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Tips for Selecting an Infertility Practice

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Updated January 01, 2013

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Selecting an infertility practice isn't easy because there are a lot of factors to consider, not just the physician treating you. The truth is, you will be dealing with the clinic very intimately in the coming months and it is important that you consider many other things. Here are four things you should think about before making your first appointment.

1. Your Commute

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you should try to find a facility close to where you live. You'll be making a lot of visits over the coming months. If you proceed to IVF or even injectable gonadotropins, you will need to be in the office every morning or every other morning for a period of up to two weeks. If your commute, not just between your house and the office, but from the office to your workplace, is an hour or more, you will be adding a lot of stress to the process.

2. Your Wait

Some of the larger clinics have waits of up to two or three hours in the morning before your daily monitoring visit. This may not seem like a big deal if it happens once or twice but this may pose a problem if you are in a rush to get to work, especially if your boss doesn't know that you're undergoing treatment. Ask the staff before your first visit what the wait times are like; they should be able to give you an idea of what to expect.

3. Staff Availability

It goes without saying that you are about to embark on a very new and unfamiliar journey. Chances are that you will have many questions about your medication, injections and what to expect along the way. It is an absolute must that you be able to get a hold of the nursing or clinical staff to ask your questions. If you notice that your phone calls aren't returned in a reasonable manner or that it's difficult to get your questions answered, find a new clinic.

4. Your Relationship with the Staff

Yes, your relationship with your doctor is incredibly important, It is just as necessary, however, to have a good relationship with the rest of the staff. Because of the high volume of patients, the nurses and clinical staff will be the intermediaries between you and the doctor while you are cycling. You must be able to trust them in order to have a positive experience.

5. The Doctor

You should feel one hundred percent comfortable with the main physician with whom you'll be working. You'll be discussing very sensitive an difficult information and you should be able to speak frankly and comfortably with him. The doctor should give you ample time to address your questions and concerns, and be willing to work with you on a treatment plan, not just talk at you. You may also need to get to know other physicians in the practice, depending on the protocols of the facility. Make sure you feel comfortable with them as well.

6. SART Statistics

Every year, fertility clinics are required to report their statistics to the government where they are published and available for the public to see. Choosing a clinic based solely on their reported pregnancy rates is actually not recommended; you'll even see a note on the bottom of the report advising against this. The reason for this is that the provided statistics may not tell the whole story: sometimes clinic pick which patients they will allow to go through IVF simply to keep their pregnancy rates high. You can, however, use the statistics to get other information: does the clinic have experience working with PCOS? How many cycles do they perform a year? Do most of their patients have embryos available for transfer?
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