by Eran Amir, Founder and CEO of GoStork
Grain Fertility is dedicated to giving patients, advocates, and healthcare providers the opportunity to provide their unique, diverse insights and experiences of what it is like to deal with fertility issues. Grain Fertility is proud to provide Eran Amir, Founder and CEO of GoStork, with the opportunity to help patients by giving tips on how what they should consider when making the important decision of choosing a fertility clinic.
Deciding to start fertility treatment, such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), is an emotional and life-changing step in your family-building journey. Having the right fertility clinic accompanying you ensures that you get the expertise and support you need along the way. While there is no one size fits all when it comes to the ‘best’ fertility clinic, there are several common factors to consider as you research your options and try to find the best match for your needs and preferences. We hope this article will help you make a much more informed decision!
What to Consider When Choosing an IVF Clinic
Choosing the best fertility clinic for you is highly dependent on your personal situation. Nonetheless, there are elements which you should consider during your decision-making process. While most fertility clinics have a structured discussion prepared for new patients, it helps to go into that appointment prepared (with both your questions and something to take notes on the answers!). Let’s go over what you should consider as you research your options, as well as what to ask if you have further questions.
1. Experience and Success rates:
The number of successful treatments the clinic performs each year is a good indication of its success. Fertility clinics are bound by law to report and verify data annually related to the assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycles carried out in their clinics, as well as the outcomes of these cycles. This data can help you get a better idea of your average chances of success per ART cycle or transfer – though of course, ART success rates do vary from person to person.
Look out for success rates for patients with similar cases to yours, including your age and the fertility services you’ll need.
For example, if you’re doing surrogacy, you may want a clinic with a strong surrogacy program or, if you and your partner are doing Reciprocal IVF, look for a clinic with significant experience and check those specific success rates. This data can help you get a better idea of your chance of success per IVF cycle or embryo transfer. At GoStork, we make this part easier than ever before. Our fertility clinic marketplace contains in-depth profiles for clinics spanning over 100 locations and we share each clinic’s most relevant success rates based on your personal journey ahead, taking both your age and the services you need into consideration. Only GoStork personalizes success rates in this way - providing a much more accurate picture than the more general success rates you may see published elsewhere.
2. Extent of patient-centered care offered:
It’s fairly common knowledge that IVF can be an emotional roller coaster – which is not always easy to manage on your own. This is why you need providers who really care.
As support is integral during the IVF journey, a number of clinics offer access to patient support groups. You can also get a sense of the team during your consultation process, as well as by checking ratings and reviews. And on that note…
3. Patient ratings and reviews:
Looking at past patient’s experiences is another great way to gain insight into the fertility clinic, its practices and how patient-centered and inclusive the clinic is, including when working with and welcoming LGBTQ+ patients and international patients, as well as if women of color feel welcomed, heard, and understood. Reputable IVF clinics openly feature reviews from patients.
4. How they handle testing:
Ask the fertility clinic how they handle the tests required as part of the IVF process, specifically FSH, LH, estrogen, and progesterone hormone level testing. Larger clinics handle these in-house, others use third parties. For the latter, check that the testing facilities they are using are reputable.
As you plan out your upcoming months, it will help you to understand things such as the overall treatment timeline, how soon you can start, how many times you’ll need to visit the clinic, etc. Going even beyond that; you can look into if pregnancy isn’t achieved, how long you’ll need to wait to try again per treatment protocols and your case.
6. Consistency & communication:
Going through fertility treatments can be stressful. Knowing in advance that you can count on how frequently/consistently the clinic will communicate updates to you, or even that you will consistently have the same physician throughout all of your treatments, can help bring some peace of mind.
7. Doctors’ certifications and experience:
You want the best possible care delivered by the best in the industry - all fertility clinic profiles on GoStork include a detailed overview of their Reproductive Endocrinologists’ education, certifications, experience, and research, as well as the languages they speak.
8. Technology used:
An elective single embryo transfer (eSET) enables you to potentially experience the same success rates when transferring one embryo but with a greatly reduced risk of multiples. This is due to significant advancements in clinical and embryological techniques. In a double blastocyst embryo transfer (2BET), two embryos are transferred. The risk of multiples is high as one of the embryos (or less frequently, both) can split and produce identical twins.
You may need to visit the clinic often during treatment so you may want to take travel time into consideration. A fertility clinic close to home does have its benefits, especially if you’re usually busy with work or family life - it can also reduce your travel costs. Additionally, if you’re growing your family through surrogacy, you may want a clinic that’s closer to your gestational carrier. If location is not that important, or you’re traveling to the US from overseas specifically for treatment, you may want to consider a clinic with specific experience dealing with cases similar to yours as a higher priority over location.
The cost of IVF varies from state to state and from one clinic to another. It is also highly dependent on your own specific case, the nature of treatments required, and how many cycles you’ll need. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the average cost of one IVF cycle in the United States is $12,400. This only covers the egg retrieval and embryo transfer and excludes all other accompanying procedures (such as ICSI or preimplantation genetic testing) as well as the required fertility medications. It’s no secret that IVF is expensive, and for many the cost of treatment is one of the very first factors to consider.
At this stage, you want to ask for a full breakdown of costs (including a list of all costs related to testing and medications) and not just the price tag attached to one IVF cycle.
Some clinics have in-house financing options to help you pay for treatment or allow you to pay in installments - so do ask about this, as well as what can be covered by insurance. Insurance coverage varies according to your specific policy and your state, so it’s advisable to get in touch with your insurance provider for more detailed information. You may also want to keep in mind that many patients are successful at the second or third IVF cycle (not the first). For a more complete estimate, factor into your calculations the cost of a hospital delivery based on your insurance coverage. You can see an estimated total cost based on services for your journey for each clinic on GoStork.
Deciding to move to IVF, choosing the best fertility clinic for your journey, and identifying ways to pay for treatment can be challenging - it’s also a highly personal process. As you move through each stage of your family building journey, it’s important to have a supportive and patient-centered fertility clinic accompanying you along the way. We hope that you find this article helpful as you research your options.
GoStork is here to support you in your search for the best fertility clinic. Our Fertility Clinic Marketplace contains in-depth profiles for clinics spanning over 100 locations, as well as over 60 surrogacy agencies and more than 10,000 egg donors. Register for free at gostork.com to research and match with your ideal fertility provider. And - if you have additional questions about the process or your choice of providers, do reach out to us at GoStork for a free, one-on-one personalized call with our concierge, Erin. You can view Erin’s calendar here and book a free call whenever it is convenient for you. Good luck!
Founder & CEO of GoStork
With more than 20 years of experience, Eran Amir has worked as both a software development and product management executive in Israel and New York. GoStork combines his professional skill-set with a personal mission. After undergoing a long, difficult, and costly process to expand his family via surrogacy and egg donation, Amir vowed to help other intended parents avoid the complexity and confusion he experienced. His passion led to the creation of the first ever fertility marketplace where intended parents can find, compare and connect with fertility providers. GoStork proudly names his four-year-old daughter as its co-Founder.