When it’s time to see a fertility doctor, it can be daunting to figure out where to start. The first step is finding the best fertility clinic for you and your needs. You can hit Google and ask around for recommendations to get an initial list, but how do you narrow it down? Here, Bird&Be chief medical advisor Dr. Dan Nayot shares key factors to consider (and what might not matter so much).
How to choose a fertility clinic
Treatment can require many in-person appointments, so prioritizing a fertility clinic near you can make a big difference. “We always say that a fertility journey is a marathon, so one of the ways to not burn out is to minimize the impact it has on your daily schedule,” says Dr. Nayot.
“As a general rule, the more a clinic does of one thing, the better they’re going to be at it,” says Dr. Nayot. So if you’re looking to do social egg freezing, it’s worth considering how long a clinic has been in that practice for. If you’re an LGBTQ+ individual or couple, an inclusive approach matters, as well as the clinic’s access to donor eggs or sperm, or surrogates/gestational carriers. (Read more about how to find a great inclusive fertility clinic for LGBTQ+ patients.)
“You might not be able to discern this before you go to the clinic, but you can read about the doctor online at least,” says Dr. Nayot. You might want someone who is really efficient and straight to the point, or someone who is involved in the latest research, or someone who has a nurturing personality. “The key is to know what works best for you and try to find the RE that matches your style.”
“This is the number-one thing for many patients,” says Dr. Nayot. It can be hard not to feel increasingly stressed or anxious as time passes, so if all things are the same (great doctor, clinic, location, etc.), you may want to pick the one that can see you soonest.
How *not* to choose a fertility clinic
It might be tempting to pick the clinic with the highest success rates, but Dr. Nayot warns that this could be misleading. In the United States, clinics publish this information (they’re not widely shared in Canada) but it’s not always an apples-to-apples comparison.
For example, some doctors may discourage IVF among patients with lower likelihoods of success—this could be looking out for the patient’s best interest, but it could also avoid bringing down that doctor’s overall success rate. Or a doctor may opt to always transfer two embryos at once, which can bolster success rates but increase a patient’s risk level.
And while you can inquire about costs, it may be hard to decide based on prices if you don’t yet know what sort of treatment you’ll need.
Ultimately, you’ll want to find a combination of what feels right with what suits your logistical needs. And if at any point you find yourself wanting a second opinion, there’s no shame in advocating for yourself and gaining more insights.
Found your clinic? Read about what to do before and during your first fertility appointment.