3 Things to Consider when Choosing a Fertility Clinic

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Dr. David McLaughlin of the Follas Center for Reproductive Medicine offers three factors that patients should consider when choosing an Invitro Fertilization (IVF) clinic.

In states that do not have IVF insurance mandates, staying in-network may offer you no advantages.

While the affordable care act has encouraged some medical providers to become more transparent in their pricing, there are factors other than price that you as a health care consumer should consider when choosing an IVF provider. Three of the most important factors to take into account are Integrity, Organization, and Realistic Expectations and Recommendations.


Most of us agree that to have integrity means to do the right thing, even when nobody is looking. Recent changes in the healthcare system have made this more difficult for many physicians to do. As many private practices have been bought up by hospital groups, the employment contracts that many reproductive physicians now work under mandate that they recommend using their network’s IVF laboratory, whether it is in the best interest of the patient or not. As such, there is a major financial conflict of interest for doctors when it comes to recommending where further medical services should be administered. For this reason, you should be aware of the financial relationship, if any, that exists between your doctor and the facility that they recommend.

In states that do not have IVF insurance mandates, staying in-network may offer you no advantages. Some out-of-network programs may give you more personalized care at a lower price. Therefore, it is important for you to evaluate your options, instead of simply following your primary OB-GYN’s recommendation, as they may only be doing so out of a contractual obligation.


We have all heard the nightmarish stories about medical mishaps, many of which are due to disorganized practices and miscommunication between staff members. It is imperative that you choose a provider that is well organized, and able to focus on your specific case.

During your first visit, you should meet with your IVF physician to discuss your individual options. At this time he or she should review your previous medical records, request any that are absent, perform a thorough exam, and perhaps obtain a baseline pelvic ultrasound. If you agree to go through an IVF cycle, your physician would select a medical protocol to induce your ovaries to select and mature multiple eggs. Note though that individual patients have individual responses to different protocols. Doctors attempt to match a protocol to your needs based on their experience, so you may not receive identical protocols from different doctors.
IVF is a complicated process, but regardless of this complexity you should feel confident in your IVF team and in their organization. If you don’t feel comfortable with your team, don’t be afraid to look for other providers. After all, it’s your health and your resources that are on the line!

Realistic Expectations and Recommendations-

Participating in an IVF program means that you are taking a chance on getting pregnant. However, it is important to have some idea of what your individual chances are of becoming pregnant through IVF. Therefore you should be careful not to judge a provider solely based on their SART (Society of Assisted Reproductive Technologies) success rates. If you are younger and have few underlying issues, your individual chances may be much higher; if you are older and have had failed past cycles, your individual chances may in fact be lower. It is critical then, that you get the honest truth on your chances of a successful pregnancy.

If you have experienced a failed IVF cycle, follow up with your IVF doctor to see what they recommend. Often, there is not an obvious reason that the IVF cycle failed, but a review of your failed cycle is important. Like many things in life, repeated cycles give you a diminishing successful return, and at some point your doctor should advise that you seek other options; adoption, or moving on with your life.

As you consider undergoing IVF, you should evaluate several programs, and select the one that best fits you. Take into account the integrity of your provider, the organization of their program, and the expectations and recommendations that they give you. Look for others’ insight into programs through word-of-mouth, testimonials, reviews, or online forums. Don’t be afraid to ask questions! If you have doubts about your physician, or think that the program isn’t a good fit, look for a second opinion. It is up to you to find the program that best fits your needs!

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Jonathan Follas
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