6 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Virtual Fertility Consultation
For most of us, this year (2020) has been dominated by a running list of things that “just don’t feel like they used to.” From daily changes like wearing a mask in public, to bigger moments like forgoing large family gatherings and not blowing out birthday candles, it seems like many of our memories this year are shadows of their former selves. To add to the upside down nature of our lives right now, infertility can be an overwhelming journey in its own right.
So when you find out that you need to pursue fertility assistance during a pandemic, where do you even begin?
How do you make sure that in the age of zoom meetings and virtual check-ups that you're getting as good of care, if not better, than if we didn't have to mind these socially distant guidelines?
It comes as no surprise that the family building process has also had to adjust so that we keep our patients, our staff, and all the future families we’re working to build safe. How does a fertility practice achieve this, while offering the same high-quality care?
It all begins with the virtual fertility consultation.
The Virtual Fertility Consultation: What Can I Expect?
Here at RMA of Connecticut, we’ve updated our practice policies to keep patients and staff as safe as possible, keeping waiting room capacity and in-office visits to a minimum. This means that the telehealth visit (a video consultation), is how each patient is meeting their doctor for the very first time. While at first this was an adjustment, it seems that both patients and physicians are adjusting to this new way of getting acquainted.
A Zoom consultation gives you, the patient, many advantages early on in the family building journey:
- You have the opportunity to join from home - even from the comfort of your couch.
- You can choose a time that fits within your schedule. This alone can be challenging during a busy workday, and removing the commute to the clinic can save lots of time!
- It potentially alleviates some of the anxiety related to being at a doctor’s office in real life.
- It helps the doctors get to know the real you. They love the opportunity to see a glimpse into your world, talk to you while you’re comfortable, and even meet a cute pet.
Despite all of the “pros” to these virtual consultations, our team has seen its share of obstacles as well. Check out the list below for six things you can do to make the most of your virtual fertility consultation.
How to Have a Great Zoom Call with Your Doctor
1. Be present
Literally! Whether you and your partner are working from home together, or are in different locations, try to both be available for this appointment. The language of fertility treatment is new and different for many patients so hearing your personal plan from the doctor’s mouth is important.
Additionally, try to limit distractions. Set your phone or work email on Do Not Disturb for that thirty or sixty minute window, so you can absorb information and ask any questions that you may have.
2. Tech matters
The bigger the screen, the better! If you have access to it, a laptop or desktop is the best way to join your virtual consultation. Our own Dr. Joshua Hurwitz has noticed that the connection to the Zoom meeting seems to be more stable on a laptop, as opposed to a handheld device. The bigger screen also allows your doctor to share images, slides, and results easily!
3. Make sure to highlight your good side
We’re all trying to make our home offices work, even if our “office” is a kitchen table. We understand that this can be a struggle. One quick tip, no matter where you’re joining from, try not to have a bright light behind you if it’s possible - a sunny window or overhead light can make it difficult for your doctor to see your face and connect with you!
3. Don't rock the boat
Our doctors have seen it all - from Zoom consultations conducted on a walk outside to someone in the car on the way to work. We recommend being in a quiet, stationary place where you can sit and listen. Walking around or jostling your device can disrupt your connection, and can make it hard to focus for the provider on the other end!
4. Take notes
Don’t worry, there isn’t going to be a test. But, as we mentioned above, the language and processes of fertility treatment can be new and confusing for many. Don’t be afraid to write things down or to come to your consultation prepared with questions. That’s what we’re here for.
Taking notes can also help with the questions that will come up after the call. “What did the doctor say, again?” is a common thought after such a big consultation. Please know our team is always here to answer any questions you may have after your consultation, or at any time, for that matter. Don’t ever hesitate to reach out.
5. Taking things "offline"
While your consultation and some follow-up appointments are virtual right now, most fertility journeys will still involve at least one trip to the office, if not more. Here at RMA of Connecticut, we have seven providers and multiple office locations to help patients from all over the map. While each doctor is able to meet patients virtually, they might not be going in-person to each office - which is something to keep in mind when choosing your provider and making your consultation appointment.
Do You Feel Ready for Your Virtual Fertility Consultation?
About Emma Lott
Emma is the brand specialist for Gay Parents To Be, helping to build awareness of the brand not only as a direct path to parenthood, but also as a general resource for fertility information in the LGBTQ community. She loves the chance to attend conferences on LGBTQ health and family building, and meet prospective patients.