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Preparing for treatment

Having a general health check with your own GP is a good idea before you start any fertility treatment.

Seeing a doctor

Before starting any treatment you will have a fertility consultation with one of our doctors. He or she will go over treatment options, costs, any ethical issues and probably organise further tests – usually blood tests and often a semen analysis. You may need a follow-up consultation in two or three weeks to review results of these tests and before deciding what treatment you will start with.

Your doctor’s nurse will go over the practical aspects of treatment. Sometimes this is done straight after the doctor’s appointment but often it is better to book a separate time.

Many people find the first consultation pretty overwhelming – there is a lot of new information to take in while you are in a heightened emotional state. Good advice is to write down beforehand any questions you want to ask. Also, feel free to write notes during the consultation – and ask the doctor to slow down if you need to catch up, or if you are unsure what he or she is saying. If you do not understand something, please ask them to explain.

Your action plan

Your doctor will map out an action plan for you – what treatment to start with and when you want to begin treatment.

A lot of people find it valuable to keep all the information about their fertility journey in one place – the doctors’ letters, patient information like this magazine and treatment timetables. We’ll give you a handy storage box for this and there is a ‘Notes’ section at the back of our treatment magazine Pathway to a child for you to record instructions.

General health check

Some people have medical concerns that need to be considered when planning a pregnancy, such as diabetes or a heart condition. We strongly advise you to have a general health check with your GP before starting fertility treatment and to disclose any medical condition to your Fertility Associates doctor. Your Fertility Associates doctor will focus on your medical history related to the chance of becoming pregnant which may not cover the same aspects as a general health check from your GP.

Fertility tests

  • Rubella (German measles) We want you to be immune to Rubella before starting treatment because Rubella can cause birth deformities.
  • Varicella (Chicken pox) If you haven’t had Chicken pox or can’t remember whether you have, then we will suggest you are vaccinated. Infection during pregnancy can harm your baby.
  • Blood count and blood group These can identify potential health problems and also give baseline information in case you develop any OHSS symptoms after IVF treatment.
  • Hepatitis B and C We screen both men and women for these viruses to minimise the risk of hepatitis being transmitted to a child and to prevent contamination of laboratory equipment.
  • HIV We test both men and women for HIV because special precautions should be taken if treatment is considered. The test detects antibodies to the HIV virus, so a negative test does not absolutely eliminate the possibility of infection.

We have a Fertility Facts information sheet on HIV testing.  This is available on in our Fertillity Facts section here.

  • FSH, LH and AMH hormones We use your levels of FSH, LH and Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) to help decide the dose of medications used to stimulate the ovaries.Your AMH level can also give you a good idea about the number of follicles to expect from ovarian stimulation in IVF. 

See our Fertility Facts on AMH and Ovarian Reserve available on in our Fertillity Facts section here.

  • Semen analysis A semen analysis is the main test to assess male  fertility, although it is not perfect. Results from a semen analysis often determine which treatments are technically appropriate. Even if you have had a semen analysis done elsewhere before, we often ask for an analysis in one of our labs because our embryologists are good at picking up subtle signs of sperm quality. We can also test for sperm antibodies. Sometimes we recommend a trial sperm preparation to check whether enough sperm can be isolated for treatment.

See our Fertility Facts on Male Fertility and Semen Tests available on in our Fertillity Facts section here.  This information sheet discusses the variation in semen quality and the reliability of tests.

To test or not to test...

Your doctor will suggest which tests to do based on the chance of a particular test picking somethng up at that stage of your fertility journey. If you would prefer to do more tests at an earlier stage despite their cost and a low chance of them finding anything – then please discuss this with your doctor. You and your doctor need to have the same approach.