Guest Blog by Stephanie Fry, Author of The IVF Companion, a personal organizer for your IVF cycle
For most of us who undergo IVF, it is an all encompassing and life altering experience. Like any other major event, this time of your life deserves and will be well served by a little organization and preparation. The unknown is scary and feeling like you are in the dark can add greatly to the stress of an IVF cycle. Give yourself every chance to have a more positive IVF experience, no matter what the outcome, by advocating for yourself. One great way to this is by asking the right questions.
Before you begin your cycle, make an effort to understand your diagnosis and your treatment plan. Ask your doctor to explain the goals and phases of treatment and the potential responses that you may have to medications and procedures. Having a better understanding of the entire process is crucial to managing the emotional ups and downs that many patients experience. Your physician and their team do much more than just administer your cycle; they carefully plan, execute and constantly update your medications, protocol and schedule based on your specific diagnosis and current testing. They are also the all important messengers during the process. It is important that you understand who they are, what specific jobs they do, how they disseminate information and the best way to reach them when necessary.
Start by reviewing all of the information that you have been given about your clinic, your physicians and their staff. If the information you need is not readily available, call and find out if you have been assigned a patient coordinator or head nurse, and ask them who handles things like medical records, scheduling, billing, payment and referrals, and determine the best way to contact each person. Don’t be afraid to ask – your clinic contacts will appreciate that you understand and respect that certain people have specific job functions.
Here are a few specific questions you can ask about how your clinic operates. While all of the situations may not apply to you, having basic information will be handy if you experience an unexpected bump in the road.
What should you do in the case of emergency after hours?
How do cycles and appointments get scheduled?
Are there requirements, financial or medical, for starting your cycle?
Do they offer any classes or seminars about how things work?
How and when are you monitored and how do you receive test results?
How and when will you be notified about medication instructions?
Are there certain criteria that you will need to meet to reach cycle milestones, such as a three or five day transfer or to have any extra embryo’s frozen?
Finally, ask your contacts at the clinic what additional information, if any, they think will be the most helpful to you.
It is not possible to answer every question regarding your clinic ahead of time, but things will always be less complicated if you have a little background information, and know who to talk to, and how to contact them when the need arises.
About the Author of The IVF Companion
Stephanie Fry is a marketing and publishing executive and an IVF Patient. She is a personal and professional Member of RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association and sits on the Board of Directors of their New England Chapter. After five years of infertility treatment she welcomed her first child in June.