You have been told you need fertility treatment… So now what? Where do you start? Do you just go to the nearest fertility clinic? Do you search the phone book? Perhaps your GP has referred you to one, but will it be the right one for you? Thankfully there are many options available to fertility patients, but the choice and information can be a little overwhelming. Here are some things to consider when choosing a clinic that is right for you.
1. Do I feel comfortable with the IVF Doctor / Fertility Specialist?
Let’s face it, we are all different, and the same goes for doctors. Having fertility treatment is not like having a tooth pulled. You are required to share the most intimate details of your private life and your private parts with this person, so it is very important to feel comfortable with them.
Your doctor should be approachable and personable. You need a doctor that you can communicate with easily and one that will not bombard you with medical terms and jargon. There is so much information to take in and it is easy to get information overload. It is vital that you understand every aspect of your treatment and your doctor explains everything in detail for you. You need a doctor who is compassionate and empathetic to your situation and not one who treats you like an individual not a number. My advice – go with your gut instinct.
2. Is the fertility clinic easily accessible? i.e Not too far away.
I know this is virtually impossible for those of you who live in regional or remote areas, but if you do live in a metropolitan area, then you will have a lot more options available to you. It is possible (as it was for me), that you could be on fertility treatment for some time. I hope with all my heart that this is not the case for most of you but unfortunately it is a reality for some. As a result, you will be spending a lot of time visiting your clinic.
During your treatment, you will have many appointments and visits to your fertility clinic. Sometimes at a days or even only hours notice. It is important that you can meet these appointments with the least amount of inconvenience to your life. Ha, I laugh as I write this! Fertility treatment can have a huge impact on your personal and work life. You are required to juggle your daily routine, whether that be home, work, study, family around doctors appointments and procedures. If you have to travel long distances to your clinic for these appointments it can make life so much more difficult.
The distance may also have an impact the amount of cycles you feel you can have. If you have to travel hours to your clinic, it may mean staying away from home for extended periods of time. This is a time when you really need the support of your partner, so you don’t want to put added pressure on the relationship.
3. Do I feel comfortable with the fertility clinics policies, protocols and procedures? (The 3 P’s)
Although all Infertility Clinics are required to abide by the same guidelines, each clinic is different, and so too are it policies, protocols and procedures, (the 3 P’s). You must make sure you are familiar and comfortable with the clinics 3 p’s. Ask your doctor and clinic staff about their approach to different types of cycles and treatment options. Which medications they use, where procedures will be performed? i.e. In the clinic / hospital.
FEES!!! That dirty little word that none of us want to hear or discuss, but unfortunately it is a reality that we have to accept. Find out UP FRONT, what fees are involved. Keep in mind that your treatment may change over time, but before you start a cycle make sure you find out how much everything is going to cost you and what (if any) is covered by health insurance. Also find out about payment options and when payments have to be made.
My last piece of advice is to ask lots of questions and go with your gut instinct. Write down your questions and make sure you get all the answers. If it feels right, then it probably is. Also remember that you are not committed to any one doctor or clinic, if you feel it is time for a change, then maybe it is.