So you’ve scheduled your appointment with an OBGYN (like me) or fertility doctor, time to relax until the appointment right? Wrong. At some point before that appointment, it is so important that you take a little bit of time to prepare what questions you want answered.
But what questions should you be asking? Lucky for you, I’m here to give you a curated list of the top questions to ask depending on which specialist you’re seeing and what your goals are. Let’s get into it!
What’s the Difference between an OBGYN and an REI?
So first things first, let’s explain what the difference is between an OBGYN and an REI. OBGYN stands for “obstetrician-gynecologist” and these physicians are considered generalists in women’s health. An OBGYN completes four years of medical school and four years of residency training after college. They take care of both pregnant and non-pregnant adults, so they’re the doctors who deliver babies, do pap smears and checkups, and provide annual breast exams (among other things). REI stands for “reproductive endocrinology and infertility”. An REI physician is an OB/GYN who has completed three additional years of training focused solely on fertility, pregnancy, and hormones. For the most part, this means they only take care of patients who are having difficulty becoming pregnant. Some REIs also specialize in certain hormonal conditions as well.
Questions to ask your OBGYN
Now that we’re on the same page, let’s start off with questions to ask your OBGYN. An OBGYN is typically able to perform the fertility evaluation process which includes getting your medical history, an exam, labwork, imaging, and/or genetic testing. While they can answer most questions about egg freezing, they often won’t know the specific nuances when it comes to outcomes and statistics.
Here is a list of some great questions to ask them.
- Can you explain fertility to me?
- How does my age affect my fertility? What else can affect my fertility?
- How is my ovarian reserve?
- Is there anything from my history or exam that you think could impact my fertility?
- What is egg freezing?
- What does the general process of freezing eggs look like?
- What are the risks and benefits of egg freezing?
- Will freezing my eggs affect my natural fertility?
- Do you think I am a good candidate for egg freezing? Why or why not?
- What’s an ideal age for freezing my eggs?
- How soon do you think I should start?
- How long do you think I can wait if I’m not ready yet?
- Do you have a recommendation for an REI or other specialist I should see?
- What lifestyle choices can I make to improve my health and fertility?
- What is the most common question you get about egg freezing?
Questions to ask an REI
As mentioned before, REIs are specialists who are trained specifically in the field of fertility and hormones. They are the ones who actually manage an egg freezing cycle as well as other infertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF). They are experts when it comes to outcomes and statistics for all assisted reproductive technologies (ART) so your questions can be very specific.
Below you’ll find a list of questions to ask them. Since this list includes a lot of specific questions, they’ve been split into different categories.
- What is the most common question you get about egg freezing?
- What is the best age to freeze your eggs?
- Will I need to stop my birth control to freeze my eggs?
- Will I need to come off any of my other medications to freeze my eggs?
- Are there any lifestyle changes or supplements you recommend to improve my egg freezing outcomes?
- What are your thoughts about using alternative medicine (acupuncture, meditation, homeopathy) in addition to your treatments?
About the clinic
- How many fertility doctors are there in the clinic?
- Will I meet with all the doctors in the clinic or just you?
- Who else will I meet with regularly?
- Will I be seeing you for all of my monitoring procedures?
- How does communication work here?
- Who can I contact when I have questions and what is the response time?
- How does your staff communicate updates to patients?
- Who should I contact if I have questions outside of office hours?
- What procedures are done here?
- Do you have a lab onsite?
- What technology and equipment does your lab use to freeze eggs?
- Do you store eggs and embryos onsite?
- Does the clinic assist in finding sperm, egg, or embryo donors if that’s needed?
- Does your clinic provide recommendations for fertility specific acupuncturists or mental health support for interested patients?
About the clinic’s success rates
- What is the clinic’s “Egg Thaw Rate” for egg freezing?
- What are your success rates for thawing frozen eggs and creating embryos?
- What is the intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) Fertilization Rate?
- What is the chance that a fertilized egg becomes a "blastocyst" stage embryo by Day 6?
- What is your ongoing pregnancy rate after one genetically-normal embryo is transferred?
- What is your live birth rate for eggs previously frozen at your facility?
- What specific tests do you recommend for me?
- What specific tests do you recommend for my partner (if you’re freezing embryos)?
- Is testing performed in the clinic?
- How many office visits can be expected?
About treatment cycles
- What are the steps of the egg freezing process at your specific clinic?
- Does your clinic batch cycles or will I be able to start based on my own cycle?
- How long would the wait time be for me to start a cycle?
- How long will I be on fertility medicines before the egg retrieval?
- Where do the injections go?
- What are the common side effects of fertility medications?
- What time am I able to come in for monitoring appointments?
- Where is the egg retrieval done?
- Can I have sex during my egg freezing cycle?
- Can I work during my egg freezing cycle?
- Can I still exercise during my egg freezing cycle?
- How long after the egg retrieval does it take for your period to return?
- How many eggs should I freeze?
- Do you think I will need more than one cycle to reach this number? How many cycles do you think I will need?
- How many eggs do you think I’ll be able to freeze in one cycle?
- Where would my eggs be stored after they’re frozen?
- How much is one egg freezing cycle?
- What does the price of one egg freezing cycle here include?
- How much are medication costs?
- Can I use my insurance for some or all the costs of my cycle?
- What financial assistance or payment plans does your practice offer?
- How much does storing my eggs cost?
About what happens after your eggs are frozen
- What happens to my eggs if I move out of state?
- How long can my eggs stay frozen after egg freezing?
- What happens if/when I want to use my eggs?
- What do you think are my chances of having a baby using my frozen eggs?
This may seem like a lot of questions but this is not an exhaustive list and not all the questions will be relevant to everyone. These questions should serve as a starting point for you as you prepare for your appointment. Whether you’re scheduled to move forward with egg freezing already or you’re just beginning to think about it, our goal is to make sure that you feel confident and armed with the information you need to help make the best decision for you and your family-building future. For more information on egg freezing, check out our Learn page.