Updated on 10.18.22
The doctor’s office can be intimidating which is why today Amy wants to share her top 4 tips for talking to your fertility doctor.
If you’ve been trying to conceive for a while now, you’ve probably thought about seeing or already have seen a doctor. After all, your doctor is the best place to go to get treatment fast.
But what I, and so many of our Proovers, have experienced is that the doctor’s office can be intimidating. The rooms can be cold and bleak, and I was so nervous I often forgot all the things I wanted to say. I know I’m not alone in these feelings which is why today I want to share my top 4 tips for talking to your fertility doctor.
Tip #1: Get to know your body
I’ve said it a million times, but I will continue to say it again and again: your doctor is the expert in medicine and you are the expert in you. The more you can learn about your body and your cycle before your doctor’s appointment, the better equipped you will be to have meaningful conversations with them.
The easiest way to start learning about your cycle is by testing your hormone levels at home. With Proov, you can better understand your ovulation and ovarian status. Here’s how Complete, our most comprehensive at-home hormone test yet, can help you:
Insight into ovarian reserve
At the beginning of your cycle, Complete measures follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) to assess your ovarian reserve. High FSH levels over several cycles can be an indication that your ovaries may not be working properly. This can mean they may not be maturing follicles, producing eggs, or ovulating which can impact your ability to conceive.
Elevated FSH levels over time can be an indicator of premature ovarian failure (POF) if you are under 40, which can impact your fertility. If you have elevated FSH levels for several cycles, we recommend consulting your doctor.
Longer fertile window
By now, you’ve probably used ovulation tests (also called LH tests) to help predict ovulation and understand when you should time intercourse. These tests measure luteinizing hormone – the hormone that spikes just before ovulation – to identify your two most fertile days that cycle. I.e. when you should be having intercourse.
But you’ve also probably heard that your fertile window can be much longer than 2 days. So how can you identify more fertile days?
By measuring E1G – a urine marker of estrogen – with Proov Complete. The maturing follicle that will eventually release the egg produces estrogen as it grows, leading up to the LH surge.
Estrogen (and therefore E1G) can rise up to 6 days before ovulation, giving you even more time to have intercourse and a better chance of sperm meeting that egg.
Confirming successful ovulation
While ovulation tests provide valuable information that can help you better time intercourse, they actually cannot help you understand whether or not ovulation occured. Not ovulating can be common, so confirming successful ovulation can be a key piece of the pregnancy puzzle.
Successful ovulation refers to an ovulatory event in which ovulation occurs and PdG (progesterone marker) levels remain adequately elevated for long enough to allow for the best possible chance at conception.
Without enough PdG present for long enough after ovulation, it can be more difficult to successfully conceive. In fact, a recent study showed that elevated PdG levels during the implantation window (about 7-10 days after ovulation) is associated with over a 75% increase in successful pregnancy rates.
Ensuring your PdG levels look good before visiting your doctor can help you better use your time on other factors. On the other hand, if your PdG results show a potential problem with ovulation, that could very well be a reason you’re not getting pregnant.
The good news is that the fix is often simple and you can work with your doctor to determine the best treatment for you.
Tip #2: Come prepared
With all these different hormone tests comes a LOT of new information. All of which can’t really help your doctor if you don’t document it!
Luckily, the Proov Insight app provides all-month tracking, numeric hormone levels, info on what your results mean, and personalized action plans to help you move forward. It also stores several cycles of data so you can track your test results over time and have all the information you need on hand to share with your doctor. Hormones are powerful!
In addition to the Proov Insight app, it’s important to write down any other questions you may have. As I mentioned, I often felt nervous during my doctor’s appointments and would forget what I wanted to say. Having a list of notes and questions on my phone helped me better use the short amount of time I had with my fertility doctor.
Having a list of notes and questions will help you better use the short amount of time you have with your fertility doctor.
Tip #3: Advocate for yourself
Above all, you have to be willing to advocate for yourself and your individual needs. As I’ve said, you are the expert in you, and you know what’s happening in your body during your day-to-day life better than anyone else.
I’d like to tell you a story about our friend, Arden. Arden experienced several early miscarriages and, based on the length of her cycle, suspected she had low progesterone or a luteal phase defect. However, when she brought these issues to her fertility doctor, he did not deem a serum progesterone blood test necessary.
Armed with this newfound information, Arden was able to go back to her doctor and advocate for the treatment she needed — a progesterone supplement. Her son, Cameron, is now almost 2 years old!
Tip #4: If it doesn’t feel right, try someone new
Sometimes, our doctors aren’t the best fit. This doesn’t necessarily mean they’re bad doctors or you’re a bad patient; it simply means they might not be the best for your needs at that specific moment.
And that’s okay! Luckily there are plenty of other options out there. One of which is a virtual fertility clinic called Fertility Cloud that provides online consultations with US-licensed, board-certified fertility specialists. Fertility Cloud offers comprehensive male and female fertility testing and treatment delivered directly to your door.
You can speak to a doctor about your unique situation from the comfort of your home. Even better, Fertility Cloud doctors can interpret your Proov test results and help you plan for the best course of action, whether that be further testing, supplementation, or lifestyle changes.
Our goal here at Proov is to empower you with information to help you reach your fertility goals faster! Hopefully these tips will help you have better conversations with your doctor.