How to Choose the Best Fertility Clinic [Your Questions Answered]
If you are considering going to a fertility clinic, congrats! Fertility clinics have helped millions of people grow their families and can help figure out how to help you have a baby. But when should you see a fertility doctor?
We recommend speaking to a fertility doctor if you:
- Have had more than one miscarriage
- Are a woman under 35 who has been trying to conceive for more than a year
- Are a woman over 35 who has been trying to conceive for more than six months
- Are a woman over 40 who is trying to conceive
You may be thinking, “Are all fertility clinics the same?” or “How do I find the best fertility clinic for me?” Based on working with some of the best clinics in the U.S., we can tell you that they are all different and have unique approaches and advantages.
Narrow Your Search: 10 Tips on How to Choose a Fertility Clinic
The right fertility doctor will be able to tell you which fertility treatment is most effective and how it can help you become a parent. While deciphering which fertility clinic to choose can seem overwhelming, here are some easy tips to help you narrow your search and find the perfect one for you.
#1: Determine What’s Important to You
While the obvious first objective is to bring a healthy baby into the world, taking care of yourself is just as important when going through IVF.
Do you want a more personal relationship with your team? Then you may want to consider a smaller clinic. Are you more interested in having a bigger team with more resources? If so, you may want to consider a larger, more researched-based clinic that’s connected to a university.
#2: Ask a Friend
Referrals play an impactful role in choosing the best IVF clinic. While everyone’s IVF experience is unique, you can learn a ton from asking someone who’s been through it before. What clinic did they go to? What were they looking for? What did they like and dislike? Not only will this help you decide if you want to go to their clinic, but also help you figure out what exactly you’re looking for in a clinic.
"Obviously, success rates are incredibly important to us, but we definitely take a great deal of pride in how many of our clients come from referrals," says Dr. Natalia Grindler at Conceptions Reproductive Associates of Colorado. "IVF is a deeply personal experience, and referrals let us know that we are trusted providers in the community."
If you can’t get a friend recommendation, you can always check with your OBGYN for references.
#3: Location Location Location
Regardless of the specifics of your treatment, IVF requires quite a few visits to your fertility doctor. So think about how far you want to travel.
Even though it may not seem like a huge deal at first, planning around a long trip for every appointment is an easy stress to avoid if you prioritize location in your search. Some people are fine with a longer commute if they personally connect with their doctors.
#4: Office Hours That Work for Your Schedule
Finding time for all the fertility clinic appointments can be very hard if you are working a full-time job. It’s important to see if they have some days with earlier hours or evening hours that can fit it into your schedule. If not, what are their weekend office hours, and can they perform embryo transfers on the weekend as well?
#5: Society of Assisted Reproductive Technologies Certified
The Society of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART) is the primary organization of professionals dedicated to the practice of IVF. The mission of SART is to establish and maintain standards for fertility treatments so that you receive the highest possible level of care.
For a fertility clinic to be approved by SART, it must meet the highest standards for quality, safety, and patient care. Think of SART certification as the gold standard for professionalism and medicine in fertility treatments.
#6: Ask What Are the Fertility Clinic’s Success Rates
Most fertility clinics are more than happy to talk about their success rates, but make sure to ask about their success rates around any specific areas that will impact you specifically, like success rates in your age group or dealing with IVF patients with PCOS for example.
#7: Live Birth Rates to IVF Cycles
Just as success rates matter, so does the number of cycles it took to get the live birth. Are those live births connected to multiple implanted embryos to yield the higher live birth rate? Asking how many embryo transfer cycles it took for IVF to succeed is a key question to ask. You should look for a fertility clinic that has a high success rate with a low number of cycles.
When you’re researching a clinic, keep in mind any specific circumstances you have and see if you can find a place that has had some success in that area. Do they have partnerships with egg donors? Do they have experience with surrogacy? More importantly, what do their success rates look like for IVF treatments similar to what you think you’ll need?
#9: Trust Your Gut
On your quest to find a fertility doctor, don’t forget to do a gut check. For many people, IVF is unlike any medical procedure they’ve ever experienced. It can be beautiful, intense, and emotional. It’s really important that you do a gut check with your clinic, that you feel welcome and safe, and that you are receiving the best possible care.
- Tour your clinic before you decide (if you’re comfortable with that). What’s their bedside manner like? Do you feel like you could ask the fertility doctor any questions? How does it look inside? Do you feel comfortable here? How is the front desk staff?
- Check out the clinic’s social media. Does it feel authentic? Do the people seem like professionals you can trust? Sometimes they’ll even host live virtual events on their social channels like IVF 101. Sit in on one and see how they behave. Remember, it’s totally ok to pass on a clinic simply because you don’t feel good about them - your comfort is key.
#10 Cost and Financing
Budget should not prevent you from pursuing fertility treatments (that’s literally why we’re here), but figuring out your fertility financing can help you feel empowered to move forward with IVF. It’s easy to get sticker shock when you are told IVF can cost upwards of $10,000-$15,000, but there are solutions.
Some states require insurers to cover some costs, and some states don’t offer IVF insurance at all. When researching a clinic you should make sure they accept your insurance. You should also check to see if your insurance covers your IVF medications or just the cost of your treatment.
Future Family can help make the financial side of things less complicated and daunting with our fertility financing. We offer low-interest fertility loans that make paying for your fertility treatments much easier. Not only do we help spread out the cost of your treatment to make IVF more accessible, we also consolidate all of your bills into one simple payment so you have less to keep track of during an already intense time.
In addition, when you work with Future Family you have access to our Fertility Coaches, who are all registered nurses and can answer your questions. They are in your corner and will be by your side every step of the way.
What Can I Expect at My First IVF Appointment?
You can expect four things at your first IVF appointment. Your doctor will discuss:
- You and your partner’s (if applicable) medical histories and fertility issues. Your physician will map out appropriate fertility tests you or your partner may need to take to further understand the root cause of infertility.
- Your goals. When would you like to become pregnant? Are you looking for a sperm donor? Do you need to achieve a specific BMI to ensure your body achieves healthy fertility?
- Your options. Depending on your situation, your doctor will discuss possible fertility options available to you. These options may be further defined once your test results are available.
- Your questions and concerns. Every person’s situation is unique when it comes to fertility. The right doctor will ensure they have enough time for you to take charge of the conversation and ask questions.
How Do I Prepare for My First Fertility Appointment?
It’s normal to get jitters before your first fertility appointment. Ease those nerves by thoroughly preparing. Here are a few tips to get you started on the right foot:
- Do some research on your doctor. Check online reviews and forums to get a sense of the doctor’s personality and treatment methods.
- Call your insurance provider. It’s a good idea to call in advance to understand your coverage details. If a specific part or portion of your fertility appointments are covered, call the fertility clinic to ensure these coverage details align with the information they have on their end.
- Reach out to the fertility office about preliminary processes. The office will likely require you to fill out a questionnaire regarding your health history and fertility experience. If they don’t provide this to you before your first appointment, ask them for one. It can save you time at the office and give you a chance to provide thorough answers.
- Track your cycle. If you haven’t already, track your periods using a mobile cycle-tracker. Keeping track of your cycle will give an idea of when you’ll ovulate so you can share these details with your fertility specialist.
- Bring a notebook. There will be a lot of ground to cover during your first appointment. It’s best to take notes to ensure you retain essential information to help you throughout your fertility journey.
- Prepare a list of questions. IVF is a big journey, so it’s important to set aside time for any questions you might have. Be sure to write these down and bring them with you.
What Should I Ask at My First IVF Appointment?
Your IVF appointment is all about you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions to ensure you thoroughly understand what lies ahead and whether or not the clinic/doctor is the right fit.
Let this set of questions guide you:
- Based on my history, what are my chances of getting pregnant?
- What are the tests and procedures required? How long will it all take?
- Where will all of the testing and procedures be conducted—on-site or at another facility?
- Can you provide a written outline and timeline of our options and treatment plans and what we can expect?
- How many patients have you currently worked with who are in my age group and have had similar fertility issues?
- Does your fertility clinic offer emotional counseling, or can you refer me to someone?
- What role does your nursing staff play in patient treatment and contact?
Choosing an IVF clinic might seem a little overwhelming, but prioritizing what you want and need specifically will really help narrow down your choices. Remember, regardless of who you end up choosing, trust that they want to help you succeed in IVF and have your best interest at heart.