Tips for selecting the right fertility clinic for youAug 15, 2022
Six months into our fertility journey, my husband and I went to our doctor with our sex life in tatters, and my type A personality driving us crazy. I still wasn’t pregnant (it’s amazing how just 2 months of trying can seem like an eternity when that’s all you think about). Anyway, our doctor suggested we see a fertility specialist. I didn’t really put a lot of thought into who we saw at the time, because I didn’t know any better. I was desperate for a solution, and I figured they were all the same. I was wrong – they’re not all the same.
Our first fertility specialist was cold, matter of fact, and treated us like we were merely a number. I’m sure she may have been competent; however, she didn’t go the extra mile. After we discovered that I wasn’t getting a lining on my uterus, she never called us back. My case was too hard for her.
And while it hurt, it forced us to shop around. And in the end, we found a fertility specialist who was wonderful. Who truly cared about whether we created our family, who went to extreme lengths to ensure the process was as easy as possible for us, and who held my hand as I cried after each failure.
You may go into this thinking you’re only going to do IUI or perhaps one cycle of IVF, but for some of us, we spend years with a clinic – in fact, there was a time when I had a more intimate relationship with our fertility specialist than my husband!
I’m not saying this to put any additional pressure on you; however as you can see, the selection of your fertility clinic is important. I’m telling you this so you don’t waste time, money or experience any more emotional anxiety than needed.
Too many times, we suffer in silence and feel overwhelmed with anxiety because we don’t feel like we can’t speak up for ourselves. It’s sad that we have to fight so hard to be heard, and to be treated with care - but if we don’t advocate for ourselves, no one else will.
I also find it sad that there are doctors and clinics out there, who are completely insensitive to our needs. They aren’t all like this, however the number of horror stories I hear about doctors and receptionists who say inappropriate comments or remarks – things you should NEVER say to a woman going through fertility treatments, a loss, or pregnancy after loss, is disgusting. There really needs to be more education around this. And while it’s not up to you to change the system, you can make an impact by only supporting the clinics who are worthwhile.
So, I’m here to give you a little courage and a little push in the right direction.
You should NOT have to settle when it comes to your doctor or fertility clinic. If you think you don’t have a choice, you DO.
Here are some tips in advocating for yourself, and what to look for in selecting a good fertility clinic.
- Find someone who will listen to you and your concerns. Just showing up to a fertility clinic and admitting you need help takes a lot of bravery, and is filled with anxiety. So, choosing a doctor and a clinic who are sensitive to your feelings and needs is important. They need to acknowledge your path to get here, and not minimize your loss or your fears. You need to trust them, because this is important. You need to feel heard, and not dismissed or made to feel like you’re crazy.
- Ask how their clinic works in terms of doctor rotation – some clinics rotate doctors, so you may not get the same doctor each time or it may be a different doctor who does you egg collection and transfer. This is important to know if you’d like to have consistency with your treatments.
- Of course, it would be fantastic if your clinic was close, however it’s better to choose good care, over convenience. Driving an extra 20 minutes down the road is worth it, when you know you’re going to be looked after and listened to.
- Specialist capability. If you’ve received a diagnosis, i.e. you have male factor infertility, or if you’ve had complications from previous fertility treatments, it helps if they have the knowledge and appropriate skills to care for you. Do they have the capability to do the tests you need, or do they only do the standard procedures? If you need a donor, or a surrogate, do they have the resources to assist with this? Make sure they are qualified for the job. Because this isn’t just a job for you, it’s really f*cking important.
- Look at your insurance. It’s important to understand what your insurance (or medicare in Australia) does and doesn’t cover. What clinics, doctors and services are included in their network etc? What are the costs involved? Prices can vary too, so make sure you get information on how they charge and what the out of pocket costs are.
- It’s important that you look for a reputable clinic, so do your research first. Ask your friends and family for referrals. Rather than going in blind, referrals can provide a great source of comfort and relief. You can also search for recommendations or reviews and comments inside local fertility Facebook groups, or on google. Get a sense of who the clinic is and what it stands for, from those who have already used their services.
- Trust your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right, keep looking around.
If you have to make a decision between a number of clinics, it may help to make a list of the pro’s and con’s of each. Weight the pro’s and con’s according to importance in order to narrow down a winner.
WHO you choose to provide your fertility care, will make a huge difference to your experience. This is hard enough, so your medical care should not add to your anxiety, it should alleviate it.
Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion or change clinics. Drop any type of guilt you may be feeling of being high maintenance. You deserve superior care, because this is really important.
And right now, your comfort, and the ability of this clinic to give you the best chance of having a baby, is the ONLY thing that matters.
Would you like to know more about how you can work with me, so you can get back control of your life and start moving forward? My 1:1 coaching program is packed with information, tools and support. Find out how you can get on the wait list now.
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