In up to 15% of the cases, pregnancies are delayed and in this situation couples consider visiting a fertility clinic.
Many patients feel uneasy about this need, because first of all they have to admit that there is a problem, and then there is the worry of not knowing how the first visit to the fertility clinic will go.
What is a first visit to a fertility clinic like?
The first visit to a fertility clinic is usually a first contact, both for the patients and for the professional who assists them.
During this first visit, the assisted reproduction specialist will ask each member of the couple a series of medical and health-related questions in order to obtain information that will be very useful for the correct diagnosis.
Some of the aspects that the specialist will be interested in are:
- Age of the patients. This factor is a determining factor in the difficulty to procreate, since a woman’s fertility gradually decreases after 35 years of age and it becomes more difficult to achieve pregnancy and miscarriages are more frequent.
- Family health history of each member of the couple. It is important to know them in order to be aware of important diseases that can be inherited, both by the patients and by the future child.
- Eating habits
- Toxic habits that could negatively affect fertility or damage the embryo.
- Gynecological history of the woman. The specialist will want to know the age of the first menstrual period, menstrual rhythm, if the periods are painful or too abundant, if there is pain with sexual intercourse, whether or not she has had pregnancies or abortions…
All these data will give the specialist an idea about possible diseases of female origin that could influence the difficulty in achieving a pregnancy, such as endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome.
In addition to the interview, a series of diagnostic tests will be performed on both the woman and the man:
- Transvaginal ultrasound. The gynecologist specializing in assisted reproduction will always perform one in order to assess the initial state of the uterus, ovaries, tubes, the presence or absence of fibroids, endometriomas, hydrosalpinx or other possible alterations. In addition, an evaluation of the ovarian reserve will be performed. It is possible that further tests may be performed to have a correct diagnosis of the primary cause of infertility.
- Semen sample. An analysis of the semen sample will be performed on the male, in order to assess whether it is normal or needs some kind of help to achieve gestation.
- Analyses. The specialist will request the necessary blood tests to rule out infectious diseases, a hormone analysis that should generally be performed in the first days of the period, the evaluation of the anti-mullerian hormone, and possible additional studies in relation to the personal or family history of each couple.
The second visit: evaluation of results
In the second meeting, the specialist will explain in detail the possibilities of gestation, the most appropriate assisted reproduction technique, the type of medication indicated, the duration of the treatment and the additional techniques that could be beneficial.
It is also possible that, when evaluating these results, the specialist in charge of the case may decide to order complementary tests in addition to the initial ones, in order to complete the sterility study. This is usually done mainly because some results need to be confirmed by different tests.
And on other occasions, it is also necessary to request tests or assessments by professionals from different specialties, to help prepare the couple in the best way possible for a pregnancy with the lowest possible risk. Some of these professionals could be hematologists, endocrinologists, andrologists, geneticists or specialists who are assessing the couple for any pathology other than infertility and that requires special monitoring for pregnancy.
Once all the tests are evaluated, the assisted reproduction treatment itself can be scheduled.