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Choosing a fertility clinic is an important step in seeking fertility care. You want to be sure to choose a clinic that suits your individual needs and makes you feel comfortable throughout the entire diagnostic and treatment process.
With that in mind, here are five tips to help you choose a fertility clinic.
1. Do Your Outcomes Research
Visit SART.org. SART (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology) is an organization that helps uphold the high standards for performing ART (assisted reproductive technology). They represent the majority of ART clinics in the U.S. and their website provides a list of fertility clinics, including IVF4VETS clinics.
SART reports birth outcome data for each of its member clinics, that's very useful to review. While success rates depend on many factors, this information can help you make an informed decision and understand your chances of success based on different types of treatments.
2. Look for Reviews
Once you have narrowed down a list of clinics or doctors, a good next step is to go beyond the numbers and look for reviews from other people.
What experiences did they have with the clinics you're considering? Did they feel doctors were available and engaged? Was everything explained clearly? While reviews should be taken with a grain of salt, they can be very helpful when making your decision.
One good place to start is Fertility IQ. This site is like a Yelp for fertility clinics. You can search by area code to find clinics near you and then see how past patients have ranked doctors on a variety of criteria such as, communication, response time, and interaction. You can also read reviews that past patients have written. Reviews may be limited depending on the area you live in, but it's still a helpful addition to the search process.
Reddit's infertility community is another great resource. This is a forum of very active and engaged people who have or are going through fertility care. Some people post requests here for recommendations on a clinic or doctor in a particular area.
3. Understand what Treatment is Available
Infertility is a complex disease with many potential contributing factors. Some clinics offer a wide range of services, while others only perform a few.
Look for a clinic that has a variety of options, and it’s even better to find a clinic that has an emphasis on innovation in testing and treatment techniques. New treatments and approaches may help improve your chances of getting pregnant.
You should also consider the screening and testing a clinic offers. What kind of information will a doctor have to work with for your case or are you just getting moved through a one-size fits all treatment? It is perfectly reasonable to set up an interview with a fertility clinic where you can ask them to walk you through their approach.
4. Research Insurance and Payment Plans
You should understand what your insurance covers and what fertility treatments typically cost. Fertility treatment is frequently an out-of-pocket expense. Most states in the U.S. do not require insurance to cover infertility related procedures and even the 15 states that do require it have different levels of coverage. Still, if even part of your treatment can be covered you want to make sure the clinic you select will accept your insurance.
In addition to investigating insurance options you can look at other factors that will impact your cost. Some clinics may offer payment plans that can help you spread out the high cost of treatment.
5. Find a Clinic that Makes Sense for You
Weigh your options. Is it more important that you have the personal touch that may come with one clinic or the higher availability of in-house services that may come with another? These are all things to consider. Also, clinics that provide an integrated medicine or acupuncture might be a consideration. Some clinics might also offer more counseling than others.
For most people, clinic location and hours is a very practical consideration. You don’t want to have to drive sixty miles for every fertility appointment if you don’t have to. Depending on your treatment, you may need to come in several times during your cycle.
At the end of the day there are a lot of moving pieces that go into choosing a clinic, but you need to do what makes sense for you.