“You’ve been trying to conceive and it hasn’t happened. Maybe you’ve been aiming for pregnancy for six months, a year, or three years,” writes Pamela Madsen, the executive director of The American Fertility Association, in What to Do When You Can’t Get Pregnant: The Complete Guide to All the Technologies for Couples Facing Fertility Problems. “Maybe you’ve talked about it with your partner, your doctor, your friends. Maybe you haven’t. Maybe you’re gung-ho about getting help and your partner is foot-dragging. Maybe you’re reticent, nervous, or scared. Everyone’s situation is singular. But there is one universal imperative binding all of us…the search for understanding.”
The right fertility clinic and specialist will give you understanding — and hopefully a baby or two! To learn more about infertility treatments, read The Complete Guide to IVF: An Inside View of Fertility Clinics and Treatment. And, here are seven ways to find the right fertility doctor…
How to Find the Right Fertility Clinic and Infertility Specialist
1. Ask for a referral from your family doctor or other professional. Go beyond the medical doctors: ask your pastor, naturopathic physician, or even your massage therapist for referrals to a good fertility clinic. You don’t necessarily need a written prescription, just an informed suggestion (if the clinic requires a prescription, ask your fanily doctor to write one). You can also contact the various state or provincial health associations for the names of infertility specialists or fertility clinics with good reputations.
2. Ask your friends, family members, and colleagues around about infertility specialists. The best way to start a search for fertility doctors is to talk with friends who have had a good experience with someone. Infertility can be an embarrassing thing to talk about, but if you can overcoming the stigma of infertility, you’ll dig up some invaluable and even fascinating information about getting pregnant! I’m always shocked at how many people I know who’ve dealt with or are coping with infertility issues…it’s more common than you think.
3. Google or do an internet search for the terms “fertility clinic”, “infertility specialist”, and “fertility doctor” in your area. Many good fertility clinics advertise in the phone book or through their own website. Some fertility clinics have websites that allow you to send a blind email so you can remain anonymous. Ask for specific information about your specific issue – go beyond the “we can’t get pregnant because of female infertility or infertility.” Instead, ask about your polycystic ovarian syndrome or your partner’s low sperm count.
4. Google or do an internet search for a specific infertility specialist. After you get the name of a clinic or two, search for their specific name. You may find additional information from patients or friends or family members of patients. When you’re finding the right fertility clinic, it’s good to learn as much as you can. But, remember to take each opinion with a grain of salt. Everyone has different experiences, and yours might be better than the worst situation you read about. But still, it’s good to hear what others are saying – and it’s good to talk to your fertility specialist about what you learned.
5. Talk to several infertility doctors. Before you jump into the possible treatments at any fertility clinic, ask questions such as: What is your training? How much experience do you have? What is your philosophy or therapeutic approach? What’s your success rate? A good fertility specialist will be happy to give you information about their education and experience. Write down your questions and answers before you go into your appointments. Make sure the fertility specialist has experience with your particular type of infertility.
6. Trust your gut from Day One. If you’re not comfortable with or simply don’t like your infertility specialist, then walk away right away. Don’t stick around, hoping things get better or that your gut instincts are wrong. If you’re unhappy with your fertility clinic at the beginning, it won’t likely get better. Infertility — and all the fertility treatments and tests — are far too important to be treated likely, so don’t brush away your concerns or bad vibes! Trust your gut.
7. Talk to a fertility counselor. When my husband and I tried to get pregnant through intrauterine insemination (IUI) stage of our fertility journey, we had to see a fertility counselor. It was a non-negotiable part of the process (but it cost extra!). I’m so glad we talked to her, because she really eased some fears and concerns we had – though she did raise new challenges! The most important thing she taught us is that infertility is not something that should be hidden. When something is kept a secret, it means it’s a bad thing – and infertility is not something to be ashamed of! So, when you’re searching for a fertility clinic or specialist, consider seeing a counselor who specializes in infertility — and don’t be ashamed or embarrassed.
If you have any questions or thoughts on how to find the right fertility clinic, please comment below…