1) How long will my new patient appointment last?
- Your initial appointment will last approximately 3 – 3 ½ hours.
2) How is the parking?
- Brookwood Medical Center (located in Birmingham) is a very large facility that serves many different specialties. Therefore, there are many different parking decks on campus. Please allow yourself approximately 15 minutes to park and get to our office for your first appointment. There is a 2 story parking garage attached to our office building (Women’s Medical Plaza or WMP) but it can sometimes fill up quickly. We also recommend parking in the deck nearest to highway 31 (just across from the ramp) and the WMP. Parking in the deck will cost approximately $3-$4. Lastly, there is valet parking outside of the WMP for a cost of $7.
- There is no parking deck for those patients being seen in the Montgomery, Huntsville, or Tuscaloosa. Those locations have surface parking free of charge outside of the office.
3) What should I expect with my first appointment?
- Again, the appointment could last up to 3 ½ hours and you will most likely do the following:
- Physician visit – Approximately 30 minutes meeting with your physician going over medical history and reasons for the visit.
- Blood draw – Approximately 5-10 minutes having you and your partners blood drawn
- Female exam – Approximately 30 – 45 minutes for the female to have a physical exam and ultrasound
- Male evaluation – Approximately 30 minutes for the male to collect for a semen analysis. This can be done while the partner is getting her exam done.
- Nursing visit – Approximately 30-45 minutes for nursing to review our patient voicemail, plan instructions, and medications.
- Financial visit – Approximately 30 minutes for our financial counselor to go over your benefits and let you know the anticipated costs for all services.
4) Is it unusual that I am here seeking fertility services?
- It is not uncommon that you and your partner are here. The ART Program sees thousands of patients per year experiencing infertility. Also, approximately 1 in 8 couples experience infertility and consults with a physician.
5) What percentage is male factor infertility?
- Approximately 30-40% of all infertility cases are related to male factors.
6) Do I need to fast before my appointment?
- No, there is no need to fast for the 1st appointment as a new patient. However, due to the length of the appointment, we recommend that you eat before your visit or bring a snack.
7) Should I abstain from intercourse before my appointment?
- Yes, you should abstain from intercourse for approximately 2-3 days before your new patient visit.
8) What if I have additional questions after my appointment?
- You may feel very overwhelmed with information after your first appointment. That’s ok and totally normally! After your first appointment, you should be setup in our patient voicemail (https://messages.artprogramal.com). The patient voicemail center gives you real-time information from our nursing team by sending you email notifications. Feel free to call our nurse message center at 205-803-1900 at anytime to leave your questions. However, all messages left after 2:00PM will not be returned until the next business day.
- Lastly, our website is continuously updated with information and materials from ACOG (American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists). The website has very useful information for you to quickly review.
In our Program, the first step is a comprehensive review of all aspects regarding the cause or causes of infertility. You may have completed an initial evaluation for infertility with your gynecologist prior to referral to our Program. You may have also completed corrective procedures or therapy without obtaining a pregnancy. An assessment of your previous medical history, evaluation and therapy will guide us toward providing the specific form of care that is indicated for you. We will review your information with you at your initial appointment and a treatment plan will be established for your care. Basic tests may be performed on the initial visit such as hormonal assays, ovulation evaluation and cervical cultures. These basic tests are performed before a decision is made for further studies.
The first evaluation for a male begins with a semen analysis. Results determined from a semen specimen tell about the state of sperm production and delivery. We would like to obtain a semen analysis on your initial visit. You may collect as a couple or solo in our private collection suites.
As information regarding your fertility is collected, we will develop and modify your treatment plan based on these factors. Any therapy must have an adequate trial. In couples without fertility problems, the best chance of pregnancy per cycle is estimated to be 15-25%. Thus, in four cycles with all parameters corrected, 50 – 60% of couples can expect to see results. We will attempt to achieve a pregnancy for approximately three to four cycles with a particular therapy if it has corrected the identified problems. Your care during this time will be closely monitored by a physician; a nurse or nurse practitioner will also participate in your care. If pregnancy does not occur, we will investigate more unusual causes of infertility specific to you or as a couple, and again, modify your treatment. You will meet with your physician to modify your treatment.
After the evaluation process, a treatment plan will be proposed and implemented that may include several options. A financial counselor will review these options to help you in making your choices.
For your initial visit you will want to bring:
- Medical records, any pictures or videos of surgery
- List of your menstrual cycles
- Your calendar for scheduling
- List of questions you may want to ask of your care providers
Ideally, both you and your partner should attend the initial consultation that may last approximately 1-2 hours. During this initial visit, the doctor will review both of your histories and will discuss your previous therapy and your options for future care at the ART Fertility Program, as well as counsel you about risks and benefits of your individualized care plan. Often, the CRNP will perform a physical exam on the woman, including a breast exam, pap smear and vaginal cultures. Future consultations may be performed in any of our offices including Huntsville, Montgomery or Tuscaloosa as a convenience to our patients. These are performed via videoconsultations. Patients have found this method as valuable as in person consultation.
You will meet with one of our nursing staff during your initial visit. She will review your evaluation and care plan and management of your cycle according to the physician’s direction. She will explain how we work as a team, how we communicate with you using the patient voicemail system and plans for your future visits. She will also discuss details of testing that may be indicated during your cycle.
You may be required to give a blood sample during your visit. You will be escorted by one of the nurses to our lab where a sample will be drawn for diagnostic testing. The results of these tests will direct the next plan of action in your cycle. During your cycle, there may be several occasions when you will have blood drawn and/or ultrasound studies performed. This will be reviewed by the nurse.
As you begin treatment with our Program, you will notice that the physicians and nurses work as a team to provide your care. The nursing department consists of a team of certified registered nurse practitioners, registered nurses and licensed practical nurses. These professionals have specialized training in infertility treatment and counseling. The nursing team consults daily with the physicians to discuss patient care and treatment plans. Since our staff is comprised of professionals who dedicate a significant amount of time and energy providing individual care for each patient, there is a separate charge for certain nursing services. If your insurance provides nurse practitioner coverage certain services may be provided by the nurse practitioner.
Once a course of treatment has been prescribed for you, one of our financial counselors will meet with you to discuss your insurance, approximate costs based on your treatment plan and our financial policies. If your treatment plan changes or if you have any questions regarding billing, a financial counselor is available to provide information and assistance.
We require payment at the time the services are rendered. We accept:
- Credit Card
We do not accept cash in our Huntsville, Montgomery or Tuscaloosa offices. We are providers for:
- Blue Cross/Blue Shield PMD
- United Health Care
- Health Choice
- Health Springs
- Private Healthcare System
- Humana Tricare
- Great West
Therefore, we will file these claims. Co-payments, co-insurance deductibles and non-covered services must be paid at the time of each service. We will file claims with commercial insurance for major surgical procedures and when benefits for our services can be verified prior to the treatment. If we do not file your insurance, we will provide you with the necessary information to file your claims. You will be required to make full payment at the time services are rendered if we cannot file your claim.
We contract with many insurance companies for the convenience of our patients. Understanding insurance benefits can be confusing, especially in the area of infertility coverage. As a service for our patients, the ART Fertility Program verifies insurance benefits before your initial office visit. We request that you immediately notify our office of any changes in your insurance coverage; otherwise, we will be unable to assist you with verification.