Stepping into a reproductive endocrinologist’s (RE) office can feel overwhelming. After all, the road to an RE’s office is often emotional.
But when your biological clock is ticking fast, a reproductive endocrinologist is just the right doctor to see. Make the most of your visit. We have compiled a few questions to ask your RE at your first visit. We’ve compiled many more questions in a separate article that you can find here.
What are your qualifications?
Ask potential REs about his or her medical background, including training, accreditations, and experience. Most reproductive endocrinologist have undergone seven years of formal specialty and subspecialty training after medical school and are experts at treating reproductive disorders.
Your RE may be a member of the Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, as well as certified by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Your Reproductive Endocrinologist may have a specialty in Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as a sub specialty in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility.
What are my chances of getting pregnant?
Each case of infertility is unique and certain risk factors can make you more or less likely to conceive using fertility treatment. Talk openly about your personal risk factors with your doctor. Together, review your personal and medical history so you get a clearer idea of the chances of conceiving and having a baby.
Be honest about your medical and sexual history, because it may offer insight into the cause of infertility. Having irregular periods, painful periods, or a history of recurrent miscarriage can also negatively affect your chances of success with fertility treatment.
What types of fertility testing will I undergo?
There are a number of fertility tests for women while men usually start with a semen analysis. The doctor will evaluate both you your partner to pinpoint infertility issues. You will both undergo in-depth physical exams and lab work to check for underlying diseases, genetic conditions or infections.
While the reproductive endocrinologist may check your blood for abnormal hormone levels, your male partner will have a semen analysis (SE). The semen analysis is done to see if there are problems with sperm count, shape and movement.
What types of fertility treatments do you use first?
The type of fertility treatment your RE chooses to start with depends entirely on the cause of infertility. Most likely your doctor will start with the most minimally invasive and least costly option. For example, if your infertility problems seem primarily linked to hormones, fertility drugs may be the first treatment option.
What types of treatments or procedures are offered?
Some reproductive endocrinologist and fertility clinics may specialize in specific fertility treatments such as intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF). Others may choose not to perform certain treatments.
As an example, your doctor may perform various surgeries such as tubal reversal, vasectomy reversal, as well as some assisted reproductive technologies (ART), including IVF, IUI, gamete intrafallopian transfer, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or zygote intrafallopian transfer.
What is your success rate with IVF?
Most fertility clinics report their IVF success rates to the Society for Assisted Reproduction Technology (SART).
However, clinics have different ways of measuring success. You should ask the reproductive endocrinologist about the live delivery rate of a woman (or couple) with a similar diagnosis, age and treatment plan. This will give you a clearer idea of what you might expect with the fertility treatment and the chances of having a baby.
What are side effects of fertility treatments?
It’s important to talk openly with about what to expect, including the side effects you should expect from the fertility treatment.
Side effects may depend on the type of fertility treatment you undergo. Any time you take hormones, you run the risk of mood swings, hot flashes, depression, and ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome. Infertility treatment may increase your chance of having multiples. Your reproductive endocrinologist will carefully monitor you and may even cancel a cycle or convert your IUI to IVF.
How much will fertility treatment cost?
The reproductive endocrinologist should inform you about the actual cost of the treatment plan. Your health insurance may pay for part of the infertility treatment. If not, many fertility clinics have payment discounts, coupons, and package deals – to help make infertility treatment affordable for couples who want to have children.
Making the decision to see a fertility specialist is overwhelming. But you need to see this time as one of hope.
If you are unable to get pregnant naturally, a reproductive endocrinologist can give you the latest low-tech and high-tech treatments that allow you to achieve your dream of getting pregnant and having a baby.
- RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association: When to See a Specialist for Infertility.
- RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association: Infertility Diagnosis.
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Medications for Inducing Ovulation: A Guide for Patients
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine: Third Party Reproduction (Sperm, Egg, and embryo donation and surrogacy): A Guide for Patients.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Report: National Summary. 2007
- MayoClinic: Infertility: Risk Factors.