Make sure your Doctor or Specialist goes through all of the following at your first fertility appointment: How old you both are and how long you’ve been trying to conceive.
The specialist will want to know how old the two of you are and how long you have been trying to conceive. One issue is that he or she will inquire into is your history of any previous pregnancies. You might not want to be asked about a previous pregnancy of which your partner has no knowledge. If it is impossible to be candid during the joint visit, you should arrange to see the specialist alone on a separate occasion. Doctors will not reveal such private information to anyone else, including your partner.
The specialist should generally get details about the woman’s gynaecological history and the frequency of her recent menstrual periods. He or she may also inquire about how often you have sexual intercourse and whether you are experiencing any difficulties. Some couples may find such questions embarrassing, but they are obviously relevant.
A consultant should conduct an internal examination, although provided a woman is having regular intercourse and there is no history suggesting uterine abnormalities or an ovarian cyst, it may often provide very little information. It is also an examination that may be deferred until the next visit when confidence has been gained if a woman is especially anxious or embarrassed. That said, an early examination is important, since a lump, fibroid or cyst in the ovary, could have considerable bearing on subsequent treatment.
Examination of the man usually gives rather less information, unless he is known to have an abnormal sperm count. Even then, examination of most male patients generally reveals little detectable abnormality. Occasionally a damaged testis may be smaller than normal, or there may be cysts or abnormal swelling that will require special tests.
Despite countless breakthroughs in medical science, we still do not understand why some pregnancies will end in tragedy. For most of us, having a child of our own is the most fulfilling experience of our lives. All of us can imagine the desperation and sadness of parents who lose a baby, and the life-shattering impact that a disabled or seriously ill child has on a family.
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