Infertility – What to Expect in the First Visit

Infertility – What to Expect in the First Visit

Infertility is inabilitity of the couple to become pregnant even after regular sexual contact for one year.If the woman is 35 years or more ,then the couple should see a doctor by 6 months to look into the probable causes for infertility.

Infertility is an important contributor to marital stress and breakup and the couple may experience guilt, frustration, anger, and desperation in their journey to conceive a child.

What to expect in the first visit of an infertility consultation?

The doctor would want to take a detailed medical history of you and your partner.Hence it is important that you get your previous medical reports/records and are ideally,accompanied by your partner.

The doctor will ask about the duration of active married life,treatment undertaken so far,and results of all the relevant tests done.Any important illness in the partners in the past or the present will also be enquired into.

It would also be beneficial if the female partner comes either on the second day of her menstrual periods or just prior to her periods ,so that most of the blood tests(for hormones) and ultrasound evaluation can be done sooner.The tests done around the early part of the menstrual period will give an idea of the number of eggs in the woman’s ovaries,and aid greatly in deciding upon the further treatment options for the couple.

A check up of the fallopian tubes,in the female partner, would also be desirable and is usually done about 5 days after stopping of the bleeding.The tubes can be checked by either an HSG,Laparoscopy or saline sonography(SSG). Details of each will be told in subsequent blogs.

The male partner needs to give a semen sample after a minimum of 2 days of abstinence.The sample is ideally to be collected in a sterile container provided by the clinic.

Most reports will be available in two to three days and a second visit to the doctor with the reports and the presence of both the partners would be advisable.The tentative treatment options,probable cost and success of each treatment option may be discussed in detail during this visit.

All couple actively pursuing treatment for infertility may benefit from counseling. However, not all couple undergoes counseling during treatment. Patients may not be willing to see a counselor or may be unaware of availability of a counselor.

What are the special features of infertility counseling?

  1. The couple seeking counseling does not suffer from any disease as such and hence are not typical patients requiring intensive medical attention. However the pain and suffering that they face is no less than any other long term debilitating illness.
  2. The unfulfilled wish for a wanted child creates a not yet existing person, with special rights and privileges, which need to be addressed from the ethical perspective.
  3. The desire to have a child results in multiple cycles of treatment which may often may not be successful.
  4. Infertility and its evaluation may come at a heavy price, both financially and emotionally.

How does counseling differ from patient-centered care?

  • All the members of the clinic including the physicians and nurses are expected to take part in patient centered care, as a routine.
  • Counseling aims at helping the patient to cope with infertility come to terms with it and also treats any associated depression by therapy.
  • Counseling aims at exploring, understanding and resolving issues of infertility. All people being possibly affected by the treatment process must be taken into account. The rights of the unborn child, as well as the couple seeking fertility treatment must be protected.
Written By: Dr. Chaitra Nayak

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