As an OB/GYN who also experienced infertility (6 IVF cycles!), I’ve done my fair share of asking questions on both sides of the exam table. These are my recommendations for questions every woman desiring to get pregnant (and having trouble doing so) should #startasking. No rough, paper gown required.
- Start by asking your partner how far they’re willing to go. You’d be surprised how many couples are at the “next step” and the wife says “we’ll go all the way to IVF/ICSI” and the husband says, “No, I’m opposed to that.” So ask each other the tough questions: are you ok with sperm donation, egg donation, IVF, any intervention at all? What will we do with frozen embryos that are left over? It’s a tough conversation to have but one that will prevent marital discord later down the road.
- Start asking your insurance if they cover any infertility services. Some do, some don’t. Some cover diagnostic tests, but not treatment. Some cover the whole dealio. Don’t pay for things you don’t need to pay for, but set aside funds for things insurance won’t cover. It’s not sexy, but it’s an hour well spent.
- Start asking your doctor for all your check-up needs. Is your Pap up to date? Has he been to the doctor in the past 5 years? Everyone needs—and deserves—a health exam. For women, ask for extra lab tests that may help prevent further issues—cystic fibrosis, for example, or rubella (measles) status. Just because you were immunized in the past doesn’t mean you’re still immune. And start asking your doctor when it’s time to go to the next step if sex alone isn’t getting you pregnant!
- Start asking for the OFF spray. That’s right, ladies. Zika virus (transmitted by mosquitoes) is now a threat. And it affects sadly the very population that is most vulnerable—pregnant women. Think about ladies in South America that are being asked not to even get pregnant right now! So just get yourself some DEET-containing spray and use it ask dawn and dusk. Have that handsome burly man of yours clean out the garage and backyard of any standing water. Women around the country are at risk, but women on the Gulf Coast are at the highest risk right now.
- And, all ladies! Start asking for sex at times when it’s not “the right time” or you’re ovulating or about to. Sex is still for pleasure and affection between partners. During times of infertility, it becomes very easy to forget that and essentially use him for stud services. He’ll start to feel used (I know, whoever thought a man would complain but he will!). Start asking for a date night and some “romance”. Sex cures a myriad of things besides infertility—a gloomy mood, stress, and distance between partners. So, start asking!