Let’s face it, guys, a visit to the fertility doctor can be a bit stressful. After all, one of the potential outcomes is that your virility will be called into question. While you know in your mind that a medical issue that causes you fertility problems doesn’t reflect on your manhood, psychologically it can be a different story. It’s intimidating.
Knowing what to expect when you make that fertility doctor visit can help put you at ease. Here’s what you and your partner are likely to go through during fertility care:
- You’re going to be asked lots of questions. The fertility specialist is going to take a full medical history for both you and your partner. She’s trying to identify potential health concerns that could trigger difficulty conceiving. Be ready to talk about family and personal medical history, as well as environmental and lifestyle factors.
- You and your partner will both have some tests. Your partner will probably have some blood work as well as some imaging (usually ultrasound) done. You’ll need to provide a semen sample. Many fertility doctors will let you acquire this sample at home, and bring it into the office within a certain amount of time after gathering the sample. You’ll both also be tested for STDs, which can interfere with fertility.
- You might find out you’re to blame. At least, you might be to blame in part. In about 50% of cases, male factor infertility or both male and female factor infertility are the cause of problems with conception. The most common causes of male factor infertility are a low sperm count, low sperm motility (that is, your sperm don’t move forward to find an egg like they should), and abnormal sperm.
- You might be asked to make some lifestyle changes. There are specific lifestyle choices that can help or hinder your fertility. For example, smoking can negatively affect your sperm count. Exposure to heavy metals and certain chemicals on the job can cause you to have a large number of abnormal” sperm. Being overweight can affect both the physics of conception and your sperm count. Not all fertility factors have to do with a current medical concern or your lifestyle, however. Some are simply genetic.
- You’re going to learn more than you probably want to know about the conception process. Chances are good that, on that first visit, you’ll have some lengthy discussions about your partner’s monthly cycle, about the best times to try to get pregnant, and even how to know when she’s ovulating. You’ll also find out about things that can affect male fertility, including factors as obscure as choosing the wrong bicycle seat. This is valuable information for both of you, so try to take in as much of it as possible.
Fertility treatment doesn’t have to be intimidating. If you go in with the right attitude and you know what to expect, you’ll have a much easier time of it overall.