So, you’ve booked your first fertility consultation. Congratulations! This is one of the toughest hurdles in the whole journey. Committing yourself to this process is a great feat, and you should be proud of yourself for taking this important step.
In this article:
Your Fertility Consultation: What to Expect
Your first fertility consultation will be full of information, new faces, and learning about all the possible pathways available to you to help accomplish your fertility or family-building goals.
At Illume Fertility, the majority of our fertility consultations are conducted via telehealth. This big first appointment is when you'll first meet your doctor on a video call and discuss your goals, and you'll be introduced to the rest of your Care Team via email, phone call, and/or video call soon thereafter.
Your Care Team will consist of a core group of experts devoted to your particular treatment (including a reproductive endocrinologist, dedicated fertility nurse, Patient Navigator, and an Insurance & Billing Advocate). With your doctor and the rest of these important team members, you will discuss what led you to this point and where you want to go from here.
How to Use Our Fertility Consultation Guide & Worksheet
We never want you to feel like you’re alone in this, and we certainly don’t want anything to fall through the cracks because of overwhelm, a forgotten question, or miscommunication. Our goal is to help you feel as supported, educated, and in control of your journey as possible.
That’s why we’ve created the ultimate Fertility Consultation Guide, complete with a downloadable worksheet to make sure you’re getting the most out of your one-on-one meeting with your doctor or Care Team.
Paired with the following article, the downloadable worksheet will help you prepare for your first fertility consultation, offer a list of important questions you may want to ask your doctor or team, and allow for space to take notes.
We hope the following information will help you feel confident from the start.
Wondering about something we haven't addressed here? Your team is always happy to address any questions or concerns on this journey and is committed to supporting you throughout the entire process.
The Ultimate Fertility Consultation Guide
Below, we will talk through the different phases of your fertility consultation, starting with preparation, moving into the actual consultation, and finishing with next steps to keep the process moving forward.
Before we dive in to all the details, be sure to download your free fertility consultation worksheet so you can feel more empowered and confident going into that first appointment!
Preparing for Your Fertility Consultation
Know What You’re Scheduling
First and foremost, make sure you’re scheduling a time where both you and your partner, if necessary, can be there. At Illume Fertility, all of our first fertility consultations are telehealth (virtual video) appointments, so physically being in the same room as one another is preferred. Check to see how your fertility clinic will host your consultation and plan accordingly.
Set Up Your Space
We wrote an entire article devoted to getting the most of telehealth appointments!
The nutshell version? It’s important to make sure the lighting is right (nothing fancy, just so the doctor can see your face), keep movement to a minimum (try not to take the doctor on a roller coaster ride), and some other specific pointers so you, your partner, and your doctor can focus on the important discussions at hand…instead of frustrating tech glitches.
Give It Some Thought
There are a few things you should consider before your first fertility consultation. Take some time beforehand to really think through these points and write down reminders if needed.
- What background information can you share? Think about your medical history and journey with family building thus far. Sometimes, when we’re nervous or taking in a lot of information, we can leave things out. You want to make sure you remember the ins and outs of your story so the fertility team knows the best course of care to offer you.
- Come with a list of questions. We provide you with a preemptive list below, but are there other things on your mind? This can be a specific concern you want addressed, a piece of your health history that you want to discuss, or even a logistical question about health insurance or scheduling. It’s all fair game - so come prepared!
- Think about finances. Are you paying out of pocket or using insurance? At this point, you likely don't know exactly how much this journey will cost , but you’ve probably done some research, checking out average costs for a variety of treatments. At Illume Fertility, we provide you with an Insurance & Billing Advocate who will take care of the bulk of your health insurance questions, but it’s still important for you to be informed and know what your benefits are.
- Focus on your end goals. Think about what you want – a baby. Remember that this is the beginning of the journey, and we will get it through it together with you.
- Call your insurance company and see what sort of benefits you have for fertility, if the clinic you’re scheduled to visit is a clinic they work with (many insurance companies will only provide coverage for certain clinics), and what limitations they include within the coverage. Here are a few questions to ask if you need a starting point:
The Big Appointment
Questions to Ask Your Team
During your first fertility consultation, you and your doctor will get to know each other, discuss your goals and desired timeline, and how this process typically works.
It’s hard to know what questions you’ll have in the moment about procedures, plans, or the science of it all, but there are some questions you'll likely want answered no matter what:
- What screening/diagnostic testing will I (and my partner) need to undergo?
- Should I be taking any supplements or medications in preparation for treatment?
- What are some specific lifestyle habits that I (or my partner) can work on changing?
- What are the different fertility treatment options?
- What other resources do you recommend? (Acupuncture, counseling, etc.)
- Do I need to request any medical records?
- What are my next steps?
We also encourage you to talk with your partner, support person, or another trusted friend who may have gone through treatment to come up with specific questions for your journey.
Your Fertility Consultation: Next Steps
So, your first big appointment is over…what now? Did you walk away feeling like you have clear directives on what follow-up appointments to make, any fertility testing that's needed, or additional medical records or other paperwork you need to work on?
There are three things you want to make sure you’re clear on: your diagnostic testing and treatment plan, what you can be doing in the meantime to increase your chances, and what medical, insurance, and financial next steps are in your hands to follow up on.
We recognize there's a lot going on at once around this first fertility consultation, so here is a quick checklist to help you feel more confident about what comes next:
- Follow up with your Patient Navigator about scheduling any diagnostic testing. This may require booking a few different appointments, so have your calendar handy!
- Does your clinic have alternative resources like acupuncture and nutrition? Come up with a plan for when (and if) you’d like to include these in your treatment. (If you're an Illume Fertility patient, ask us about our Integrated Fertility and Wellness program!)
- What logistical items are a priority right now? Think: health insurance, medical records, finances, and additional research.
Lastly, one of the biggest next steps is to gauge how you’re feeling. Do you feel comfortable? Do you feel like you connected with the doctor and the rest of your fertility team?
The doctor-patient relationship is vitally important to any fertility journey, and here at Illume Fertility, we want to make sure you have the right fit. Make sure to speak up if you have any concerns with your team.
Did you know? Illume Fertility even has a dedicated Patient Advocate who is available to provide a listening ear and ensure any concerns are being addressed.
Ready to move forward?
No matter where you go for fertility treatment, your entire team should be working to support you, supplying you with useful tools and valuable information, ultimately setting you up for success. You should feel confident, in-the-know, and like you have a group of superheroes working alongside you to make your goals.
Another reminder: it’s very possible to have all of your logistical questions answered within your fertility consultation and still walk away with a big one unanswered: “Will this work?”
While there are many factors that impact fertility treatment success rates, the one thing you can feel confident about is that here at Illume Fertility, we are deeply committed to doing all we can to help you build the family of your dreams, including supporting you mentally, emotionally and physically.
We wish you all the best at your first fertility consultation, and we hope you feel in the driver’s seat of the wild (but worth it) journey ahead of you. You've got this!
Sierra Dehmler is Illume Fertility’s Content Marketing Manager - and also a fertility patient herself. Combining empathy gained on her personal journey with her professional experience in marketing and content creation, she aims to empower and support other fertility patients by demystifying the fertility treatment process.