By Mary Sabo, L.Ac. DACM
When it comes time to seek medical help for your fertility, finding the right specialist can make a huge difference in your experience. Fertility doctors are called Reproductive Endocrinologists (RE) and depending on where you live, there may be many or only a few from which to choose. In Manhattan, where I practice, there are hundreds of doctors in dozens of clinics in the region and it can be confusing to figure out where to go.
When I am working with a patient who I suspect may need Western medical fertility support and who does not yet have an RE, I carefully consider their case, their needs, and their preferences for intervention. I see patients from most of the fertility clinics in the region and have over time learned the nuances in their approaches, success rates, bedside manners and areas of expertise. I use this knowledge to help guide my patients to an RE who might be the best fit for them.
Those of you who don’t have a fertility-savvy acupuncturist in your neighborhood may need to do a bit more research. Lucky for you, a new website exists that is collecting information, reviews, and statistics on fertility clinics in cities around the US. FertilityIQ is a wonderful tool that empowers couples to learn more about their options when it comes to choosing an RE and fertility clinic. It was created by a San Francisco couple who experienced their own frustrating fertility journey and dreamed of making it easier for others. The site includes a summary of each clinic’s reported statistics compared to the national average, as well as lots of other details such as the responsiveness of the nursing staff, how often patients see their doctor, and personalized (and verified) reviews. It’s a great place to start if you are searching for a fertility doctor.
Here are some other things to consider when looking for an RE:
1. Success rate. All fertility clinics are required to post statistics of their success rates. Most have them on their websites, but the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has them all on this website.
2. Do they accept your insurance? Let’s face it; fertility treatments can be expensive (some clinics charge upwards of $20,000 for one IVF cycle). If you have many choices in your area, narrow it down by who accepts your insurance and then research those options.
3. Get a referral. Talk to your OB GYN, your primary care physician, your acupuncturist or friends who may have gone through the fertility process.
4. Schedule a consultation (or a few). The consultation is where you will sit down and chat with your RE in order to make a fertility plan. He or She will take a history of your case and may want to do a pelvic ultrasound, some blood work and other tests in order to make a firm plan. Once these tests are done, the RE will have a better sense of the best course of action to help you achieve your goals. If you are comfortable with this treatment plan, proceed! If not, discuss your concerns with the doctor. You can also take the information from the tests to another RE for review and ask their opinion on the best course of action. Some clinics will want to repeat tests, but it may be worth it to see your options. You should always proceed with a doctor you trust at a clinic where you feel very comfortable.