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Be prepared for the life you want—wherever it may lead
Whether you’re interested in freezing your eggs, considering in vitro fertilization (IVF) or simply exploring your options, the first step to any fertility plan is an assessment.
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Your fertility assessment

The fertility assessment is the first step in your fertility journey. This visit is vital to determining your reproductive goals, assessing your reproductive health and developing a personalized plan. Your specialist will be with you every step of the way.

If you are a woman currently taking an oral contraceptive, there is no need to go off it before your first assessment; your doctor will still be able to perform all necessary tests while you’re on the pill. 

Before your appointment

Before coming in for your assessment, obtain your medical records and bring them with you. Try to collect as much information as you can, no matter how old or how unimportant it may seem. For your fertility specialist to help you achieve your reproductive goals, he or she will need as complete a picture of your health as possible.

If possible, it is also important to track your ovulation, especially if you don’t have a regular menstrual cycle. This will give your doctor an idea of your cycle length and whether you’re ovulating regularly or at all.

Goal setting

Every assessment at Northwell Health Fertility begins with a conversation with your doctor to determine the purpose of your visit; from there, the assessment encompasses a thorough review of your medical history, a physical exam and ultrasound, and blood testing. If there is a male partner involved, your doctor will also perform a semen analysis to make sure sperm parameters are sufficient for achieving pregnancy.

Medical history

Your fertility specialist will discuss your medical history with you to determine whether or not any illnesses, procedures or other events may have affected your fertility. For instance, irregular menstrual periods, ovulatory issues and any other medical conditions like diabetes, polycystic ovaries or thyroid disease are important to note.

Physical exam

Next, your doctor will perform a thorough physical exam, including an ultrasound of the pelvis. He or she will check your body mass index (BMI) and look for any overt issues, like breast discharge (a symptom of hormone irregularities).

The ultrasound portion of the exam is important to check the health of the endometrium (uterine lining) for fibroids and other potential problems. Your doctor will also check your fallopian tubes to make sure they aren’t inflamed and will examine your ovarian volume (the size of your ovaries), antral follicle count (AFC, or how many eggs your ovaries contain), and any abnormalities such as cysts. He or she will also ensure you are ovulating.

Blood testing

Blood tests are also necessary to make sure you won’t have a problem with egg freezing, IVF, conception or pregnancy. Through these tests, your doctor can check your AMH, or anti-Mullerian hormone, to determine how healthy your ovaries are relative to your age. He or she will also perform an FSH, or follicle stimulating hormone test; however, this test is usually done in the first few days of the menstrual cycle, so you may need to schedule a follow-up if you’re at another stage in your cycle during your assessment.

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