It’s important that you feel entirely comfortable and well-informed about the fertility treatment you’re going to receive. So it’s a good idea to have a list of questions in mind before you visit your fertility specialist – that way you can go into your treatment feeling confident that you have all the facts.

What side effects are associated with the treatment I’m going to receive?

Whether you’ve been prescribed medicine to assist with fertility, you’re undergoing a surgical procedure or you’re going to have IVF, you need to be aware of any side effects associated with your treatment. You should also be aware that medication that stimulates the ovaries shouldn’t be given to women with unexplained infertility, as it’s not thought to be an effective treatment in these circumstances.

The side effects of fertility drugs depend on which kind you’re taking. It’s important to get clarification from your doctor so that there are no unpleasant surprises and to see if there’s anything you can do to manage or control any potential side effects.

The most common fertility drug side effects tend to be bloating, headaches, breast tenderness, nausea, hot flushes and mood swings.

Who will I be seeing throughout my treatment?

Whether you’re having fertility treatment via the NHS or you’ve opted for private healthcare, you’ll want to know who’s responsible for your care, and who you’ll be having contact with throughout your treatment, and afterwards, too. It might be the case that one particular doctor oversees the whole treatment process, or you could have consultations with several practitioners. In any case, it’s important to find out so that you know who to contact if you have any questions or concerns during your treatment.

What are the chances of a successful pregnancy with this treatment?          

Each individual will have a different chance of pregnancy success, as there are many other factors that come into play, such as age and overall health. However, your doctor should be able to give you statistics based on other women who are of similar age and health. The most up-to-date statistics will be around two years old as reports are based on when babies are actually delivered, as opposed to recording the date of conception. For example, a treatment may have a 30% pregnancy rate per cycle but only a 25% live-birth rate due to miscarriage.

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Are there any long-term complications associated with this particular treatment?

As with any procedure or treatment, you’ll want to find out if there are any long-term complications or risks and, if so, what the chances are of them occurring. It’s commonplace for your doctor to inform you of any risks involved with the treatment before you sign a consent form, but bear this question in mind just in case.

Is there anything I can do to improve my chances of becoming pregnant whilst undergoing fertility treatment?

Fertility treatment can take a lot of time and, if you’ve gone private, then you’ll probably be investing quite a bit of money into it, too. With this in mind, you want to make sure that you’re doing everything you possibly can to boost your chances of getting pregnant. Most fertility clinics will be supportive of you wanting to try complementary therapy treatments (acupuncture or acupressure, for example) whilst you’re having fertility treatment. It’s important to ask your doctor what he or she recommends you should or shouldn’t do and, and if you do want to undergo any complementary therapies, make sure your doctor is familiar with the person to whom you’re referred.

 

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Andrew Drakeley

Mr Andrew Drakeley is the Clinical Director at the Hewitt Fertility Centre, working principally at the Liverpool Women’s site but with managerial responsibility for Knutsford.

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