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First Visit With a Fertility Doctor

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a blog by Dr. Mark Payson, Dominion Fertility, August 4, 2014

Trying to have children is by its very nature an emotional process. Human fertility is far from perfect and many couples struggle to a greater or lesser degree to have a family. Making the decision to seek help can be hard, because it is an acknowledgment that there is a problem. However almost all patients feel better and empowered after a visit with a fertility doctor – they are now armed with real information, and have a plan of action.

In many clinics (ours included) your first visit is easy and low stress. We review your medical history and look for any clues that could explain why there has been no pregnancy. There are many aspects to this that include history of any prior pregnancy, illness, family history, medications, the list goes on. About half of all fertility problems are related to a male issue, so we also obtain a history from the male partner.

Next we formulate a plan of diagnostic tests. These usually include a panel of blood work that checks hormone levels from the ovary and brain, and some basic health screening tests. There are two imaging studies that are commonly ordered, a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) - it means literally “study of the uterus and tubes”, this test is done in radiology and some dye is put in the uterus and X-rays are taken. This determines the shape of the inside of the uterus and checks to see if the fallopian tubes are damaged or blocked. The second imaging study is an ultrasound that is usually done in the office and provides us with images of the uterus and ovaries.

Once testing is complete (which often takes about a month since certain tests are timed with the menstrual cycle), you visit your doctor again and together with your doctor a plan of treatment can be formulated based on the test results.

During these visits you have an opportunity to explore your concerns and desires for having a family. It is important to be with a practice that is both up to date with technology and has good success, but also will take care of you as an individual. The fertility process often takes time and multiple visits, it is important you find a clinic and physician who will take the time to get to know you and work with your individual concerns.

Fortunately, today in 2014, we have more options for couples and individuals than ever before. All patients that seek help have a range of choices and options to help them towards their goals, it is an exciting time both for doctors and patients, because there is so much we have to offer, and so much possibility for success.

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