Fertility Facts - FAQ
What will my first visit be like?
Your first visit will last about an hour and will start with a conversation during which the doctor or nurse practitioner will review any medical or gynecological history you may have. If you’ve never been tested or treated for infertility or hormonal disorders, they will talk about the symptoms or problems you are experiencing. If you have had a work up or treatment prior to this visit, they will review that with you and help to summarize that background experience. That history will include the history of your partner. Next, they will perform a complete physical exam including thyroid exam, listening to your heart and lungs, a breast exam and a pelvic exam to look for abnormalities. Afterwards, the provider will sit down with you and discuss possible testing and treatment options. You will be given lots of opportunities to ask questions along the way.
Can I be a sperm donor?
Unfortunately, we are not a commercial sperm bank. While we do offer sperm freezing for patients, we do not offer sperm banking for donation. The Food and Drug Administration has strict regulations governing the screening, monitoring, storing and continued contact for subsequent testing of sperm donors that makes it extremely difficult for all but the commercial sperm banks to keep up with these federal processes. Because of these regulations, we use commercial sperm banks as the source of donor sperm for our patients.
How do I know if my insurance covers infertility services?
You would need to call your insurance company to verify if you have a benefit for infertility services.
Questions to ask your insurance company:
Do I have coverage for an initial consultation?
Will insurance pay for diagnostic services and/or treatment services? If so, what is covered and how much will they pay?
Do I have a copay amount?
Do I need to get pre-authorization in order to proceed with services?
Do I have a maximum amount that insurance will pay toward infertility?
Are medications covered under medical insurance or under my prescription plan?
Click here for more information about insurance options.
I’ve had my tubes tied. Can I have a baby?
A tubal ligation (tubes tied) is a surgery to block the fallopian tubes to prevent the egg and sperm from coming in contact and fertilizing. Once the tubes are blocked, there are two options for future fertility. The first option is a surgical tubal reversal called a tubal reanastamosis. This is now done as an outpatient surgery with the help of the da Vinci robotic laparoscopy system. Several small incisions are made in your abdomen and the tubes are sutured back together using tiny stitches. The surgery has a high success rate but does carry a slight risk of tubal (ectopic) pregnancy.
The second option is in vitro fertilization (IVF) where the egg is removed from the ovary and fertilized in the lab. The fertilized embryo is then placed into the uterus through the vagina, bypassing the fallopian tubes.
I’m 40 years old. Am I too old to have a child?
As a woman ages, there are two things about which we become concerned. One is that the frequency of genetic abnormalities, like Down’s syndrome, increase, the second is that the monthly pregnancy rate decreases. While we cannot change the risk of genetic abnormalities, there are several tests to evaluate the function of the ovaries and, therefore, the chance of pregnancy. Some of the suggested ovarian reserve testing includes an ultrasound on cycle day 3 to look at the number of starting follicles (eggs) and blood tests on cycle day 3 to measure hormones needed to start the cycle.
I see that you have a Shared Risk Program. What is that and how do I qualify?
The Shared Risk Program is a special financial program within the IVF program to offer a guarantee for the patients who qualify. As the name implies, the financial risk is shared between the patients and the practice. Patients who qualify are guaranteed the delivery of a live baby within six IVF cycles or the fee is refunded. In order to qualify, patients must meet criteria that “share the risk”. Some of these criteria include age less than 38, body mass index (BMI) less than 30, non-smoker, a good number of resting eggs on their baseline ultrasound, and normal baseline hormones. Patients who choose this program and meet the qualifications have the reassurance that they will have a live baby in the end or have their fee refunded.
What is IVF (in vitro fertilization)?
IVF is the process of fertilizing the eggs outside of the body. The woman is often placed on medications that increase the number of eggs produced that cycle to increase the efficiency, the eggs are removed through the back of the vagina under sedation, eggs and sperm are mixed in the laboratory and allowed to fertilize, then one or two embryos are placed inside the uterus through the vagina. Common reasons for a couple to undergo IVF include blocked or absent fallopian tubes, male factor (poor sperm), endometriosis, adhesion, and failure to conceive with other treatments.
What is an egg donor? Can I donate eggs?
An egg or oocyte donor is a woman who has her eggs removed through IVF and then they are given to another woman or couple. The donor is usually aged 21-30 and typically donates to an older woman or one who has lost her ovaries or has a low number of eggs herself. To be an egg donor, a woman must not only meet the age criteria, but must also meet psychological, medical and physical criteria as well. The Food and Drug Administration has established an entire set of regulations governing the screening and monitoring of egg donors which must be followed. Click here to go to our Egg Donor information page.
Are a gestational carrier and a surrogate the same thing?
Although the terms are often interchanged, they are not technically the same thing. A gestational carrier does not use her own eggs. She simply has an embryo that has been created by the egg and sperm of the recipient couple transferred into her uterus. She then carries that couple’s baby for the duration of the pregnancy. The gestational carrier is not genetically related to the baby she is carrying. A surrogate uses her egg and uterus. She is inseminated with the sperm of the recipient couple’s husband and her egg is fertilized and implants in her uterus. A surrogate is genetically related to the baby. At The Fertility Center, LLC, we offer gestational carrier services but do not offer surrogacy.
I’ve seen that some Centers will only treat married couples. Is that true at The Fertility Center, LLC?
No. We do not discriminate based on marital status, race, sexual orientation, religion, or background. We feel that our duty is to provide the best care possible to everyone who seeks out our services. We cannot perform that duty if we begin placing barriers to that care!
Click here to contact us and schedule an appointment today!
What is egg freezing?
Egg or oocyte freezing is a process where the egg is removed from the ovary through IVF and instead of fertilizing it immediately; it is frozen or cryopreserved and stored for future use. Sperm and embryos have been successfully frozen and stored for several decades, but egg freezing is a relatively new procedure. Because eggs do not complete their chromosome division until after fertilization, they are very susceptible to internal damage from ice crystals that may form during freezing. Only in recent years have embryologists improved the freezing techniques to allow for egg freezing. At this point, The American Society for Reproductive Medicine still considers this an experimental procedure since we don’t have years of follow-up on babies born through frozen eggs. We do offer egg freezing in the case of cancer or fertility preservation.