Choosing a fertility clinic can be one of the most overwhelming decisions someone struggling with infertility is faced with in those early days.
First, you’re still devastated by the news that you can’t get pregnant naturally, and then you’re bombarded with the choice – that you have to make quickly – about where to seek help. It doesn’t help that it seems there are just so many options, all of which claim to help you get pregnant.
While it may appear at first glance that all fertility clinics are the same, this is far from the case. In fact, there are clear standouts in the field.
Here are a few characteristics that make those clinics stand out, and why you’ll probably be better off making an appointment at one of them instead of the competition.
This blog is part of Fertility FAQ, a series where RMA doctors answer your most pressing questions about treatment.
Today’s RMA physician expert is Dr. Leo Doherty. Dr. Doherty’s areas of expertise include improving infertility diagnosis and treatment, particularly in the areas of recurrent pregnancy loss, uterine fibroids, embryo and oocyte cryopreservation, uterine anomalies, and minimally invasive endoscopic and robotic-assisted surgeries.
In 2021 he won the Society for Gynecologic Investigation President’s Presenter Award and The Society of Laparoendoscopic Surgeons Resident Achievement Award and The Irving Friedman Memorial Award in 2010.
Plenty of clinics can promise to get you pregnant, but their track record may tell a different story.
Thankfully, clinics across the U.S. are required to report their success rates (how often they get women pregnant through Intrauterine Insemination, IUI, and In Vitro Fertilization, IVF) to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), and the data is publically available.
Choosing a clinic with success rates equivalent – or, better yet, higher than – the national average, is one of the most important things you can do.
Most clinics in this country only practice reproductive endocrinology, not research it.
There are a number of clinics, however, that, in addition to seeing patients, invest their own time, money, and resources into studying how to help more couples get pregnant and deliver one healthy baby.
While this may not seem important, it is – when the doctor who is treating you for infertility is the same one doing vital research that is advancing the standard of care for the industry, you stand to benefit from the latest science, techniques, and practices.
Single Embryo Transfer (SET)
Made possible by many breakthroughs like advanced embryo culture, trophectoderm biopsy, and Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT), Single Embryo Transfer simply means that doctors transfer just one embryo into a woman’s uterus at a time.
Going to a clinic that strictly performs SET tells you several things: first, you know that your chances of twin pregnancy – and the related risks – are dramatically reduced; second, you know that this clinic trusts that their embryology lab is capable of selecting the highest quality embryo for transfer.
Utilization of Preimplantation Genetic Testing for Aneuploidy (PGT-A) aids in embryo selection and increases the chance that the single embryo selected for transfer will result in a healthy live birth.
Compassionate, Recognized Doctors
Support is everything in the world of infertility. It’s not an easy diagnosis to get or an easy treatment path to take, but with the right doctors, ones who are supportive, compassionate, and skilled in their work, things get a lot easier.
When looking for a clinic, read the reviews, watch videos online and do your research to see if local media or health organizations have recognized the clinic’s doctors for their expertise.
Make sure you feel comfortable with the doctor you’re choosing, and that you’re getting enough face time with them.
For example, many clinics rely on nurses, not doctors, to conduct morning monitoring (morning check-ins during treatment) with patients. The physicians at RMA perform ultrasounds during morning monitoring, allowing for additional opportunities to interact with their patients.
The decision to choose a fertility clinic should not add more stress to your plate – thankfully, there are not a boatload of clinics that meet the above criteria, so chances are you’ll find the right clinic for you within a few days of research. And once you do, you can let the experts take it from there.