On top of dealing with fertility struggles, seeking out the right fertility clinic for you can seem like a daunting task. There are a lot of different factors you will need to consider when finding the clinic that is right for you.
While your doctor will likely give you a referral to a clinic, it is helpful to do your homework beforehand. Not all fertility clinics and doctors are the same. Each clinic and doctor is unique. By doing some research and asking the right questions, you can work towards finding a clinic that will help you feel more comfortable throughout the journey ahead.
You want to try and find a doctor and clinic that will help make infertility and the treatment process go more smoothly for you emotionally as well as physically. Fertility treatments can be a long and mentally draining process.
Questions to Ask to Find the Right Clinic for You
While there is no one size fits all list of questions for you to ask, the following examples will help lead you in the right direction. You may wish to ask more questions regarding topics below or even on a more personal level.
1. Are your doctors board certified and trained in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility?
A fertility specialist trains for an additional two to three years to become a Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility specialist once they have completed four years of Obstetrics and Gynecology Residency. You will want to make sure that your doctors have a high level of training and expertise within their field.
2. What is the IVF success rate?
You will be able to look up each clinic’s success rates on the SART website within the USA. Some clinics may even have this information published on their own websites. Depending on the size of the clinic, they may not all have the same data available. The number of live births, not just pregnancies, will be one of the things you should search for.
When looking into success rates, you can also look into the success rate of the individual doctors at the clinic. Studies show that the live birth rate following an embryo transfer is greatly influenced by the physician performing the procedure.
3. What sort of technology do you use?
Another thing that is important to understand is the science and technology offered at the clinic you are researching. Some clinics will do things differently and you will want to make sure that you find a method that you are comfortable with using.
Fertility is an evolving scientific field, it is important to find a clinic that uses and offers the most up-to-date reproductive technologies. You might want to find a clinic that offers things such as PGS embryo genetic testing, tissue cryopreservation, and embryo biopsy.
4. How flexible is scheduling?
With many fertility treatments your cycle monitoring appointments will be done first thing in the morning. So make sure to find a clinic that will work within your availability. If you are rushing to make it back to work, you may want to find out if they usually run on schedule or behind. You will also want to see how long the wait time may be for an initial appointment as many clinics will vary depending on patient load and staffing.
5. How experienced are your lab technicians?
Even if you are at the very beginning of your fertility testing, it is worth noting the lab procedures and experience of your clinic. Your lab technician and their expertise can be the deciding factor on if your IVF cycle goes successfully.
6. Will insurance cover anything?
It is important to ask your fertility clinic if they offer insurance coverage or if it will all be out of pocket. You may choose a clinic based on if it is covered by your insurance or not. Fertility treatments can become costly rather quickly, but make sure that the clinic you choose is the one you feel most comfortable with.
You may find that the clinic that takes your insurance, may not feel like the best fit for you. Some clinics have financial service specialists that can help you to determine what your insurance will cost and if you can qualify for any assistance programs.
7. What are the doctor’s philosophies?
Find out if your doctor is open to alternative therapies such as diet changes, chiropractic work, and acupuncture. Some doctors may look at things as a “one size fits all” tactic, while others will want to heal your body to help you become pregnant with less interventions or medication.
8. How do you support your patients throughout treatments?
While you want to make sure that you like and trust your fertility doctor, you will also want to research staff. You will be seeing the fertility clinic staff members very often throughout your monitoring appointments, follow ups, and with any questions that may arise. You want to find staff members that will be there for you emotionally throughout the good and bad that may occur. Ask if they will be available if you have a question after business hours or if they provide a nurse hotline. Fertility treatments can feel emotionally draining, so finding people that you know you can count on will help things go more smoothly.
Seeking a Fertility Counselor
Infertility can be very overwhelming. If you feel that trying to conceive and your fertility struggles are taking over your life you may want to search out a fertility counselor. A counselor can help you to develop strategies and skills to cope with feelings such as depression or anxiety that infertility can cause.
They can help to improve your relationship with your partner as you undergo treatments and also help you to determine which treatments are right for you.