How to choose a fertility clinic



gametesFor many who are suffering from infertility, the only hope to fulfill their wish for children is through a fertility clinic. How does one choose a fertility clinic? It can vary from country to country depending on the regulations and the healthcare system.

WebMD provides questions that people should ask when searching for a fertility clinic in the US.

Staff and staff turnover

High staff turnover may be an indication of poor management and poor management leads to errors.

Question:How long has the fertility clinic’s medical director been there? How long have the doctors and technicians been there?

Services and procedures

Know what procedures you want or need, not only in terms of in vitro fertilization (IVF) but other services such as genetic diagnostics or donor services.

Question: Which procedures do you do, and how often?

Age limit

Most countries have age a maximum age limit for maternal age for ethical reasons. Some countries, however, do not and leave the age limit at the discretion of the clinic. Find out about a clinic’s age limit based on your age or your ethical convictions.

Question: Do you have age limits for treatment?

Patient vs doctor control

Who decides how many eggs are implanted? Many fertility clinics prefer to implant multiple embryos to increase success rates. This practice, however, increases the chances of multiple births which might not be desirable to the couple but also dangerous for the mother and the babies. The patients should retain some degree of control over the procedure.

Question: When you do an advanced procedure that involves fertilizing the eggs outside the woman and then planting them inside her, who decides how many eggs go back in — the doctor or patient?

Case load

The more patients are treated, the more overworked  are the staff, the less personalized the service is. Crowding and overloaded staff can also lead to errors

Question: How many cycles per year do you do?

Cost

For some, money doesn’t play a role. For some it does. However, everybody wants to know whether they are getting their money’s worth. Experts also warn of “clinics that offer a money-back guarantee if you don’t get pregnant — the doctor may have a financial incentive to treat you more aggressively than you want.”

Question: What does treatment cost?

In the UK, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has developed a tool for UK residents on how to find the fertility clinic (at least those that are HFEA accredited) that may benefit them the most. The search results are based on the following:

  • Location and distance from place of residence
  • Treatments required and offered, including the option for preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), as well as donor and storage services
  • Financial coverage of the treatment, be it privately funded or covered by the National Health Services (NHS), or both.

In addition, there is a database that contains a lot of information about each clinic, including statistics on performance and success rates.

Photo credit: sotck.xchng

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.
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