Mirror, Mirror on the wall which is the fairest of them all?!
This question is probably the number one question I get asked the most. Quite rightly given the circumstances. Of course you want to give yourself the best shot at your chance to have a baby and so naturally you are going to choose the best clinic. But what’s good for some, may not be right for you, so where to start…….
Where do you start?
There are two ways to choose a good clinic: From SART (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology) site or the CDC (Center for Disease Control).
Clinics who are current SART members are required to follow SART guidelines, including reporting of their IVF success rates. However, not every clinic is a member and not every member submits their data to SART. The SART data is therefore not complete.
CDC’s annual IVF success rate report called “Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) Report” is compiled after extensive verification and analysis. The data is more complete and includes fertility clinics that didn’t report to SART. However, the data is at least three years old because of the year long verification process. A lot of changes can happen in a clinic during a three year time frame.
Since recent data can be more relevant, SART is often a better choice.
The best site I’ve found that compiles all the data for you is called www.fertilitysuccessrates.com . This site does a comparative success rates report for different age groups and is based on SART figures.
Here’s a link to the best U.S IVF clinics for each appropriate age group:
Should you choose the clinic with the best figures?
From looking at the above link, you might decide to call the clinic with the best reported success rates. BUT wait, there are some really important questions you need to ask before settling on a clinic.
Things you will want to ask:
1. Does this clinic treat my specific diagnosis?
Some clinics don’t do a lot of cycles with patients who have the diagnosis of Diminished Ovarian Reserve as these cases are harder to treat and often quite challenging. So, if you are reviewing a clinic that does take on such cases, an important question to ask would be how many cycles does that clinic typically perform when this is the diagnosis? Are there any exceptions to this and what are they based on? How successful are they at treating this (your specific) diagnosis- On the SART report, you can filter data based on diagnosis.
2. Will you be willing to work with my health insurance plan for routine blood work?
Some clinics are happy for you to get routine blood work done at your OB/GYN’s office and this is certainly one way to keep the costs down.
3. What are the average number of embryos transferred and incidence of triplets or more?
While it seems like most folk are either neutral or slightly positive about the idea of twins, in today’s economic climate, you may wish to consider if having twins is something you can afford. Some clinics such as the New Hope Fertility Center offer a Mini IVF cycle in which single embryos can be transferred. Their results, with the single embryo transfer are highly successful; more doesn’t mean better! Also, for health complications, triplets or more should always be avoided. Watch out for those clinics!
4. Where is the clinic located?
While the success rates may be better at a clinic two hours away, you will want to weigh out if it’s a stressful commute and the expense of traveling on a repeated basis. Also, the further away the clinic is in terms of distance, the longer you may be away from your own job employment site.
5. How available is your physician going to be?
You will want to check on each clinic’s policy. Some have a 24 hour answering service that will directly connect you to your Dr. Or, will it be the case that you will mostly speak with the nurse? These things may make a personal difference to you. Ultimately in this arena you will want to feel supported, encouraged and feel that you can approach the staff with all of your questions. Having confidence in your Dr is crucial- you don’t want to be the one bringing him the latest research data or news and views on fertility research!
Best of luck to you and feel free to ask me questions!