Eileen Garvin of Susanville, California, became a client of a fertility clinic the way most women do—she was referred there by her ob/gyn.
Rachel Gurevich of Baltimore, Maryland, took a different route. After three miscarriages and a diagnosis of polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), Gurevich made an appointment with a fertility specialist on her own.
These women shared a hope that going to the clinic would lead to getting pregnant. And despite arriving on the clinic’s doorstep in different ways, they also shared feelings of apprehension—even fear—about the first visit. “I was relieved there was something that could be done to help us have a child,” says Garvin. “Still, I was nervous about what would happen once we were there.”
Relax! There are now well over 400 fertility clinics in the United States, so being a patient at one is more common than you think. And what goes on behind those closed doors is no mystery. Read on as we walk you through your first fertility appointment.
Prepare Yourself for Your Fertility Appointment
Your entire first appointment will probably last no more than an hour. After completing forms, discussing insurance, and perhaps being examined, you’re left with only 30 to 40 minutes of real “consultation.” To make the most of that talk time, you’ll need to be prepared.
First, make sure you have all your medical records. “Doctors may tell you they sent the records ahead, but inevitably something is missing,” says Richard J. Paulson, M.D., director of the University of Southern California Fertility Program in Los Angeles. “Having your own set of records gives you real empowerment. You’re in control, and you know exactly what’s in the records.”