Five Tips a Fertility Nurse Wishes Her Patients Knew

This guest post is from the nurses at Laurel Fertility Care, a local fertility practice with offices in Mill Valley, San Francisco, and Modesto. Visit them online at www.laurelfertility.com.

Throughout patients' fertility journeys, it can be easy to forget the other health practitioners who play a vital role helping patients reach their fertility dreams. At Laurel Fertility Care, one of the most important relationships occurs between the patient and nurse. Every visit to the doctor's office either starts or ends with a check-up with the nurse to ensure that the patient is nurtured emotionally, physically, and mentally. Below is a list compiled by nurses at Laurel Fertility Care of what they encourage patients to understand and think through before agreeing to any treatments.

  1. Understand (and explore) your reproductive system. "Yes, this may sound like your fifth grade health class instructor," commented Laurel Fertility Care nurse May Pepito, "but honestly it is so helpful to know how an average female reproductive system works and how your reproductive system regularly functions. Understanding and educating yourself before going into your fertility doctor's office will save you time and money." For more information, visit WedMD's comprehensive page.

  2. Research your treatment options. It's helpful to understand your options, not for self diagnosis but to communicate with your fertility doctor and understand what options your doctor is suggesting. Again, time and money can be saved by creating a platform of knowledge regarding your options. "So often, patients spend most of their visit just trying to clarify what the treatments options are." said Laurel Fertility Care Director Collin Smikle, "Though part of the time should be spent clarifying treatment options - a lot of your time can be saved by familiarizing yourself with the treatment options and terms." Visit American Society for Reproductive Medicine for informational fact sheets and info booklets or with Laurel Fertility Care's site for treatment options and definitions.

  3. After your initial consultation, plan what tests you want to receive and where you would like to go to receive the testing. There are several tests available - some that are necessary for anyone exploring fertility options (ex: blood tests) and others that are optional (genetic tests). It’s also very important to know your insurance coverage prior to testing. Contact your insurance provider and employer to determine what your coverage includes. Visit the New York Department of Health to guide you through your fertility testing choices.

  4. Understand the level of commitment for each treatment. Keep in mind that no time will be "the perfect time". Seeking treatment will require you to make the time and space in your life. "Patients know that the treatments won't be easy, but many do not realize how the other areas in their lives are affected," remarked nurse May Pepito, "pursuing any major life changing event - especially growing a family - will inevitably affect other areas in your life. You must ask and answer, ‘how will I prepare for the expected and unexpected?’”

  5. Answer "do I really want to do this?" before your third visit. Patients are often caught in an indecisive state, "Should I or shouldn't I?" Bottom line, do not move forward without fully understanding the pros and cons of each treatment. Exploring all your options with others involved in your parenthood dreams will help you answer the vital questions necessary for pursuing fertility treatment.
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