How Do You Find the Best Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinic?
You’re ready to start your family. Your next step is to choose the ART clinic that will perform your procedure. Of course, you want the very best clinic around. But with hundreds of clinics employing thousands of doctors, how can you possibly know who to choose?
Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Here at Doctor Review, helping you choose the right provider for your elective health procedure is one of our specialties. Here are a few tips to make sure you’re choosing the best ART clinic to help you start your family.
Things to Look For in an Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinic
SART and ASRM: Acronyms that Stand for Quality
When you’re looking into fertility clinics, there are two acronyms you might want to be familiar with. SART stands for the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, which is the primary organization of professionals that practice ART. Clinics can be affiliated with SART if they meet certain standards of care. ASRM stands for the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. It publishes guidelines for infertility treatment that are based on the latest research and technological developments. Clinics that use ASRM guidelines for treatment are the most likely to have success for their patients. When you’re checking out a fertility clinic, look for both of these acronyms. They’ll usually be available on the clinic’s main page if the clinic is associated with them.
Every year, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) compiles detailed statistics on the procedures performed by ART clinics. By law, it’s mandatory for all clinics that perform ART to report certain information to the CDC. The reports are available here. They include data such as which types of ART are performed at each clinic, and pregnancy success rates for various types of ART procedures broken down by the age of the woman. There’s also a compilation of national data, which can help you realistically assess what your chances of success are if you use ART, based on your age and diagnosis.
When looking at this information, it could be tempting to look for the clinic with the highest success rates. However, keep in mind that the CDC doesn’t rank clinics, and this is for a reason! It’s very hard to interpret the data, because different types of patients come to different clinics. A clinic that serves mostly younger patients with problems that are easy to treat might look more successful than one that serves mostly older patients with complex problems, even though the latter clinic might actually be better at what they do. So try to avoid the temptation to simply choose the clinic with the highest success rate. However, you could consider the information in this report as you make your decisions.
Technically, the definition of ART includes IVF and similar procedures, but it does not include artificial insemination or ovulation induction. So if these are the procedures you’re considering, you can receive them at most fertility clinics, but you won’t be able to find information about success rates in the ART report.
Recent Training and Experience
You also want information on how often this clinic has done the particular procedure(s) you’re considering, or whether the providers have recently had continuing education to learn new techniques. Also, ensure that the clinic does the procedure(s) you’re considering or that you think you might need. If you’re calling the front desk as a potential new patient, you may be able to ask about this information. Sometimes, it’s available on the clinic’s website. You may need to have a consultation and ask directly; some clinics offer complimentary consultations. This information is valuable in terms of determining whether the clinic you’re considering can perform the procedure you’re seeking at a high quality. It could also avoid a situation where you need to change clinics later in your treatment, because the first clinic you chose doesn’t have all of the procedures available.
While you do want someone who’s experienced and knowledgable, it’s at least as important to find a provider with whom you feel comfortable, who listens to you, tries to understand your goals, and answers your questions. If your provider doesn’t take the time to connect with you in this way, then you could end up making choices that you later regret, because they really weren’t right for you.
You also want a provider who helps you feel calm, rather than heightening your anxiety. This makes your ART journey far more pleasant, helps you make the best choices for yourself, and may even increase the chances that you’ll become pregnant, because being relaxed and calm puts your body in the best state for achieving pregnancy.
What About the Money?
It’s important not to let cost be the only factor in your decision. Simply choosing the cheapest ART clinic you can find is likely to lead to unsatisfying outcomes. However, since medical insurance doesn’t always cover ART, and the costs of it can easily run into the many thousands of dollars, the balance in your bank account might force you to consider cost as part of your decision. You can sometimes simply ask the front desk staff to give you estimated prices on a variety of procedures, or you can have a consultation to get a more accurate estimate. The availability of payment plans, and whether or not the clinic accepts insurance (not all clinics do) may also be important to you. Just keep in mind that if you don’t have the money you need to pay the provider you want, financing your procedure is an option.
Ask For a Little Help From Your Friends
Referrals from friends and family, especially if they’ve had the particular procedure you’re considering, can be especially valuable. You might not know who’s had help from assisted reproductive technology in creating their family, but it’s so common that you almost certainly know more than one person who’s used ART! You might feel comfortable putting it out there: “I’m looking for a great fertility clinic, do you know of one?” You might find the perfect fit this way. However, many people would like to be more discreet, rather than announcing their choice to seek ART to the world. Instead, or in addition, you can search on Doctor Review to read reviews of ART clinics in your area. This is a great way to broaden your search and make sure you’re considering all the options, and to get advice from people who’ve had exactly the procedure you’re seeking, all while maintaining your privacy.
So Which is the Best Assisted Reproductive Technology Clinic?
The best clinic is the one with the factors listed above. Bottom line, the clinic where you feel the most comfortable is the best one for you. Infertility can feel overwhelming at times, and having a clinic you trust can help. If you’re seeking ART, feeling good about your journey to starting your family starts with feeling confident in your ART clinic!