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How to speak with your doctor about fertility

Talking to a GP about fertility can be difficult. However – your GP is there to help and support you. Here we discuss how to get the most out of your consultation.

 

How to talk to your GP

It can be worrying when you’re not sure what is going on with your body, but you should never feel embarrassed when talking about fertility with your GP. The more details you share, the easier it can be for them to help you. We’ve provided some tips that may make it easier:

  • Understand if your period is irregular
    An irregular period is a cycle shorter than 21 days or longer than 35 days, having fewer than 8 cycles per year or having a cycle longer than 90 days. Having a regular cycle is a good indicator that you are ovulating. 
  • Track your period
    Your GP will likely ask questions about your menstrual cycle, and it might help if you have details about how long your cycles are and how long your period normally lasts. 
  • Don’t wait to get help
    If you’re trying to conceive and have a condition that impacts your fertility, like irregular periods, PCOS or endometriosis, you should visit your GP, as you may be able to access tests or treatments sooner. 
  • Understand what care the NHS can provide
    NHS trusts across England and Wales are working to provide the same levels of service. But the provision of fertility treatment varies across the country, and often depends on local ICB (Integrated Care Board) policies. If you’re not sure, ask your GP to advise you. 
  • Prepare for your appointment
    GP appointments can be short, so you may want to prepare in advance. You could write down details of:
    • How long you’ve been trying to conceive
    • The length of your menstrual cycle
    • How long your period lasts
    • Any symptoms you’ve been experiencing (such as painful periods or bleeding in between periods)
    • Any specific questions you want your GP to answer (don’t be afraid to ask questions – there are no ‘silly‘ questions and it is better to share these with your GP so they have the chance to respond).
  • Ask for another appointment if needed
    Appointments with your GP can feel too short. If this is the case, book a follow-up straight after. It is important you leave your appointments feeling more confident and understanding your next steps.

 

We hope this helps you to make a start on getting the support you need.