Your Guide to Infertility Treatment
Infertility treatment can be a stressful time. You and your partner will probably feel overwhelmed by a hectic schedule of medical checkups and infertility tests.
Our guide to infertility treatment is a great tool for helping to curb stress while you’re undergoing infertility treatment. You’ll find information on compiling your personal history and medical records, mapping out your treatment timeline, researching your health insurance coverage and much more.
Compiling Your Personal History and Medical Records
When getting medical help for infertility, it is very important to compile a medical history for both you and your partner. This will help your doctor discern more quickly the cause of infertility and, in turn, make sure you get the best infertility help possible.
Compile a journal of you and your partner’s health and reproductive backgrounds. Include the following information:
- Gynecological history: this should include information about menstruation, for instance, age of inset, length and frequency of cycle, heavy bleeding or cramping; contraceptive use, for example, birth control bills and IUDs; sexually transmitted diseases, such as Chlamydia and genital warts; abnormal PAP smears; and whether you’ve had previous pregnancies or abortions.
- Medical history: include information on chronic medical conditions such as asthma, hypertension, ulcers; cancer therapy; chronic bladder or urinary tract infections (UTIs); and allergies to medicine
- Personal history: information about lifestyle and nutrition such as diet, exercise and smoking or drug use; weight history, usual weight and recent weight loss or gain; and exposure to toxins, such as lead or radiation
- Family history: history of fertility-related problems; history of recurrent miscarriages or complicated pregnancies; history of genetic disorders, such as sickle cell anemia
If you’ve been to any previous fertility workshops or fertility treatments, be sure to include your files, including records of semen analysis and hormone studies, and any other test results, i.e. post-coital test results and diagnostic laparoscopy test results, and whether you’ve undergone previous assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycles such as in vitro fertilization (IVF).
Mapping Out Your Infertility Treatment Timeline
As you begin your infertility treatment, you might want to create a timeline to decide how many treatment cycles you’re willing, or financially able, to undergo.
When constructing your infertility treatment time, you and your partner should ask yourselves the following questions:
- How much are we able and willing to spend on infertility treatments?
- What support systems are available to us?
- Do we want to pursue more than one fertility option simultaneously?
- What are our feelings about infertility treatment?
- Is the treatment in line with our moral and spiritual beliefs?
Remember that your fertility treatment timeline is a guideline to help you feel in control of the process and stay within your budget; it shouldn’t make you feel constricted or uncomfortable. Talk to your partner about what feels right for both of you and keep revisiting the issue at different stages of your fertility treatment to see if you still feel the same way.
Some questions to ask your fertility specialist include:
- What number of cycles is recommended for the treatment option we’re interested in pursuing?
- How much time is there between one treatment cycle to the next?
- What are my chances of becoming pregnant with this treatment plan?
- How does my age affect my chances of becoming pregnant?
- What is the cost of the infertility treatment we’re interested in pursuing?
To make sure you ask your questions effectively, write them down. Bring a notepad to your medical check-ups and keep asking your questions until you feel confident that they have been properly answered.
You may also want to prepare questions on the many different types of treatments you doctor may recommend you undergo. Below we have provided a list of possible treatments so that you can become better acquainted with your many options.
If you are looking for information about the popular treatments of IUI and IVF then check out our sections dedicated especially to them. Also read up on our more in-depth research on the above treatments like the side effects of clomid and the benefits of clomid, what does it mean to be a surrogate parent, and how can the kisspeptin hormone help your fertility.
Researching Your Health Insurance Coverage
It’s important to check with your health insurance provider before beginning any fertility treatment, as most health insurance plans cover only procedures that are considered medically necessary, and infertility treatment usually does not fall within that category. While it can be a confusing and time-consuming process, it’s essential to understand your insurance rights before beginning treatment.
Here are some important steps in learning about your health insurance coverage:
- Get a complete copy of your plan’s contract from your, or your partner’s, employer’s personnel department. Read the list of exclusions carefully
- Research supplemental insurance for infertility plans and decide whether they work for your needs and fit within your fertility budget
- Inform yourself about who to contact at your insurance company with regard to any questions about your coverage
- Get a written pre-determination of your insurance coverage. Follow-up on your request with your contact person by telephone
- Determine how much your plan will cover
- Keep accurate records
- Ask your doctor to submit your insurance claims using the most specific billing and diagnostic codes possible; this will increase the chance that your treatment will be at least partially covered
Don’t forget that you can supplement your insurance benefits with income tax deductions, credit cards and personal loans. Furthermore, you can also find tax credits specific to fertility treatments. Ultimately it might be best to consult with a tax professional before claiming any credits.
Preparing to Start an Infertility Treatment Cycle
Before treatment begins, take the following steps:
- If possible, begin your infertility treatment when your work and social schedule is flexible
- Build a support system for you and your partner
- Shop around for the most competitive medication prices
- Establish good relationships with your health care providers
- Find techniques that help you reduce your stress levels, such as meditation, aerobic exercise or joining a fertility support group
When treatment begins, be sure to follow these guidelines:
- Drink at least 6-8 glass of water daily
- Eat three healthy meals daily. Talk to your doctor or nurse about dietary concerns you may have
- Make sure your partner is involved throughout your treatment (for example, accompanying you to medical appoints and by helping you mix your medications)
- Maintain a personal cycle log to track your daily treatment. Keep track of the following information: cycle day and date; medication and dose; injection site and time; information about lab test name, date and result; and ultrasound date and results
Treatment of Infertility and Your Emotions
Be aware that infertility can lead to a wide variety of emotions, including sadness, anger, frustration and anxiety. Of the approximately 15% of couples who experience infertility in the United State, loss of control is a widespread feeling.
Talk to your partner openly about your feelings as you undergo different steps in your infertility treatment, and encourage your partner to do the same. This will help relieve your emotions and also help you to stay connected emotionally and intellectually.
Sexual intimacy is another important component in staying connected while undergoing treatment. Infertility treatment necessitates sexual intercourse when you aren’t necessarily in the mood. Having sex simply for both of your enjoyment during your non-fertile times is an excellent way to maintain sexual intimacy with your partner.
Talking to a family or a loved one about your feelings is another great way to cope with your emotions and can minimize feelings of isolation and sadness and help you learn how to articulate your emotions. You should also consider joining a fertility support group in order to make your experience easier for you. Another idea is to join a chat room so that you can talk to other couples who are undergoing infertility treatment.