Thursday, April 29, 2010

Questions to Ask About IVF

I've been on the hunt over the last couple of days, searching for good questions to ask the Reproductive Endocrinologist the first time we meet him. I've never been through IVF, I'm very new to the process...I'm really just interviewing RE's at this point. There's a lot I need to know, I'm just not sure what. So after doing some research, here are some of the good questions I think I'll bring up:

1. What are the side effects of the medications? It is important to understand what all of the medications are used for and the possible side effects. The clinic should be able to provide you with a detailed description of the purpose of each medicine you take, along with the side effects of each medicine.

2.What are the steps in the procedure? Fertility treatment procedures are stressful. Learn as much about your treatment schedule as possible. If they don't provide a schedule, ask for a calendar of your medication schedule, dates of appointments, and activities to be performed at each appointment (blood draw, retrieval, injections, etc.). It would be especially helpful if this is in written form for you to take home and read.

3. Who will be our point of contact? Learn who will be answering your questions. The nurse might be able to answer questions about medications, and the doctor will answer other questions. If you know the right person to contact, you'll be more likely to get a quick response. Have them describe how office communications work during your procedures.

4. Who performs the procedures? During your testing and actual fertility treatment you'll be poked and prodded. Determine who will be performing which procedures so you know when you'll be interacting with your RE and when you'll be interacting with the RE's colleagues or the nurses.

5. How many embryos do they transfer during an IVF cycle? Each doctor has a different protocol and the number of follicles or embryos transferred for each patient might also differ.

6. What are the chances of twins or high-order multiples? What percentage of their procedures result in twins or higher? This includes both the chances of having a twin or high-order multiples (triplets or more) pregnancy as well as the health risks to the mother and babies involved with such a pregnancy. The risk of having twins or high-order multiples is fairly high with IVF or IUI procedures. This information might be available on their website. Know your risks and be prepared for them. For example, twin pregnancies are considered high-risk because one in three results in premature birth.

7. What would cause the treatment to be cancelled? You'll want to know the possibilities that a cycle could be cancelled. Some women have their IVF cancelled because they responded poorly to the medications or because they developed cysts from the medications. It's best to be prepared and know possible reasons this might occur.

8. Do they encourage or recommend alternative medicine? Studies are proving that acupuncture, massage therapy, homeopathy, Reiki, and other forms of alternative medicine can increase the success rate of fertility treatments. Does your doctor have a referral list for these types of practitioners? If they do not encourage complementary medicine, will they nonetheless try to coordinate with your alternative efforts? This is important to know as some REs discourage use of alternative medicine.

9. What success rate does the doctor give us with our particular case?

10. What other factors outside of endometriosis will come into play? (Hashimoto's disease, pit tumor, cortisol...) What do we need to do to make sure all of these are in check?

11. What will insurance cover and what will be out of pocket?

I'll post more if/when I come up with them. Can't wait to post an update after the appointment in the morning...

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