How to choose the right fertility specialist for you?
Making the decision to seek out advice, support and treatment from a fertility specialist is not one made lightly by many couples.
Many come to the conclusion to seek professional help after years of unsuccessfully trying to conceive a baby on their own.
Choosing the right fertility specialist for you is really important, not only for success in falling pregnant, but also for the emotional support you’ll need as an individual, and as a couple.
Most problems behind infertility are completely fix-able, and that’s another reason to make sure you sign up with a specialist you trust.
Below is a look at some of the things you need to consider when choosing a fertility specialist – some of them are pretty common sense and practical, and others may need a little more thought.
1. Make sure you know what your insurance will cover
Many fertility clinics will accept Medicare towards some of your treatment, but not all of them will.
Depending on your health insurance plan, you could entitled to some treatments and it’s worth investigating exactly what is covered before you start going to initial appointments with clinics.
Some insurance plans will also only cover treatments with specifics clinics.
On that note, it’s also worth getting an idea of ongoing costs upfront so you can plan financially for everything you’ll need during this part of your fertility journey.
There’s no point sticking it out with a clinic long term if you know it’s going to leave you in a heap of debt.
2. Location isn’t always everything
While choosing a specialist that’s nearby certainly has a long list of pros, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily the best decision for you.
If you’ve weighed up everything else and your first preference is an hour away, but your third is 20 minutes down the road, it might just be worth travelling the distance.
Obviously there are other things to consider here too, such as the time you may need to take out of work, your partner getting to the clinic, the hours the clinic has.
You need to weigh this all up and make a list of priorities.
If being with your first choice specialist at the top of that list, then it’s a no-brainer to go to the distance.
3. Find out their success rates, but don’t take it as gospel
Many clinics will list their success rates openly on their website – if they don’t, you might be wise to be a bit wary. It’s never a good sign.
It’s not just about the success rates of IVF either, make sure you look at all factors of success which includes live birth rates the number of births that make it through to full term with a healthy birth.
Many clinics report successful fertilization and miss out the number of those that did not actually carry to term.
Clinics may also only work with couples they deem as a ‘safe bet’ – who’s barriers to falling pregnant are easier to address and therefore result in a higher success rate.
By not working with clients who might have a harder, longer journey in front of them, they are effectively ‘swinging’ their stats in their favour to reflect higher success than they should be.
Keep these things in mind when looking at the statistics, and don’t let it be the only thing you take into consideration.
4. Find out exactly what’s on offer – for both partners involved
Some clinics only specialise in IVF and there’s nothing wrong with that, but if it’s the only treatment they offer, and they seem to be pushing it quite a lot on their website, you may be in for an expensive journey you didn’t entirely need.
You want to make sure you choose a clinic with a wide variety of practitioners, specialising in different things so that one your initial investigations are complete, you’ll be assigned to someone best qualified to deal with your individual situation.
Also look at what additional services they offer, such as counselling and emotional support.
These are all good indications of a clinic/specialist with your full fertility interests at heart.
5. Big fancy clinics versus a small practice
Given the choice, we might all assume that a big fancy clinic is going to be the better option – but that isn’t strictly true.
It really comes down to what you think you need from your specialist.
If you’re already feeling intensely emotional, a small practice might be able to offer you a more guided, personal approach, with staff you can get to know and feel comfortable with.
Think about what you need, and weigh up the pros and cons to make a decision that feels right for you
6. Make sure they have all the right certifications
Fertility specialists will usually have taken part in a long history of medical education, qualifications, certifications, registrations and licences.
Taking this into account when reviewing which specialist to choose can help you give you an insight into how long they have been practicing, as well as their commitment to their role.
It’s not the only thing to consider, but it can definitely help you weigh in on who you want to partner with.
7. Review your initial appointment as a couple
After meeting your fertility specialist for the first time, you and your partner need to discuss how you both felt it went:
1. Did they make you feel welcome and comfortable?
2. Did they have good rapport?
3. Could you understand them or did they use lots of complicated jargon?
4. Did they clearly set out what the next steps were?
5. Were they able to answer your questions confidently or did they refer you elsewhere?
6. Were they positive and reassuring?
7. How did they make you feel overall?
It’s really important to remember that just because you’ve had one appointment with a specialist, that doesn’t mean you have to continue with them it you don’t feel it’s quite right.
In fact, it’s better to go to a few initial appointments with your top 3 or 4 choices, so that you can make comparisons and see who you feel most comfortable progressing with.
Just because a specialist looks great on paper, doesn’t mean they’ll be the best fit for you necessarily.
You always have options to make the best choice for you, your partner and your future children.