In order to find the best fertility clinic for oneself, one needs to take time to research any clinic one considers. Do not choose the first place that does return one’s call; pursuing fertility testing and also treatment is indeed a big step and can also involve big money and lots of time. One wants to choose only the best.
Selecting a fertility clinic is a personal matter and also very subjective. The best clinic for one’s friend may or may not be the best for oneself. One can make inquiries with one’s friends, doctor, insurance company, and local support group for recommendations, but one needs to be sure to investigate any clinic one considers oneself.
When researching clinics, one can find information:
- On their websites
- On the CDC’s fertility clinic statistics report page (more on that below)
- By speaking to a clinic representative over the phone or in person
- By speaking with current or former patients (found through local infertility support groups)
- By meeting as well as interviewing one’s potential doctor at a consultation
Considering the Fertility Specialists
A fertility clinic is considered to be good if its doctors are good. Depending on how the clinic operates, one can be assigned one particular doctor, or one may see a few different doctors on a rotating basis. There are advantages as well as disadvantages to both setups, but usually, one wants one doctor as one main contact and case manager.
What questions arise while choosing a doctor?
- Do they take the time to answer one’s questions? Can one ask questions via email during testing as well as treatment? In case they are not willing to meet with one before one chooses them, then they may not have the time for one when that does happen to be a patient.
- When and where were they trained? Are they, in fact, board-certified reproductive endocrinologists?
- Does one’s clinic have an andrologist on staff? Reproductive surgeons? If one does happen to be dealing with male infertility issues, it is important to have an andrologist. If one is dealing with endometriosis or any structural issues, a reproductive surgeon is a plus and also possibly a must.
- Which hospitals are they affiliated with? Does that hospital take one’s insurance? Even if one’s insurance does not cover fertility treatment, in case one does need to be hospitalized due to complications of treatment, one wants to be covered.
- How long has the director been with the clinic? What about the other staff members? The longer people stay with the clinic, the more likely the working environment runs smoothly.
- How many reproductive endocrinologists work at the clinic? Will one’s case is in fact handled by one doctor or a team, and who will be able to see oneself on a visit? If one case is complicated, having a team can indeed be very useful. On the other hand, needing to deal with a different doctor at every appointment can rather feel impersonal.
- What questions to discuss with the doctor include?
- Is there an age cutoff for treatment? How about a cutoff for FSH levels?
- Where are procedures as well as tests done? Does the clinic, in fact, have in fact an on-site lab, or will one need to go elsewhere?
- What procedures are in fact possible at this clinic? Do they do IVF clinic in Hyderabad? ICSI? Blastocyst transfer or other assisted reproductive technology options? Are the procedures rather performed at the clinic or elsewhere? If at a hospital, which hospital? If one lives far from the clinic, can certain tests as well as procedures be done closer to one’s home?
- What donor or surrogacy options are available? Does the clinic run a donor program or must one use an agency? If they have a donor program, is one limited to donors from their program, or can one make use of an agency if one wants? Do they offer embryo donation services? What if one decides to donate any of one’s leftover embryos, either to another infertile couple or to science?
Can they also help you with that?
What procedures are they recommending for your particular case? Will they consider ovarian stimulating drugs alone, or IUI before moving on to IVF? How many cycles of IUI will they, in fact, agree to try? Different clinics may also recommend different treatment plans, and one may be more favorable to oneself.
- How many embryos are transferred in one cycle? And who decides how many embryos are transferred: the doctor or the patient?
- Who decides whether or not the given cycle is canceled if the response is less than optimal? Can one request that the cycle is continued anyway, even if the possibility for success is low?
- Is the clinic a member of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART)? Do they also adhere to ASRM guidelines?
- Do they report their IVF success statistics to CDC? If yes, one should be able to find their success statistics with this fertility clinic finder. One can also look up statistics on the CDC’s website.
- Is the lab accredited by the College of American Pathologists or by the Joint Commission? One can confirm accreditation on the College of American Pathologist’s website, searching by the zip code of the clinic one is investigating.
- Does the lab perform cryopreservation of embryos? What about eggs and sperm? Where are the embryos, eggs, or sperm stored? What emergency procedures do they have in the case of a power outage or earthquake?
More factors to consider before choosing a clinic:
- Where is the clinic? Many people are not really lucky enough to live next to the clinic they did in fact require. Travel time is an important factor to consider, especially if one is doing IVF, as one may also indeed need to be at the clinic almost every day for part of one’s cycle. If one does need to travel, one also does need to remember one will need lodging and time off from work.
- Is the staff pleasant? One is likely to be working with the clinic for months, and possibly years. Do they answer one’s questions? Are they also courteous and helpful on the phone? Or does one feel like they are rushing one along?
- What days and hours is the clinic open? Are there extra early hours or evening hours, so one can have monitoring appointments before or after work? Are they also open for the weekend? In case it is not so then how do they handle IVF or IUI transfers that do need to occur on a Saturday or Sunday?
- Are there particular hours one can call to ask questions or get updates from one’s doctor or a nurse? How are calls handled that are outside of office hours?
- Do they offer any special services beyond basic fertility treatment? Do they have an on-staff counselor in order to help one work through one’s options? Do they have support groups?