Practical Tips for Choosing an Infertility Clinic
Choosing an infertility clinic can feel like a daunting task. There’s so much information to digest. Follow these practical tips for finding the right infertility clinic to help you fulfill your dream of becoming a parent.
There are so many factors to consider when choosing the right infertility clinic. And each of us has a different gauge by which we measure “right”, so when you throw your partner’s thoughts and feelings into the mix, it feels kind of like throwing darts blindfolded. (Which might actually be a nice change of pace – to throw a needle and land it in someone else’s derriere for once, right?)
We put the question to our Facebook Support Group, asking them what criteria they used when choosing an infertility clinic or specialist to help them create their family.
Financial Concerns Ranked First When Choosing an Infertility Clinic
Not surprisingly, financial concerns – particularly insurance coverage – dictated where many patients chose to pursue treatment. As one of our members put it, “Insurance coverage was top on my list! My insurance stipulated which clinic I had to use if I wanted coverage, so that’s where we went. Fortunately, it was one of two that my ob/gyn recommended.”
But insurance coverage and network approval aren’t the only financial considerations when choosing an infertility clinic. Researching a clinic’s success rates and whether they offer some sort of guarantee of those success rates are part of financial planning for many patients. As Amy said,
“We chose our IVF clinic because they offered a free info session and had a money back guarantee program. The first one we visited didn’t offer any of those things – we had to pay $400+ just for info.”
These kinds of “guarantee programs” have become more common for clinics to offer.
Location Matters. A Lot.
Knowing that visits to the clinic will be frequent and have to be scheduled around work hours, transportation issues, and other location factors forces many infertility patients to prioritize location when choosing an infertility clinic.
Normandy chose a clinic that was conveniently close because “You don’t want a doctor who is an hour away because you’re going to have to see them often!”
Beth switched to a clinic that was “on a bus line with stops right at both my work and the clinic.”
Julia also took location very seriously when choosing a clinic “that was on my way to work. Because I knew there would be a lot of morning blood draws, lunchtime ultrasounds etc.”
Those location factors can be additional stressors to an already demanding process. Amanda summed up the “stress factor” of her clinic’s location by saying,
“I wanted one that was nearby because the stress of infertility is enough… I didn’t want the added stress of a long commute.”
Not everyone is lucky enough to live conveniently close to a reputable, successful clinic and some of our Support Group members reported that they only had one option for an infertility clinic where they lived.
Getting a Feel for the Clinic & RE
Sometimes, a patient has less concrete criteria by which she weighs her decision. Kerstin finally landed with a clinic that “totally nailed the fine line between professional and personal.” That fine line is different for every woman and certainly needs to be discussed with your partner or spouse so that you are both on the same page.
Kerstin was also seeking treatment as a single gal and mentioned that she had to talk with a couple of clinics before she found one that would work with a single woman and felt like a good fit for her needs. (She’s in Europe, so it’s different procedures for a lot of these processes.) It’s so important to be confident that the provider you choose “gets” you and your life.
Amy declined to proceed with one clinic to which she was recommended because she didn’t feel quite comfortable: “The doctor was…crazy. He doesn’t do IVF transfers in the summer because of the position of the moon…!” (By the way, the moon’s position in summer is not quite what we mean when we say that “location matters.”)
Other Common Considerations When Choosing an Infertility Clinic
Of course, there are other criteria patients considers when choosing an infertility clinic. Word of mouth, whether it comes from a friend who has been through treatment or a recommendation from a trusted medical professional, is a very common consideration.
There are several other criteria that patients find important in choosing where to go to build their family. Not surprisingly, these other criteria include many of the pretty typical factors one would consider when embarking on any big medical procedure:
- The doctor’s years of experience
- The doctor’s/clinic’s success rate. We have a great guide to help you understand how to use the success rate stats.
- The type of treatments offered.
Financial concerns, like insurance and money-back guarantees, and location or convenience of access are important parts of Setting Your Limits In Infertility Treatment, as well as choosing what infertility provider with whom you wish to work. Turns out, sometimes it also comes down to getting the right “fit” between you and your doctor. Being comfortable and confident in your clinic’s ability to treat your infertility and care for you as a whole person is no small deal.
Image credit: Tristan Fairchok