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How to Talk to Your Doctor About Fertility

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

How to talk to your doctor about fertility

It can be worrying when you’re not sure what is going on with your body, especially if you’ve been struggling to conceive. It’s important to speak to a medical professional, this will sometimes be a fertility specialist, but more likely your doctor.

We’ve included some tips below that may make it easier.

  • Understand if your period is regular. Having a regular cycle is a good indicator that you are ovulating. An irregular period is a cycle less than 21 days or more than 35 days, having less than 8 cycles per year or having a cycle longer than 90 days. Read more about irregular periods here.
  • Track your period. It may aid the discussion if you have a note of when your periods come and go or use a period tracking app. 
  • Don’t wait to get help. If you’re struggling to conceive and have a related condition such as irregular periods, PCOS, endometriosis or any other condition that you think could affect your chances of getting pregnant then discussing it with a healthcare professional is a good idea. You should never feel embarrassed when talking about fertility with your doctor – they really do see it all. You deserve to get all the help that you need and earlier treatment can help in the long run.
  • Understand what care the NHS can provide. Fertility care is provided depending on what local area you live in. Each area is governed by a ‘Clinical Commissioning Group’ or CCG. You can look up which CCG you fall in on the NHS website here. Once you know your CCG you can often find the fertility policy on the CCG website (however not all CCGs make these easy to find). If you’re not sure, ask your doctor to advise you, or to refer you on to a specialist. Read more about how to access care on the NHS here.
  • Prepare for your appointment. Unfortunately, GP appointments in the UK are short. Preparing in advance for the conversation is a good idea. Take your period diary with you and write down any symptoms you’ve been experiencing that you think may be related. If you have specific questions you want to ask, write them down so you don’t forget on the day.
  • Ask questions during the appointment. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. There are no ‘silly’ questions and it is better to share these with your doctor so they have the chance to address them.
  • Cover the difficult things. If you have any associated symptoms make sure you let your doctor know. It’s important to let your doctor know so that they can arrange the right support.
  • Ask for another appointment if needed. Appointments with your doctor can feel too short. If this is the case, book a follow up straight after. Your doctor wants to help, and wants to have the time to hear about your symptoms. If you feel you need more specific help, ask to be referred to a fertility specialist. It is important you leave your appointments feeling more confident and in the know.

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