is going to a fertility clinic scary?
Given the cultural taboo and negative perception of an infertility diagnosis in our society, it is completely natural to feel scared or intimidated before going to see a fertility specialist for the first time. But infertility is extremely common in the United States — about 9% of men and 11% of women of reproductive age struggle with fertility issues that we know of. These percentages are only increasing year over year. However, fear of an infertility diagnosis, limited access to care, misconceptions about fertility clinics, or other life circumstances can prevent people from getting the fertility help they need.
Due to the nature of fertility, the longer you wait, the more likely it is that you will face fertility complications such as diminished sperm quality or ovarian reserve. But patients should not feel intimidated by the process of embarking on their fertility journey. The process of undergoing fertility treatments can be daunting, stressful, and vulnerable, but fertility clinics are there to provide the support, information, and quality care that you will need every step of the way.
misconceptions about fertility consultations
One major misconception about seeing a fertility specialist is that having a consultation will automatically commit you to lengthy, expensive fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF). In reality, this is not the case at all. The treatment that you or your partner might need is very specific to your medical issues and personal situation, and there is a vast array of treatments available that might work for you.
Not every patient will need IVF — alternative treatment options include oral medications, hormonal injections, minor surgical procedures like unblocking a fallopian tube, and artificial insemination. This spectrum of treatment options provides you with a great deal of flexibility in terms of finances, time commitments, and intensity of treatment, depending on what your medical issues may be. Although the gold standard of care for infertility patients is IVF, because it gives patients the best possible chance at having a baby as soon as possible.
Even if IVF does end up being the best treatment option for you, the process does not have to be intimidating. You will not be pressured or required to immediately commit to IVF, as you will work with your fertility team to plan out your treatment in a way that best fits your lifestyle. You will also have the opportunity to receive financial guidance and loan options, mental and emotional support, as well as educational information about every step of the process.
At the end of the day, the fertility consultation is about building a strong, trusting relationship with your physician, nurse, and other fertility team members that will help and guide you along your fertility journey.
what fertility consultations are actually like
The purpose of your first visit to a fertility clinic is simply to meet with your doctor and the fertility center team, discuss your and your partner’s medical histories, and determine what the next steps will be in your treatment plan, like diagnostic testing. Your doctor can later review the results of these tests, and work with you closely to figure out what issues are preventing you from conceiving, as well as what course of treatment will best suit your needs, budget, and lifestyle.
Making the first step to see a fertility specialist can be the hardest one of all, especially if you don’t know what to expect, but it doesn’t have to be. The fertility consultation will just be a conversation between you, your doctor, and the companions you bring along for your visit. You will discuss your goals for building a family, and you might meet with other specialists, like a genetic counselor, based on your specific needs.
The consultation is also your opportunity to ask any questions you may have about your fertility journey, and voice any concerns or fears that your doctor can assuage. It can help to prepare a list of questions you’d like to ask beforehand, but you can also feel free to discuss them as they arise or call the clinic afterwards with follow-up questions.
Remember that you are in complete control of your fertility treatment plan — if there are any logistical, financial, or personal concerns that come up, feel free to voice them to your physician.
the emotional aspect of starting fertility treatment
Patients may feel hopeful and excited at the prospect of starting their family, anxious over the prospect of an infertility diagnosis, or fearful of the outcome of fertility treatments. Whatever you may be feeling is completely valid. Infertility can be a life-changing event, but the job of your fertility clinic is to meet all of your care needs, help you through any obstacles you may face during your journey, and make the entire process as stress-free as possible. It can be scary having to face your fertility struggles, but know that you are not alone. A large number of patients who do seek out help from a fertility clinic are successfully treated, and end up having a healthy pregnancy and live birth. It should not be scary or intimidating to want to fulfill your dreams of starting a family, and the first step of your journey is just one consultation away.