assisted reproductive technology operate?
Asides from medications, the in-vitro fertilization (IVF) and INVOCELL (IVC), there are still other fertility treatment options that couples do not think of.
Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is a general name for fertility treatments involving more advanced medical procedures and techniques. One of this medical procedure is the IVF.
Other medical procedures include intrauterine insemination (IUI) involving the injection of sperm directly into the uterus so that eggs can be fertilized.
Another great option is the third party-assisted ART. Here, couples may decide to have an egg, embryo or sperm donated to them. The decision of having any of these donated to you might be an emotional process, and your fertility specialist can guide you on the merits and demerits of taking this potential step.
The main difference between the assisted reproductive technology (ART) and controlled ovarian hyperstimulation (COH) is that with ART, conception needs to be done in a laboratory while with COH, conception could be done in the body without having to make a trip to the doctor’s office.
When is surgery necessary for fertility treatments?
Sometimes, surgery is not always necessary unless there is something wrong with your reproductive organs. Your doctor may recommend surgery if any of your reproductive organs stop you from getting pregnant and needs a fix.
Surgery is used to repair fallopian tubes that are torn and blocked so that eggs necessary for fertilization can be released and successfully fertilized.
Surgeries for women may also help in the treatment of polyps, uterine fibroids, reproductive tract scars and endometriosis.
In men, surgeries are done to repair varicose veins known as varicoceles. Varicoceles are in the testicles and can be a reason for infertility in some men although some men with this condition do not have infertility issues.
Also, surgeries are done in men to aid the opening of tubes that transport and delivers sperm to the penis.
Are there risks to the baby and parent?
Thanks to advanced technologies, there is little or no risk posed to the parent and baby during and after any medical procedure. Fertility treatments are now regarded as safe for the parents and the baby, unlike before.
Surgery may cause infection and fallopian surgery in women can increase the risk for ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is a serious condition that involves the growth of an egg and subsequent fetus outside the womb, and a fallopian surgery could cause that.
It is important and safe to ask your doctor about the potential risk of starting a particular fertility treatment. If there are risks you are comfortable with, you could on with your treatment but in cases where you are uncomfortable, your doctor may recommend suitable alternatives if available.
What are the chances of having multiple babies?
There are cases of multiple babies being produced through assisted reproductive technology (ART) treatments although there is a low chance for the occurrence of multiple babies.
Doctors can now reduce the conception of multiple babies by limiting the number of embryos being transferred to the uterus or womb at once.
How long does fertility treatments take to work?
Most couples see results during the first month of trial with medical assistance while others keep trying for years.
Your doctor will help you choose the best treatment by accessing your medical information and history and check for any reproductive issue in both you and your partner.
Your doctor may decide to try COH before ART. It all depends on the results from your doctor’s investigations.
Other questions to ask your doctor include:
- What is the cause of my infertility?
- What are the success rates measured by live births for fertility treatment? How often does the treatment result in a successful pregnancy?
- Before trying another fertility option, how many cycles of treatment are recommended? Can a skipped menstrual cycle be alternated between treatment cycles?
- Do you recommend the use of donated eggs or sperm for my fertility treatment? If yes, can your clinic assist me with such an option?
- After all medical information and physical examination, tests and diagnosis, do you think a fertility treatment is going to be successful for me?
- If you are on any birth control method, ask your doctor when its best for you to stop.
- Can I take supplements, vitamins or get vaccinated?
- When is the best time to get an infertility treatment? Now or later? (your doctor will be aware of the proper time for your treatment after taking your medical history and carrying out medical tests and physical evaluation).
- How long will it take to get my tests and evaluation completed so I can start treatment?
- Can I and my partner start treatment at the same time?
- Can you briefly note what my fertility treatment is all about, side effects/risks and the outcome?
Going to a fertility clinic is stressful and exhausting- not knowing what sort of information to expect plus high hopes of getting pregnant.
By asking your fertility specialist the right questions, you can boost your chance for a successful and healthy pregnancy.
The questions compiled in this article can be a roadmap to guide you through the path of infertility. We advise you also compile a list of these questions prior to your appointment with your doctor to avoid missing out on any vital information.