This blog is part of Fertility FAQ, a series where RMA doctors answer your most pressing questions about treatment.

Today’s physician expert is Dr. George Patounakis, who practices out of RMA Florida in Lake Mary, Florida.

How did the fertility field evolve to where it is today?

How did we discover that some embryos mature slower than others or that they develop under very specific oxygen levels? Why is the uterus only receptive to an embryo for about 24 hours each cycle?

How did we figure out that abnormal embryos do not lead to healthy pregnancies? Who would have imagined that an embryo biopsy is better performed on day five or six, rather than day three, of growth? How did we figure out how to test embryos for their chromosomal makeup? Lastly, how did we achieve high live birth rates from transferring just one embryo at a time?

How, in other words, are we able to perform the seemingly impossible every day, and turn patients into parents, sometimes against all odds?

These questions have a simple, one-word answer: research.

How Important Is It to Be Treated at a Fertility Center That Conducts Research? | Dr. Patounakis

By studying every one of these questions – and thousands more – fertility academics, researchers, scientists, and doctors from around the world have collectively brought the field to where it is today.

As a result of this research, and parallel advances in technology, the field of infertility has developed faster than almost all other medical fields in the last few decades, all to the benefit of patients.

Contrary to what many believe, not every fertility doctor or clinic does research. In fact, only a minority of clinics and doctors do research, particularly in private practice settings.

If you are struggling to conceive and trying to figure out what clinic to go to, strongly consider making an appointment at a clinic that conducts research. You’ll be surprised at how much easier your search will be after including this filter in your search – the resulting list will be much smaller and full of higher-quality clinics.

Clinics that conduct research in-house and publish their findings are at the forefront of the field. Consequently, their doctors are often the most knowledgeable, skilled, and experienced in the field.

When you are treated by the same doctor who studies the very questions that matter to you – like how can you, with your unique fertility challenges, achieve a healthy, ongoing pregnancy in the shortest time possible – it makes a difference. Your chances of success go up because you’re being cared for by the best.

If you’re still looking for a fertility clinic or not happy with your existing provider, look for a clinic that conducts research – you’ll be glad you did.