How to Choose an IVF Clinic: Questions You Should Ask
Is in vitro fertilization on your mind? We've put together a list of questions to help you choose the best IVF clinic for you. As you gather helpful advice and search the web, keep these questions in mind:
1. What are the local clinics' IVF success rates?
IVF clinic statistics change from year to year, depending on the number of cycles that are performed. Keep in mind that IVF success rates can be affected by many factors, including:
- The quality of eggs (largely related to a woman’s age)
- The quality of sperm (including motility and ability to penetrate the egg)
- The skill and competence of the IVF clinic team
- Other health and genetic factors
Know that IVF clinics that carry out smaller numbers of cycles may have more variability in success rates from year to year. If an IVF clinic carries out a large number of cycles, their success rates should not vary too much year to year.
Find your local clinics' success rates here.
2. What’s the take-home baby rate of the IVF clinic?
The most important statistic of any IVF clinic is the end result or "How many women take home a baby?"
3. What’s the implantation rate of the IVF clinic?
Another important statistic from each IVF clinic is the implantation rate. Implantation rate is calculated as clinical pregnancy rate divided by the number of embryos transferred. These statistics remove the bias of IVF clinics that transfer large numbers of embryos. Reproductive endocrinologists (fertility specialists) often feel differently about this issue. Get a sense of what your doctor recommends.
4. What are your personal chances of getting pregnant?
When choosing an IVF clinic, you also need to think in terms of “what are my personal chances of a pregnancy” as opposed to focusing only on the IVF clinic’s reported success rates.
How can you find this out? See a fertility specialist and ask! They can perform a thorough medical evaluation to let you know your chances of success with IVF.
5. Do your friends or family members have IVF clinic referrals?
Some women select the right IVF clinic by getting referrals from friends who have used that IVF clinic. If your friend or relative had a great experience, chances are that you will too!
Ask other couples dealing with infertility what they liked and did not like about their clinics and doctors. You can also get a referral from your primary care doctor or OB/GYN.
6. Is the IVF clinic conveniently located?
Location, hours and convenience are important factors in choosing an IVF clinic. Also, consider the IVF clinic’s available services and the staffs’ “personality,” or how well they interact with patients.
7. Do you have a good feeling about the doctor(s)?
You may have an intuitive sense as to which reproductive endocrinologist (fertility specialist) feels comfortable to you. For instance:
- Do you care about a doctor's years of experience or place where they were educated and trained?
- Do you feel more comfortable with a man or woman?
- How is his or her bedside manner? Is that important to you?
- Do the doctors rotate patients frequently?
These are all important questions to consider before you begin IVF.
8. Does the IVF clinic take your insurance?
In this age of managed care, you need to check the list of IVF clinics who will accept your insurance provider. Currently only a dozen or so states mandate infertility insurance coverage. Research your insurance options before you make a decision on treatment plan options.
Of course, these questions are just a guide to help you consider the various factors involved in choosing an IVF clinic. We hope that these questions get you thinking and help you narrow down your choices to help you move beyond infertility and have a baby.Sources
- CDC: Assisted Reproductive Technology
- Anderson JE, Farr SL, Jamieson DJ, Warner L, and Macaluso M. (2008). Infertility services reported by men in the United States: national survey data. Fertility and Sterility.
- RESOLVE: About Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Programs (#1) By Diane Clapp, BSN, RN
- Bruce, D, Thatcher, S. & Berg, B. Making a Baby. New York: Random House, 2010.