WHO THIS POST IS FOR:
- Couples who want to seek treatment for infertility.
- Couples who know they will struggle to get pregnant due to illness
- LGBTQ couples who are beginning to family plan.
- Women who interested in becoming pregnant.
Picking a gyno can be an overwhelming process, finding a fertility doctor can be downright exhausting. If you have only done IUIs or haven’t even started the process yet, my best piece of advice is go into this search with a defined set of qualities you want. Their success rates are important but its equally important to feel comfortable with the entire staff, their process, and your doctor.
THIS IS NOT A GYNO VISIT. During each cycle you are going to be at your doctor’s office between 3-5 times a week (depends on their protocol). I read on another blog, infertility is a full time job, and thats a fairly accurate description. Because this will take up a large part of your life, it is incredibly important you are comfortable asking your doctor questions and feel like you have a strong support system.
UTILIZE RELIABLE RESOURCES
Center for Disease Control
Since infertility is not super uncommon (despite all the hush hush) there are awesome resources out there that can be incredibly helpful. The Center for Disease Control did a big ol’ study entitled Assisted Reproductive Technology Report. Surprisingly, this report is fairly easy to navigate. You can select the state in which you are seeking treatment, find your potential infertility clinic and read all about their success and failures. Dig into your search by click here.
Resolve- National Infertility Association is also a fabulous resource. They can help you sort through what’s important to know and help you find support groups (a future post). They have a professional services resource page that can be quite helpful.
ASK YOUR FRIENDS/COMMUNITY
Remember, you are not alone. You may not know who in your circle has gone to a fertility doctor but its a great conversation to start having. Ask your circle of trust if they know of anyone who has gone through fertility treatments and have them connect you to their friends. Find out who they went to, what their experience was (the good, the bad, the in-between), and use this information to help you steer your search towards a decision.
QUESTIONS TO ASK THE DOCTOR TO DETERMINE IF THEY ARE THE RIGHT FIT:
- How does staff communicate your results each day? You want an easy system that is reliable. You are going to get a lot of information each day. The less you have to manage the better, you want this to be as seamless as possible.
- How do you contact staff after hours? You will want this information in the case you have a question about your meds, you are having bad side effects, you have a question about your upcoming procedure, etc..
- What is their philosophy to infertility? What I mean by this is, find out what what drives the doctor to make decisions. My current doctor is AMAZING. In one of our long conversations he said, “My job isn’t to get you pregnant, my job is to get you a healthy baby.” His underlying philosophy helps guide the medications he uses, number of embryos he transplants, and opportunities he presents us.
My first doctor was super caring and asked a lot of personal questions. I felt acknowledged by her. While her bedside manner felt good, bedside manner wont get you pregnant. I felt like she would cushion information to protect my feelings. She would tell me what I wanted to hear from time-to-time rather than what I needed to hear.
My current doctor is caring and straight forward. He may not ask personal questions and know everything about my personal life, but he does give me information without beating around the bush. He uses stats to help us guide decisions and is always thinking two steps ahead. Personally I find this comforting because I know that if things don’t work out, we will have a strategic plan in place that suits us.
- How do you contact your doctor if you have a question? A doctor who is available is the best kind of doctor. You may have questions that creep up in the middle of the night and having access to your doctor is so important.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO SWITCH DOCTORS ALONG THE WAY
I speak from experience when I say, switching doctors is scary. It’s terrifying for a number of reasons.
- When you are drugged up and in the midst of things, having to find a new doctor is incredibly overwhelming.
- Starting over is hard. You develop a rhythm going to your doctor each day and the thought of having to reestablish your groove can seem daunting.
- Lastly, I felt like I was betraying my doctor. I was scared to hurt her feelings.
Despite all of these reasons it’s important to remember your end goal: get pregnant. As a friend told me, a second opinion never hurts. Knowledge is power, remember this when you are doubting your decision.
YOU HAVE YOUR DOCTOR, GO FORTH!
Once you select a doctor the questions you have to ask are going to be personal to your situation. The most important thing is, ask whatever you want. Don’t hold back, no question is a stupid question. Also, if something doesn’t feel right or sound right, don’t be afraid to push back. You know your body and you are the best advocate you have.