If you are trying to get pregnant or considering freezing your eggs, you’ve probably started researching the best fertility doctors in your area. 

Of course, you want to feel like you are working with the best possible team to help you get pregnant, but how do you know which doctor that is? Should you just pick the closest option or whoever can book you in the soonest? If you haven’t received a trusted referral, you might not know where to start.

What type of doctor should you see if you’re struggling to get pregnant anyway? 

First thing's first: if you’ve been struggling to get pregnant, you are looking to get a consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist. 

This doctor is a specific type of OBGYN that has specialized in reproductive medicine and infertility (REI) to help people conceive through treatments such as IUI and IVF as well as preserve their fertility via egg and embryo freezing.

How do you know whether it’s time to seek help from a fertility specialist?

There are guidelines for when you should consider getting fertility testing at a clinic. It’s based on the female partner’s age as well as how long you’ve been trying to conceive. 

The American Society for Reproductive Medicine recommends to have fertility testing if a woman is:

  • less than 35 and has been trying to conceive for 12 months without success
  • aged 35-39 and has been trying to conceive for 6 months without success
  • aged 40 or older and has been trying to conceive for 3 months without success

When it comes to women who are 40 or older, some physicians recommend trying for 3 months before getting fertility testing while others recommend coming in right away as female fertility decreases with age.

So, how do you find the best fertility doctor?

Ok, if you’re sure based on this information that seeing a specialist seems like the next best step, it’s time to figure out which fertility doctor could be a good fit for your goals.

When it comes to choosing a reproductive endocrinologist, it’s important to be sure that you’ve evaluated your options to find the best fit for you personally. 

Fertility clinics can be very different from one another and the experience at one clinic may not work for everyone. There are several different aspects you should take into consideration to make sure that the clinic you’re working with is aligned with your goals and specific situation. 

Here are 5 things to take into account when making your decision.

Fertility Clinic Location

First thing’s first. Make sure you choose a clinic that you’ll be able to get to easily for regular appointments. 

If you do end up needing fertility treatment such as IVF, you can expect to have early morning appointments every other day for about a two-week period. 

You may have follow up visits if you need additional treatment, so it might make sense to account for how commute time for appointments will impact your work and personal schedule.

You can take a look at all fertility clinics in your area on FertilitySpace to get an idea of your options. 

Clinic Size

Clinic size has a big impact on your experience as a patient. One is not better than the other but your personality and values can affect whether you’d be most comfortable at a large clinic vs a smaller clinic.

Large Academic Clinics 

Larger clinics have more doctors and tend to perform a higher number of cycles annually, which can make it easier to begin treatment quickly. 

However, it might be helpful to keep in mind that your specific doctor may not always be the person performing each of your procedures. And in larger clinics, some patients feel rushed through the process and feel more like ‘a number’ and less like an individual. This isn’t always the case but it’s something to keep in mind. 

Small Boutique Clinics

If you prefer a more personal feel where you’ll likely see the same people at the clinic on every visit, a smaller clinic may be best to provide a positive experience. 

A potential downside to smaller clinics is that they may batch their cycles, meaning you may not be able to start treatment quite as quickly. They may also be closed on weekends. It depends on the provider!

Success Rates

Most fertility clinics publish their IVF success rates annually with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). 

This data can be difficult to parse through to figure out what the most helpful numbers are. If you’re interested in what you can expect for your age, you can look up each fertility clinic’s IVF success rates on FertilitySpace to see how they do compared to the national average.

The metric you should be looking at is the Singleton Live Birth rate. This is the percent of cycles by age that resulted in the birth of a single baby, which is the most ideal outcome for IVF. 

While success rates don’t tell you the full story about whether you’d have success with a particular clinic it can help give you some extra information and you can even discuss this with the physician so they can provide more tailored success estimates based on your specific fertility profile. 

Personality fit

Fertility treatments can be very difficult and are mentally, emotionally, physically, and financially draining. It’s so important to make sure that the person guiding you through this process and making decisions with you is someone you feel comfortable talking with and is supportive of you throughout the process. 

The number one theme we’ve noticed in FertilitySpace reviews of fertility doctors that were positive is whether or not people felt a connection with their doctor. 

Positive reviews tended to highlight whether a doctor took time and made them feel seen as an individual. Negative reviews tended to mention a cold bedside manner or patients feeling rushed during consultations.

The patients that were happy with their doctor and rated them highly post-treatment tended to mention that their doctor: 

  • took the time to explain things
  • was available/easily reachable for questions
  • personally performed all their procedures
  • was willing to change protocols and try new things
  • listened
  • caring
  • kind

You’re going to be spending a lot of time working with your doctor, talking to them and choosing strategies that are best for you, so you want to feel like this person is on your team and is personally tailoring treatment to you.

So make sure to check out reviews online to get an idea of which doctor might be a good fit for your personality and then see how you feel when you meet with him or her in person.

If you feel a good connection with your doctor, then the experience will likely be less stressful.

Affordability

Definitely make sure that your clinic takes your insurance

Even if you don’t have coverage for infertility treatment or you only have partial coverage, it’s worthwhile to see what costs they will be able to pass on to your health plan versus paying out-of-pocket. 

If you won’t be using insurance at all, make sure to ask what the self-pay rates are for the treatment options you might be doing so you can get an idea of what will be feasible.

If paying out-of-pocket for fertility treatments such as IVF seems unrealistic for you, many clinics offer in-house financing, multicycle package programs, or even can refer you to a third party company they work with that helps patients finance their IVF costs.

Start Your Search!

Ok, now that you have some ideas of what to take into account, you can start comparing fertility doctors and clinics in your area! 

You can head to FertilitySpace to use our fertility provider search so you can see fertility clinics in your area, success rates, and reviews. Then make your shortlist and reach out to schedule an initial consultation!

Best of luck!

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