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How to Choose the Best Clinic For You

Treating infertility can be a complex and drawn out process, so it's important to have the right clinic and specialist working with you. It's a good idea to interview several to ensure you find one who is qualified, with whom you are comfortable talking, and who is sensitive enough to help you through what can be an emotionally and physically intense experience.

Before you visit any fertility clinic, learn about common fertility treatments and procedures to find out what may lie ahead for you, and discuss with your partner how far you are both willing to go. ART (advanced reproductive technology) can cost thousands of dollars and require you to take strong drugs and hormones which can have dramatic physical and emotional side effects. If you know your limits ahead of time you can avoid being talked into a procedure you don't want and can't afford.

You and your partner should be present for the initial visit at the clinic. Use this opportunity to interview the prospective specialist and make sure you are comfortable with this person. Be aware of how receptive he or she is to your questions and concerns. If the specialist seems impatient or dismissive, you may be better off elsewhere. The attitude and openness of the support staff at the clinic is an important component as well, since you will be dealing with them over the phone and during appointments, sometimes more often than the specialist.

Things to Look For

Any fertility specialist you consider should be an American Board of Medical Specialties certified reproductive endocrinologist (RE). An RE has completed the standard OB/GYN training, as well as an additional two to three year fellowship in infertility treatment, two years of clinical experience, and has passed both oral and written exams.

The lab associated with the clinic should be accredited by the College of American Pathologists, the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) or the state. The fertility program should also follow guidelines for IVF established by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). While membership in the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) is not necessary, it is a sign of the clinic's quality.

It's a good idea to also find out the clinic's success rate, if possible. You can find many fertility clinics' success rates in the Centers for Disease Control's (CDC) publication "The Assisted Reproductive Technology Success Rates in the United States: National Summary and Fertility Clinic Reports". Not every fertility clinic reports to the CDC; however, even if your prospective clinic is not included, this will give you enough information to ask informed questions and understand success rates in your region. Many factors contribute to a clinic's success rate, so it is important to understand all the data.

Questions to Ask

It's a good idea to go into the initial appointment armed with questions for the specialist. The following is some information you should find out about the RE and the clinic before you agree to proceed with treatment:

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