Preparing for your appointment

By Mayo Clinic Staff

You're likely to start by seeing your family doctor or a general practitioner. However, when you call to set up an appointment, you may be referred to a specialist.

Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment, and what to expect from your doctor.

What you can do

  • Be aware of any pre-appointment restrictions. At the time you make the appointment, be sure to ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as refraining from ejaculating for a certain period of time or stopping certain medications.
  • Write down any symptoms you're experiencing, including any that may seem unrelated to the reason for which you scheduled the appointment.
  • Write down key personal information, including any major stresses or recent life changes.
  • Find out whether you have a family history of fertility problems. Having a male blood relative, such as your brother or father, with fertility problems or other reproductive issues may give clues to the cause of fertility problems.
  • Make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements that you're taking.
  • Take your partner along. For infertility, your partner may also need tests to see whether she has any fertility problems that could be preventing pregnancy. It's also good to have your partner along to help keep track of any instructions your doctor gives you or to ask questions you may not think of.
  • Write down questions to ask your doctor.

Questions to ask your doctor

  • What do you suspect may be interfering with my ability to father a child?
  • Other than the most likely cause, what are other possible reasons my partner and I haven't been able to conceive a child?
  • What kinds of tests do I need?
  • Will my partner also need tests?
  • What's the best treatment for my condition?
  • What are the alternatives to the primary approach that you're suggesting?
  • Are there any restrictions that I need to follow?
  • Should I see a specialist?
  • Is there a generic alternative to the medicine you're prescribing me?
  • Are there any brochures or other printed material that I can take home with me? What websites do you recommend visiting?

Don't hesitate to ask questions at any time during your appointment.

What to expect from your doctor

Be ready to answer questions your doctor is likely to ask:

  • At what age did you start puberty?
  • Have you had any sexual problems in this relationship, including difficulty maintaining an erection, ejaculating too soon or not being able to ejaculate?
  • Have you ever fathered a child?
  • Have you had a vasectomy or a vasectomy reversal?
  • Do you use illegal drugs, such as marijuana, cocaine or anabolic steroids?
  • Have you been exposed to toxins such as chemicals, pesticides, radiation or lead, especially on a regular basis?
  • Are you currently taking any medications, including dietary supplements?
  • Do you regularly take hot baths or steam baths?
Sep. 15, 2012