Guest author: Nancy S. Poonia
When you are finally ready to have a baby but your body refuses to cooperate, a fertility doctor seems to be the only one who can help. No one expects to be infertile, and most people feel overwhelmed by emotion when they are first confronted by infertility.
Once you’ve made your peace with the initial diagnosis, there lays the mammoth task of sifting through the vast choices of fertility treatments, doctors, and clinics.
Selecting the right fertility clinic is the single most important step in your IVF journey and after going through all your choices when you have settled on the doctor that you feel comfortable with, it is imperative you discuss in detail your treatment options and what they will entail.
Below are the 5 things you should always discuss with your fertility doctor, before starting any treatment:
1. What kind of treatment will you need?
While IVF is the gold-standard treatment for infertility, it may or may not be the treatment for you. Artificial insemination is a much cheaper alternative, and it is sometimes enough for some patients.
If IVF is recommended, you should ask the doctor if you will need extra stimulation or mild stimulation, or if donor eggs are required in your case.
Infertility has many causes—fibroids, tubal blockage, adhesions, endometriosis, PCOS, etc. so, you must try to understand the diagnosed condition and then discuss with your doctor about all possible treatment options.
2. What are the success rates in cases like yours?
IVF success rates can be misleading and you must not blindly fall for any claims of exceptional success in IVF. While your clinic may be advertising very high success rates in IVF, you should know that it includes a lot of patients who did not have any major infertility issues.
Instead of looking at averages, you’d rather ask the doctor about his patients that were in the same situation as you. Ask about the chances of success in your specific case and set realistic expectations.
3. What will be the cost of the treatment?
The cost of IVF is varies widely and it depends on a lot of factors. You must know about all things that are going to contribute to your final bill. Besides the IVF lab charges, an IVF patient has to bear the cost of stimulation injections, doctor’s fee, embryologist’s fee, investigations, counselling, media and disposables, etc.
If you need any surgical procedures before IUI or IVF, their cost will naturally be added up.
While discussing treatment options with the doctor insist on getting an idea of the total cost and make sure there are no hidden expenses.
IVF financing options are available in some places, and if you need some IVF loans, your doctor will be able to guide you right.
4. How long can you wait?
It is a known fact that our fertility potential declines with age. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, fertility women usually starts to decline around the age of 32, and drops significantly after the age of 37.
While trying to assess their situation and sometimes to arrange funds for expensive infertility treatments, patients wait for months and years before actually starting their treatment, which further reduces their fertility potential due to advanced age.
If you are seeking infertility treatment in your mid-20s, you may have more time than someone who is in their mid-30s. Talk about this with your fertility specialist, and plan your treatment in good time.
5. What are the risks?
While IVF and other fertility treatments are generally safe, there is a small chance of adverse consequences in some patients. For example, if somebody is suffering from PCOS, they may be at risk of ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (OHSS) with the use of fertility drugs. In that case, natural cycle IVF or mild stimulation may be an option, and even then the ovarian stimulation process must be carefully monitored.
Discuss all the risks and potential complications of your fertility treatment with your IVF specialist, so you don’t have any unpleasant surprises later.
Infertility affects almost about 12 percent of women of reproductive age in the US, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). If you are also facing problems in conceiving, don’t wait too long before seeking professional help.
Nancy Poonia has been counselling and helping infertility patients for several years. She regularly writes on the subject and encourages people to adopt healthy habits to enhance their natural fertility. She also works with Infertility Aide, and closely with some of the top fertility specialists, to learn about the latest in the field of ART and bring it to the patients.