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How to choose the right fertility doctor

Vicken Sahakian
09 Mar 2021

The path toward parenthood is filled with many ups and downs, and having the best care possible is what can make your fertility journey exciting. While there are many different considerations to be made--from selecting procedure to third-party members--your fertility clinic will guide you with their experience and knowledge. 

Choosing a doctor that can actually help you get pregnant is obviously the top priority of any fertility patient. Once you narrow down your search to reputable, competent doctors with high success rates the real work begins. Some of the factors you may want to entertain when considering a fertility specialist are listed below. 

Be careful and analytical when selecting your fertility clinic but, as with most things, trusting your gut is very important here. Choosing a doctor that can help you achieve your dreams of pregnancy is the top priority of any patient, but remember that you’re not only selecting a doctor--you’re also selecting their fertility clinic. 

How to pick the right fertility doctor

Once you narrow down your search to reputable, competent doctors and fertility clinics with high success rates the real work begins. Factors you may want to consider when choosing a fertility specialist team are as follows. 

1. Fertility clinic staff

From nurses to front office and billing, everyone in this environment should make you feel excited and hopeful. While the doctor is an important aspect of fertility medicine, even the greatest doctor in the world is only as good as her/his staff. Patients must rely on the office staff to schedule appointments, carry out the doctors’ orders, coordinate treatments, facilitate testing, and monitor progress. 

Also, knowledgeable staff can help patients avoid dangerous complications and improve their chance of success.  Not to mention, good staff improves the entire “feeling” of a clinic. Never underestimate the mood or energy you feel. 

2. Facilities and services

Just as a doctor is only as good as their staff, pregnancy rates can only be as good as the embryology laboratory. Who is the head embryologist? Does the lab have modern equipment like lasers and current incubators? Is the lab adequately staffed? Can the lab perform all the necessary procedures or do they have outside experts come in for procedures like PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis)

Additionally, ensuring you’re selecting a clinic with the right services for you is a must. From fertility testing and diagnosis to IUI, IVF, and fertility preservation, remember to review these services at your clinic and make sure you'll be able to reach your goals with the clinic you select.

It can be hard to find out information about a laboratory, but if you ask a doctor, they should be able to tell you about all the details of their lab.  

3. Level of communication 

Communication is the most critical component of a great fertility practice. Is the doctor available to answer your questions?  Do you get the run-around when you call the office?  Do staff answer your emails?  Do they remember who you are? If you call someone, do they call back? 

Furthermore, when you talk to the doctor, does she/he make an effort to help you understand the process? Good communication is a sign of a functioning organization. Ultimately, you want to trust your care and embryos to a well-functioning agency and clinic.   

4. Pricing packages and options 

Fertility treatment is expensive, there is no doubt about it. However, finding a clinic that is “reasonably” priced can mean the difference between being able to, or not being able to, access care for some patients. 

It becomes obvious when a clinic’s top priority is making money as opposed to making babies. Does your clinic offer payment plans or financing options? Do they accept insurance? Do they collaborate with financing partners? If money seems more important than care, the clinic’s priorities may not be in the right place. 

5. Clinic accessibility

Is your doctor accessible for appointments? Can you make an appointment around your schedule, or are you supposed to stop your life and fit it into their schedule? Fertility treatment is hard enough, your clinic should not make it harder with impossible hours and inflexible appointment times.

Usually, location should not be the determining factor when selecting a fertility clinic. Traveling is common when undergoing IVF and other fertility treatments, and it’s well worth visiting someone farther away for a better chance at fertility. 

However, Covid-19’s impact on the world has made travel across state and country boundaries more difficult. Because of this, consulting with different fertility clinics to hear about their processes will be important to determining the right clinic for you. 

Quality trumps location here--when making such a commitment, the potential outcomes must be considered. Because surrogacy and egg donation are not legal in some states and countries, most fertility clinics will accept patients from anywhere in the world. IVF treatment requires patients to be near the clinic for 5-10 days, so many people travel across the world for their IVF treatment. 

To prepare for travel during Covid-19 for fertility treatment, consult with your fertility clinic or research about how to best prepare. 

6. Success rates

Every clinic is required to report annual IVF cycles and pregnancies to the Center for Disease and Control Prevention (CDC), so you can see into the treatments performed and success rates of the clinic’s history. 

However, it’s important to know that certain fertility clinics don’t report unsuccessful or complicated fertility cycles, or simply turn away patients with extremely low chances of fertility to keep their success rates high. Because of this, publicly available success rates aren’t the most reliable factor when picking your fertility clinic and you should always consult with the IVF clinic’s staff and doctors throughout this step. 

Success rates are important, but comparing one clinic’s success rates to another’s isn’t an apples-to-apples comparison since you don’t know what goes on behind closed doors or how accurate their success rates actually are. 

To find success rates for clinics, visit the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology

Find your perfect fertility doctor

Whether you're looking for someone that specializes in LGBTQ+ IVF or you're considering Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), it's important that you feel heard and comforted by the people surrounding your fertility journey. 

It’s gratifying that advanced reproductive technology can help so many different people who aspire to be parents. However, the process can be both complicated, emotional and expensive. Our best advice is to consult experts and gather information for informed decisions. Your doctor can discuss the different types of treatment that may work best for you. It is also important to understand the various success rates and know what your insurance will or will not cover.

Get in touch with us today, and we'd love to address any concerns or questions you might have as you begin your fertility journey. 

Note: This is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Information provided is for general educational purposes only and is subject to change without notice. Speak to your doctor directly with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Any information contained herein does not replace any care plan as determined by a physician. 

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