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Houston Fertility Journal

    How To Choose A Fertility Clinic Or Specialist

    Oct 19, 2018, 1:59:19 PM / by Center of Reproductive Medicine   

    Center of Reproductive Medicine

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    Though some people believe this to be true, a fertility specialist is not an ob-gyn. They need certain credentials to receive their title, which then allows them to diagnose and treat infertility. Ob-gyns can perform evaluations and provide basic treatment, but infertility experts are specially trained in extensive details that help to determine different causes of fertility.

    If you wish to discover the root of your difficulty, this route is more likely to save you a lot of time. Once you have decided to seek out professional help, you have already taken one of the most challenging steps on this path. It is very challenging for couples to make this decision, so if you’re still on the fence, know that that is normal. Though it is recommended to seek help after a year of trying (or 6 months if you are over 30), many only choose to do so after years of trying and unsuccessfully conceiving a baby on their own.

    If you are ready to figure out just what is going on with your body, you are no doubt wondering how you are going to find a fertility specialist you can trust. There are a handful of essentials you will want to be aware of as you begin your search. Here is everything you need to know and do to ensure that you find the specialist that is right for you.

    See Who Accepts Your Insurance

    Your particular insurance plan may cover some treatments offered by a clinic and not all of them. Some insurance plans will only give assistance to certain clinics. You will want to be completely clear on what your financial responsibilities will be and how they differ with each clinic you are looking at. Remember, fertility treatment is not guaranteed to work the first time. You may want to give it 1 or 2 more goes. Do not shoot yourself in the foot by going with a really expensive clinic that your insurance company provides little coverage for just to find yourself out of funds and without any results.

    See What Kind Of Payment Plans Are Offered

    On a similar note, specialists and clinics will often have financial advice or assistance to offer you. This is a good sign. You should never be made to feel like this financial commitment is one to be taken lightly, and a facility that offers a way to make it a little easier to face also has a great potential of being sensitive when it comes to the other areas of your treatment.

    Determine How The Location Affects Things For You

    Some will tell you that you should absolutely find a specialist that is near your house. Of course, anyone can see how that would be convenient, but what if you are not located in an area with a lot of options? You should not just go with the nearby choice because of that. If your ultimate preference is a 30-40 minute drive, it might just be worth traveling the distance. Then again, if you have a demanding work schedule and the clinic has odd hours, this could cause a lot of stress for you. As you consider your preferences and look at their locations, you will want to weigh out these thoughts and make a list of priorities.

    Look Into Their Success Rates And Know What They Are Based On

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    Most clinics will proudly include their success rates right on their website. If they do not, it usually is not a good sign. Still, success rates can be misleading if you do not know exactly the way that the clinic or specialist is running things. Factors of success can be based on a number of different elements.

    What you are looking for is success that includes live birth rates that make it through to full term with a healthy birth. Some clinics are counting successful fertilization as success, even if pregnancy did not carry to term. In other cases, some clinics may only be treating women in their 20’s and early 30’s or those that are in optimal health.

    This will, of course, affect the numbers that you see when in comparison with clinics who are putting in efforts to help those who are bound to have a bit more difficulty. This is why you do not want to put too much weight on the actual numbers if you do not know all of the information. The more transparent the specialist is about their success rates and how they got them, the better.

    Find Out What Treatments Could Potentially Be Offered To You

    Some clinics only specialize in IVF. This a great option for many, and also has proven to be a highly successful one. Still, it is always possible that a different type of treatment could be a better option for you. If the specialist you choose only specializes in 1 type of treatment, they may be more likely to push this one and not give you the chance to explore your other options.

    Because of this, it is always a good idea to get a second opinion, just to be sure you are receiving advice that is purely for your benefit. With this in mind, it may be in your best interest to choose a clinic that has a wide variety of practitioners who specialize in a number of different things. This way, once all of your initial tests are complete, you will be assigned to the specialist that is most qualified to handle your particular case.

    Decide If You Prefer A Large Facility Or A Small Practice

    A lot of people assume that big fancy facilities have the most expensive equipment and the highest quality treatments to offer. Many times this is not the case. Large facilities actually tend to make people feel lost in the crowd, like just another number. Make sure you are choosing a specialist that can give you the attention you deserve. Just because the clinic may not look especially fancy or glitzy, doesn’t mean your treatment won’t be top notch with the most qualified doctors and up to date technology. At the end of the day, you have to know what makes you feel the most comfortable. Let this inform your decision over everything else.

    Make Sure They Are Properly Certified

    Fertility specialists usually have a long history of medical education, qualifications, certifications, registrations, and licenses. Many tend to include these credentials on their profiles for everyone to see, and will happy to answer any questions you have on this matter. As you get a feel for your specialist, try to gather why it is they have a special interest in helping others in this particular area so you can gauge just how committed they will be to carrying out their role.  

    How Does This Person Make You Feel

    It is up to you to decide how important it is for your doctor to be friendly and approachable. Do you need them to be warm and inviting? Or does that fall last on your priority list? Your fertility doctor and nurses will become an intimate part of your journey for the next few months or even years, so you will want to know that you are comfortable with them and trust them. Listen to your gut and know that you can always switch doctors if you are unhappy with your experience. At the end of the day, the treatment you receive is up to you.

    Make A List Of Questions To Ask During Your Consultation

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    Once you have narrowed it down to a few different specialists or clinics that appear to have potential, you will want to set up a consultation to meet with the specialist and see if it feels like the right fit. Make a list of questions to ask during this consultation to ensure that you are getting all of the information you need to help make your decision.

    Some examples of the questions you might ask are:

    • How long has this clinic been established?
    • How long have you been working in infertility treatment?
    • Are there any restrictions for treatment at the clinic, such as age or weight?
    • Does the clinic offer genetic screening for Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis or other genetic transmitted diseases?
    • What is the live birth rate per treatment cycle started, per egg collection, per embryo transfer?
    • What tests will I need to undergo before the best treatment for me is determined?
    • What is the reason for each test?
    • What will this process be and how long will it take?
    • How long do I have to wait until I can begin treatment?
    • How often will I be visiting the clinic and will I need to take off from work?
    • Will I experience any side effects from the treatment?
    • What happens if we do not achieve pregnancy through the treatment that you provide and how long before we can try again?
    • How much will the tests, drugs, and treatments cost me?
    • What payment methods do you accept?
    • How often will I be billed?
    • Will I always be seeing the same doctor/team members throughout the treatment?
    • What are the hours of the clinic? Is it open every day, including weekends and holidays?
    • What counseling or support groups are available to us?

    Check In With Your Partner About How The Consultation Went

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    After you have met with the specialist for the first time, you and your partner should discuss how you both felt it went. Some questions you can ask one another are:

    • Did you feel welcome and comfortable?
    • Did it feel easy to talk to them?
    • Did all of that make sense to you?
    • Do you feel like you know what we are about to get into?
    • Did they answer all of your questions confidently?
    • Did they appear positive and reassuring?
    • How did you feel about the interaction overall?

    Remaining in communication with your partner during this process is essential. This begins with being on the same page about your treatment and where it is coming from. Remember that you do not have to go forward with a specialist after your first appointment with them. In fact, the best way to find your ideal specialist is to try out a few different options and then to compare them. Remember that you always have a choice and that this is your journey, whichever road you take is your decision.

    In Conclusion

    The most important thing is for you to know where your priorities are and that the specialist is dependable. Everyone has different preferences, and once you know what those are and the type of treatment you desire, it will be a lot easier to make your decision. If you are looking for a specialist in Texas, please feel free to reach out to us about any questions you have on treatments and finding a good specialist.

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    Topics: Health, Fertility Specialist

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