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12 Tips That Will Help You Make the Most of Your Appointments With Your Fertility Doctor
A blog by Rhonda Levy, June 12, 2014
It is important that you make the most of your appointments with your fertility doctor. The best way to do that is to actively prepare for them in advance in the same way that you would prepare for a business meeting. The last thing you want is to become so overwhelmed while at the appointment that you forget to ask important questions. Careful preparation will help you manage the process and signal to the physician that you would like to enter into a positive and collaborative partnership.
If you take the following steps, you will be more likely to walk away from your appointments feeling confident, satisfied and in control:
1. Gather all of your fertility related medical records and arrange them in chronological order;
2. Write an effective cover letter to your doctor summarizing your history and highlighting important details about your case;
3. Send the cover letter and a scan of your medical records to the fertility doctor at least one week prior to your appointment. This will give her an opportunity to review them in advance of your appointment;
4. After you have sent the cover letter and scan, contact the doctor's assistant to confirm that the transmittal has been received in its entirety;
5. Develop an "agenda" with topics you wish to cover during the appointment in order of importance;
6. Formulate a list of important questions to ask for each "agenda" item;
7. Bring an extra copy of any online materials you wish to discuss with the doctor so that you can leave a copy with her for review;
8. Demonstrate that you respect your fertility doctor's tight schedule by restricting your questions to those that are reasonably directed to a physician. Reserve all other questions for her assistant, a nurse or other staff member;
9. Take detailed notes of the doctor's statements and her responses to your questions so that you can review and digest them in the privacy of your home;
10. If you do not understand words, medical terms or concepts the doctor uses, be sure to ask for clarification;
11. Ask the doctor how she wants you to communicate with her in between appointments should you have questions that cannot wait; and
12. Do not leave the doctor's office without a clear sense of which mutually agreed upon goals are to be accomplished prior to the next visit and an understanding of what will happen next.
As a fertility patient, it is so important that you become your own best advocate. If you follow these tips, you will be well on your way.