Infertility affects nearly 10% of people of reproductive age in the United States alone. Many of these people are hopeful, prospective parents, and because they cannot conceive naturally, they turn to in vitro fertilization, or IVF, to realize their dream of parenthood. For many, in vitro fertilization is a last attempt at that wish to get pregnant and have a healthy baby. As a result, they may be vulnerable or desperate, and in turn, more likely to be taken advantage of by doctors or clinics making false promises. That is why it is especially of the utmost importance to cover all bases and do plenty of research to make sure that the money and time spent on IVF treatment will yield the best results possible.
Online research can show prospective parents options for doctors in their area. They may also be referred by their gynecologist, primary care physician, or parents they know who have used IVF themselves. However, it is also important for the patient to be their own advocate and ask potential fertility physicians questions before deciding on entering under their care.
WebMD lists a range of important questions to consider when interviewing doctors:
- What is your pregnancy ratio per embryo transfer?
- What is your pregnancy rate for couples in our age group and with our fertility problem?
- What is the live birth rate for all couples who undergo this procedure each year at your facility?
- How many of those deliveries are twins or other multiple births?
- How much will the procedure cost, including the cost of the hormone treatments?
- How much does it cost to store embryos and how long can we store them?
- Do you participate in an egg donation program?
In considering the answers received from physicians during interviews, it is also critical for patients to be aware of current IVF statistics so they can compare the two. For example, age is a major factor in IVF success. Women under 35 have a much higher success rate with IVF than those over 40. Patients should leery of doctors who promise successful IVF treatments for women of advanced age.
Also, patients need to have a doctor that will work with them and their health insurance company to make the process more seamless. If they cover part of the cost of IVF at all, many health insurance companies only cover certain fertility medications or medical labs. So, prospective patients need to make sure that they have doctors who are willing to prescribe medications and send patients to facilities that are covered in their health insurance plan.
The in vitro fertilization treatment process can be stressful and all-consuming for people who wish to become parents. It is a long, expensive process. Patients will be spending a lot of their time with their fertility specialist throughout their IVF treatment. Being comfortable with a physician and feeling confident in their abilities is a crucial part of the process. So, selecting the right doctor is one of the most critical steps to success.