If you are ready to choose a fertility specialist, you might be overwhelmed with information and emotion. It is difficult to choose the best doctor when you feel excited, sad, nervous and confused, but you need to do more than a Google search. We've got your back. Here are a few things to consider when you are choosing which doctor and clinic to work with:
Insurance and Payment
You and your partner need to take the financial aspect of family planning seriously. If you are fortunate enough to have medical insurance that covers infertility treatments, call the fertility clinic to see if your insurance is accepted there. If you are paying for treatments out of pocket, speak to the finance department of every clinic you are considering. Get estimates of how much general treatment costs, including the initial consultation, and the breakdown of additional costs like medications, procedures out of the office and embryo care. The office should be upfront with you and realistic about the costs. Finally, ask the finance department if they offer payment plans and if any cost reductions are possible. For example, some clinics run IVF cycles at discounted rates for uninsured customers a few times per year.
Location, Location, Location
When researching clinics, consider the distance between the clinic and your home, your work and your partner's work. During your cycles, you may be visiting your clinic from a few times a week to once a day. If you have to drive hours to a clinic, you will need to prepare emotionally and financially for the trek to and from treatments.
Pick a fertility clinic that offers hours that fit within your schedule. When you are visiting the office a few times per week during a cycle, it might be difficult to have multiple appointments during work hours. Early morning hours are common in the infertility industry, so double-check that your clinic offers a variety of appointment times. Also ask about the on-call policy for off hours to see if you can reach your doctor for emergency questions. It can be very stressful and frustrating if you can't ask your doctor a question during the evening about a medication or protocol in the middle of a cycle. Finally, ask if the office has medications in the office or at a neighboring hospital or if you will need to order medicines through the mail. This can make a big difference if you are paying out of pocket and are purchasing meds as you go.
If you don't care about personality as long as your doctor knows her stuff, then you can make bedside manner a lower priority. But if you are looking for a friendly and approachable doctor, find one. Your fertility doctor and nurses will become an intimate part of your family for months or years, so make sure that you trust them and like them. Go with your gut, and remember that you can always switch doctors if you end up having a bad experience.
It is completely acceptable to ask your fertility doctor or clinic staff for their success rates for the procedures that you are following. However, be realistic and realize that every case is unique.
To find a list of reproductive endocrinologists throughout the United States, check out the U.S. News & World Report Doctor Finder.