Before and After Your Visit
So you’ve been TTC without success for a year (if you’re 34 or younger) or six months if you’re 35 or older. You’ve decided to consider fertility treatment. How do you find a reproductive endocrinologist to guide you through the ups and downs of IVF and help you get the baby you want so badly? There are five important things to consider when choosing a fertility specialist. Some of them you can find out before your first visit, and others you will find out during or after your initial consultation.
What is the Fertility Clinic’s Success Rate?
To find out the real data on a given fertility center, go to sart.org, the website of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART). 85% of all US fertility clinics report their data to SART, which is a voluntary system that charges a fee to file clinic statistics. Virtually all fertility clinics report their results to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as this is a mandatory requirement. SART collects the results of each center’s treatment and reports it on their website in an easily searchable format. Don’t rely on what a fertility clinic’s website says—go to the horse’s mouth and see the data on SART’s website. Sometimes fertility clinics will show high success rates by using measures such as clinical pregnancy. The measure that counts is live birth rate. Look at the live birth rate in your age category as a standard.
That said, be aware that a clinic’s success rate may be high because they turn away older women or more difficult cases. So take live birth rate with a grain of salt, but it is a way to get an idea of how well their treatment works. Look at more than one year of data. How long has the clinic been in operation? What is their track record? Are they consistent?
What is the Fertility Specialist’s Reputation?
Your OB/GYN may recommend a specialist to you. Ask him or her why this physician is recommended. Also do some research online and in your community. If your insurance company gives you any coverage for fertility treatment, you may want to investigate their in-network specialists. Does the reproductive endocrinologist do research? Does she teach in a university hospital? Is he/she fellowship trained? How much experience does she have? Younger doctors may be more cutting edge in treatments and technology, while older doctors have judgment and have “seen it all.”
How Convenient is the Fertility Center?
Location, location, location, as they say in real estate–this can be extremely important because you will have to come to the fertility center frequently over a two week period for monitoring once your IVF cycle begins. Some centers have a central laboratory and surgical suite and have monitoring offices in more widespread locations. If you’re not in a large metropolitan area you may not have as many choices and may have to drive quite a distance for fertility treatment. Wherever you live, you can try to find a fertility clinic that has early morning, evening or weekend hours so you don’t have to miss much time from work. If you choose a fertility center that isn’t in easy driving distance or with public transit options, find out if they have a concierge to help you with hotel rooms or other travel arrangements. Some practices are even used to accommodating foreign patients who travel for IVF treatment.
What is the Office Staff Like?
It is your right as a patient to be treated with respect, to have your questions answered, and to be treated as an individual. When you come for your first visit, are they friendly or impersonal? Are they courteous and patient with your questions and concerns? You don’t want to be treated like Patient Number Whatever. Emotional support and mental health services should be available to you. Fertility treatment is fraught with emotions, and the clinic should be comfortable dealing with your needs.
Do You Feel Confident in the Fertility Specialist?
When you go for your initial consultation, you will spend some quality time with the fertility specialist. How well does this doctor communicate with you? Does she explain what tests you and your partner will need to have, and discuss how your treatment plan will be developed? Does the specialist explain your realistic chances of success with each treatment option? Does he listen to your questions and give you answers that you understand? Do you feel comfortable with him or her? Choosing a doctor is not a personality contest, but if you don’t feel comfortable or confident, think twice before committing. Some doctors are not big on the bedside manner but are technically extremely proficient. If you have confidence in your reproductive endocrinologist, you can feel encouraged about your chances of success.
Need Help Finding a Fertility Clinic?
If you’re ready to pursue IVF treatment, WIN Fertility can help. WINFertility’s FertilityCoachSM Nurses or professionally-trained Patient Specialists can help you find an excellent reproductive endocrinologist in your area and get discounted treatment packages and financing options.
WINFertility provides lower than market-rate Treatment and Medication Bundles which combine medical services for a single IVF treatment and medications at a discounted “pay-as-you-go” price saving you up to 40% off the total cost of your treatment cycle. The bundle is tailored for your specific treatment plan, and you only pay for the treatment you need, unlike traditional multi-cycle discount plans in which you pay for up to 6 attempts that you may never need in order to receive a discount. For those patients who think they may need an additional IVF attempt to become pregnant, the WINFertility 2nd Chance IVF Refund Program helps control costs, maximizes your chance of success and minimizes your risk of overpaying.