Many people considering the path of fertility treatments start with one burning question, “Where do I even begin?” And I have to admit, I was no different. But, after going back through my journals from 2012 and 2013, I can share with you how I went from just thinking about conceiving to taking the first step in trying to conceive.
Let me tell you, that first step felt like I was back in high school attempting to call the boy I was crushing on for the first time. My hands were sweaty, and I had butterflies in my stomach as I dialed the fertility clinic’s number to set up my initial consultation. But, it was a huge step, and I knew I had to take it.
It took me about two and a half years to reach that point, and I was determined to complete this phase no matter what it took. The first step was to identify fertility clinics and set up an appointment with a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). I chose a clinic close to my job, and even though I stressed myself out about making that first call, the receptionist was friendly and helpful.
As someone who has been through the process, let me tell you that everything is scheduled around your menstrual cycle. Expect delays – it’s just a normal part of the process. So, plan in quarters, not months. If you plan to start trying to conceive in January, rewire your thoughts to say, “I will start in Q1.” This is a more realistic expectation and flexible enough to adjust for delays. Trust me, this small adjustment will alleviate a lot of frustration.
While waiting for my medical records to be ready, which took about a week, I joined Single Mothers by Choice groups and searched and read many posts. This helped me prepare for my first visit and put together a list of questions for my doctor. I even purchased a journal specifically for this process to document my journey, and it was a great decision. I found journaling to be an excellent way to get out of my head and stay organized. Which is why I created the Reflections Journal so that you can document your own process.
At my initial consultation, I asked my doctor many questions, including the IUI/IVF process, preconception counseling, philosophy on using fertility medications, monitoring ovulation, working with single people, side effects of medication, success rates, office hours, tests, vials of sperm, insurance coverage, and costs. It’s essential to ask these questions and get all the information you need to make informed decisions.
Expect the initial consultation to take about an hour and be with your actual Reproductive Endocrinologist. During the consultation, you will get general information and answers to questions about the process. The first clinical visit is where the medical team and your nurse will run tests to get your unique baseline. They will also answer any remaining questions about side effects, testing, vials of sperm, and more.
After the clinical visit, you will meet with the financial team to discuss insurance coverage, costs, and payment plans. For many fertility clinics, the team on your treatment will work in silos – reproductive endocrinologist, nursing staff, and finance team. One of the three will be able to answer your questions.
With medical records, completed intake forms, and your notebook of questions in hand, you will be ready for your initial appointment. It’s normal to be nervous sitting in the waiting room with a bunch of couples, but trust me, you will get through it too.
In conclusion, starting the path of fertility treatments can be overwhelming, but taking that first step is the most important. Remember to plan in quarters, ask all the questions, stay organized, and don’t forget to purchase my Reflections Journal – it will be your best friend throughout the journey. Good luck and remember I am with you every step of your journey!