Starting your family should be one of the most joyful times of your life. That said, when fertility issues arise, it can quickly become stressful and overwhelming. Did you know that, according to statistics gathered by Pew Research, around 10% of women have received fertility services? Choosing the right fertility clinic is crucial to getting the personalized care and treatment you need to achieve your dream of having a baby. Here’s how to find the ideal provider.


Do Your Research


With so many clinics to choose from, how do you even begin? First, make a list of potential clinics in your area that specialize in fertility treatments. Search online for reviews, success rates, services offered, and doctor qualifications. Look for clinics with a long history and reputation for proven results. Check forums and communities to see feedback from past patients on their experiences. Ask friends who have undergone fertility treatments for recommendations on clinics they’d recommend. Consult with your OB/GYN for their opinion on reputable clinics in your area. Compile all your research to narrow down your list to a few top contenders.


Schedule Consultations


Once you have a shortlist of clinics, call to schedule initial consultations. Come prepared with questions to understand their approach, services, costs, and success rates. Get a feel for the clinic’s environment and staff. Do they make you feel cared for as an individual? Do you connect well with the doctor? Are they patient and willing to answer all your questions thoroughly? Trust your gut instinct during these visits.


Verify Credentials


Don’t be afraid to thoroughly vet each clinic’s credentials. Are the doctors board-certified reproductive endocrinologists? How long have they been practicing fertility treatment? What is their specialty area? Do they attend regular conferences and continuously educate themselves on the latest research and technologies? Be sure the lab is accredited, and ask about their embryology success rates. Reputable clinics will be transparent about their experience and expertise.


Look for Compassionate Patient Advocates


Dealing with infertility involves major physical and emotional challenges. You want a clinic that provides a dedicated patient advocate to offer support during your entire journey, not just until procedures are complete. Compassionate advocates provide encouragement after a failed cycle or when you just need a listening ear. Make sure your clinic prioritizes emotional well-being.


Review Success Rates


Success rates are a major factor when selecting a fertility clinic. The CDC provides data on clinic success rates, so you can compare live birth percentages. Keep in mind that age, diagnosis, and procedures impact rates. Ask clinics about their specific success based on your fertility concerns. High, consistent rates are a strong indicator of effective treatment. Also, look for low miscarriage rates and twin rates if those factors are important to you. Don’t just focus on pregnancy rates; live birth rates give a fuller picture.


Consider Your Specific Needs


Every individual’s fertility journey is unique. Make sure the clinic you choose has experience treating cases similar to yours. Do they specialize in working with same-sex couples or single mothers? How about cycle monitoring for IVF out-of-state patients? Look for a clinic tailored to your particular needs. If you have conditions like endometriosis or PCOS, find a clinic renowned for treating those diagnoses. Having a clinic proficient in your specific situation can be life-changing.


Assess Their Egg Freezing Expertise


If you’re considering freezing your eggs for the future, ensure the clinic offers an egg freezing program. Ask about their protocols for optimal freezing techniques. Look at post-thaw survival rates to evaluate the effectiveness of their egg freezing process. Understand their timeline policies and storage fees for maintaining frozen eggs.


Review Embryo Management Policies


Similarly, it pays to review embryo freezing and storage policies. If you want to freeze embryos for future children, ensure the lab has effective freezing protocols and storage capabilities. Understand their time frame, policies, and costs for maintaining frozen embryos. Also, understand their approach if you have excess viable embryos. Some clinics have mandatory embryo donation policies, while others are more flexible.


Check for Multiple Locations


Some fertility clinics have multiple offices within a region. Locations close to your work or home can make early morning monitoring appointments easier to get to. Make sure they share full patient records between all clinic sites. Continuity of care is key. If you move or transfer clinics, they should provide your complete medical records. Geographic flexibility gives you options as situations change.


Assess Their Donor Egg and Surrogacy Options


If you’ll be pursuing donor eggs or a gestational carrier, ensure the clinic has extensive experience in these areas and can provide referrals. Ask about their screening process for donors and surrogates. Review their legal support for all aspects of third party reproduction. Having in-house egg donor and surrogate coordination results in a smoother process. And be sure they only work with ethical, established agencies.


Weigh Gender Preferences


If you have a gender preference for your provider, most clinics have both male and female reproductive endocrinologists. However, the majority of fertility specialists are women. If you strongly prefer working with a male doctor, that can narrow your options. But don’t compromise on finding an excellent doctor just to have a gender preference match. Bedside manners and listening skills matter more than gender alone.


Review Hospital Privileges and Transfer Options


While clinics perform most fertility procedures in their offices, doctors must have hospital privileges for any necessary procedures. This ensures seamless coordination should you need emergency care or surgery. Make sure your clinic’s physicians have admitting privileges at reputable local hospitals. Also, look for clinics affiliated with top regional hospitals in case you develop complications requiring a hospital transfer.


Consider Extra Amenities


Look for special amenities that can enhance your clinic visits. Convenient features like appointment hours before nine in the morning, acupuncture, onsite blood draws, counseling, and IV hydration can make treatment days easier. Onsite cryo storage means you don’t have to transport frozen eggs or embryos. Some even offer luxuries like lush robes, snacks, or reserved parking for patients. While not must-haves, small perks demonstrate a clinic catering to your complete experience.


Understand Their IVF Add-ons


Today, there are many additional IVF technologies clinics may offer, like assisted hatching, embryo glue, endometrial scratching, or laser ablation. Ask your clinic how they determine when these add-ons could potentially benefit patients versus standard IVF. Get their opinion on evidence that these enhance IVF success since the jury is still out on some. Avoid clinics pushing unnecessary add-ons without regard for individual circumstances.


Ask About Their Growth


Top fertility clinics are always striving to improve outcomes for patients. Inquire about how frequently they review their own data and protocols. Are they actively engaged in research with an eye to the future? Using the latest technology and customizing care shows dedication to helping you build your family.


Trust Your Instincts


In the end, trust your own instincts when evaluating clinics. The right fertility center will not only have a proven track record but also make you feel comfortable, cared for, and understood. A clinic that takes time to understand you personally while providing an individualized approach can make all the difference in your fertility journey.


While an important decision, choosing the ideal fertility clinic doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Research patient experiences, verify credentials, examine success rates, and find a clinic tailored for your specific needs. Most importantly, trust your gut. The right clinic will support you on every step of your path to creating the family you’ve always dreamed of. If you’re looking for a fertility clinic to help you bring a baby into this world, reach out to the Fertility Center of San Antonio to schedule a consultation.