How to Select a Clinic
Of course, the reputation and skill of the physician you'll be seeing is important to consider. However, there are several other equally important factors to consider as you make your decision.
During the course of your fertility testing and treatment, you may need access to several different types of tests or equipment. You will want to be sure that the fertility center you choose can easily accommodate these needs with a minimal hassle for you.
Do they have an in-house laboratory? You will have many tests that involve drawing blood or doing other types of lab work. Can all of these tests be performed on site? Will you or your partner have to go elsewhere for any of the tests or blood draws? What about semen analysis and urinalysis?
Ultrasound testing may also be a big part of what you need during your treatments. This type of testing is often used to monitor your ovaries and/or uterine lining during any given cycle. Does the fertility center have ultrasound equipment? Are the technicians using it certified to do the job they are doing? If they have weekend hours, is there a separate location for weekends?
You will also want to know what hospitals or surgical centers they are affiliated with for treatment and testing. Again, your insurance may play a part in all of this and dictate where you can receive treatment. Try to find a clinic that offers multiple hospital affiliations, if possible. You will also want to know what surgical procedures and tests they can perform in their clinic. For example, can they do in vitro fertilization in the clinic or is it done at another center?
Once you've gotten a recommendation and reviewed the statistics, it's time to make an appointment. Pay attention to the process. Is the receptionist helpful? Pleasant? Is it easy to make an appointment? These are all important factors to consider as it is likely you will be in the office many times.
Because the physicians are probably very busy, the nursing staff will be your main contact while you are undergoing a cycle. In most cases, they are incredible patient advocates and will work hard to make sure that your care goes smoothly. You must be able to trust them and have a good relationship with them. If you can't, you might want to consider finding a different clinic.
Is it easy to call and get a hold of someone to ask questions? Do they seem knowledgeable and easy to work with? Do they return your phone calls? Chances are you'll have plenty of medication and protocol questions as time goes by, and it is absolutely imperative that the staff be available or return your messages in a reasonable manner.
Is there someone to help you with insurance issues? Infertility coverage and financing is particularly nightmarish, and having someone help you sort through the details and straighten everything out is ideal.
He might be an incredibly talented physician, but if he is not a good personality match, the relationship may be a disaster waiting to happen. You will be working closely with him over the coming months, and maybe even years, so it important that you and the physician have a good working relationship. Is the doctor sensitive to your concerns? Does he listen to your questions and answer them appropriately? Does he take the time to explain the process, and is he available for questions in between appointments? Trust is an absolute must in this business. If you can't trust your doctor, you should be seeing someone else.
Is the practice close to where you live or at least easy to get to? How is the parking? Once you start an IVF cycle, you will be in for monitoring every morning for close to two weeks. If you have a two-or three-hour commute to the office, think about how you'll feel making that drive on a daily basis. Are their monitoring hours convenient? Chances are that you'll still be going to work while cycling, so are you able to get from the clinic to your office in a timely fashion after your monitoring appointments? Is there a three-hour wait for monitoring each morning? Again, it may not be a big deal the first time it happens, but think about how you'll feel ten days in.