Top 10 Questions to Ask Your IVF Doctor During Your First Visit

Starting a fertility treatment is a big step to take in your journey towards parenthood. It is important to be well aware of all the steps that are going to be a part of your treatment.

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During your initial IVF consultation, your doctor will go through your medical history, do a physical examination, and begin developing a personalized treatment plan. This visit provides an opportunity to clarify any confusion or concerns about the IVF process.

Many people say that their reproductive journeys vary significantly depending on the facility and doctor. As a result, before beginning your IVF cycle, you should always consult with your IVF specialist and ask any questions you may have. This allows you to learn about different approaches for treating your fertility issues and determine which one is best for you.

A list of questions you can ask to prepare for your IVF journey

1. What are the causes of infertility and the best fertility treatments for them?

Infertility can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Ovulation-related infertility
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Primary ovarian insufficiency (POI)
  • Thyroid illness
  • The quantity and quality of eggs
  • The quality and quantity of sperm
  • Age and tubal-related concerns

When deciding on the ideal method or procedure to help you achieve higher chances of success, the first step is to understand how each treatment helps and with what:

Intrauterine insemination (IUI) is a treatment in which sperm is put into the uterus to bring healthy sperm closer to the egg, increasing the likelihood of successful fertilization. It is a treatment usually applied for male factor infertility when the sperm is not able to swim fast and reach the egg on its own. IUI requires functional fallopian tubes for the sperm to pass.

Depending on each physician’s recommendation and the unique case, after 3-5 failed IUI cycles, your IVF physician will recommend the next method: IVF (In vitro fertilization).

Patients undergoing IVF treatment will take fertility medications to stimulate their ovaries. Several follicles will form as a result, and once they mature, the eggs will be extracted and fertilized with sperm, into embryos, in a lab. The resultant embryo(s) are subsequently transported to the uterus.

You and your IVF specialist will decide if IUI or IVF is best for you.

2. What is the IVF success rate by age?

There is no age limit for individuals seeking IVF treatment. However, it is critical to speak with your doctor first to discuss your specific case and treatment strategy.

In the IVF procedure, success rates decline with age as the danger of pregnancy difficulties increases. Most patients above 40 need to use donor eggs as the quality of their own eggs declines. Each patient is required to undergo individual examination and consider a variety of factors when determining the chances of success.

3. What tests should be performed before beginning IVF treatment?

It is critical to understand what tests your doctor requires and what medications will be prescribed to you during the IVF treatment process. Fertility Doctors often request blood tests to assess female patients’ ovarian reserve and detect any unusual patterns. Male patients will also have blood testing, and a semen analysis, which is often needed before starting IVF treatment. The pre-cycle tests can be performed at any reputed fertility clinic.

4. Are there any lifestyle changes or medications required before starting IVF?

To increase your chances of IVF success, your doctor may advise you to adjust your diet, exercise, or utilize medications. Large amounts of veggies, fruit, and high-quality whole grains are all excellent sources of nourishment. All fresh, nutritious foods, and healthy fats, which are essential for proper nutrition, are beneficial to fertility.

5. How long does the IVF process take from beginning to end?

The step-by-step process of IVF starts with the normal egg retrieval stimulation cycle which lasts for 10-14 days. The number of days might vary depending on how the patient’s body responds to the medications. This timeframe begins when the patient starts taking ovarian stimulation medication and ends with the egg retrieval.

After embryos are fertilized and biopsied, it takes approximately two weeks to acquire the genetic testing results. Once we have the embryos’ results, you will be able to prepare for an embryo transfer cycle. A FET (Frozen embryo transfer) cycle might vary depending on a number of factors.

Typically, embryo transfer occurs between days 19 and 21 of the patient’s menstrual cycle. This is followed by a pregnancy blood test around 10 days after implantation. The pregnancy is monitored throughout the 10-week OB ultrasound.

6. Is a single or multiple embryo transfer suggested for better results?

In the past, IVF experts relied on multiple embryo transfers to boost success rates. The notion was that if you implanted more than one embryo, the strongest or best would be more likely to survive.

Today, however, the approach is very different. With today’s technology and pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT-A), a doctor will strongly recommend a Single IVF Embryo Transfer to lower the possibility of twins, high-risk pregnancies, and miscarriage.

7. What happens to the unused embryos?

Any fertility clinic will not dispose of unused embryos without your consent. You may preserve them for later use with the help of cryopreservation or donate them to other people who need donated embryos for their IVF journey. The embryos can also be contributed for research purposes.

8. Are there any side effects of IVF treatment?

As part of the IVF treatment process, several medications and medical procedures are required, which can cause some negative effects. Injections can be unpleasant, and fertility medicines might induce mood swings, abdominal pain, and slight bloating throughout the procedure. Ovarian hyper-stimulation syndrome (OHSS) may occur in a tiny percentage of instances; normally, the symptoms will resolve within 5-10 days; however, in some severe cases, particular surgeries may be required to control the OHSS. If you have any symptoms or discomfort, the medical staff in fertility clinics are always available to assist and provide solutions.

9. How much does IVF treatment cost?

Infertility treatments can be costly. It is critical that your clinic provides the best at the most reasonable cost during your treatment. Your clinic must also keep all the costs transparent to you. Your IVF fees may include:

  • Pre-cycle lab work
  • Fertility medicines
  • IVF Cycle Fees
  • Excluding lab fees 
  • Shipping costs

The financial department staff of your fertility clinic will present options for several cycles and explain all costs.

10. What are the financial benefits provided at your clinic?

IVF can be expensive, therefore it’s critical to understand the costs and any available financial support. While most health insurance plans do not cover IVF, your fertility clinic may be able to provide you with EMI options. A reputed fertility clinic often offers no-cost EMI options making your treatment journey convenient in terms of finances. Also, make sure to ask your clinic about any offers or discounts that they may be offering to get the best deals on your treatment.

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