There is a lot to consider when choosing the best fertility doctor to help build your family. Below Dr. Frederick Licciardi outlines the top six factors he encourages individuals and couples in need of fertility care to consider when choosing their physician.
1) Training and Experience
A physician’s clinical training and expertise has a huge impact on his or her ability to deliver high quality care and successful family-building outcomes for patients. When you are choosing your doctor, look for a strong combination of detailed medical training received and number of years in practice treating infertility. The name of the institution where a doctor trained is not everything – just because a doctor trained at a brand name school does not mean that institution provides quality fertility learning. Fertility training should have taken place at a center known for top outcomes and quality infertility research.
2) Success Rates
Not all fertility clinics have the same pregnancy rates; in fact, in some cases, there can be a large difference in outcomes. How can you learn about a clinic’s quality? The Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology lists every IVF clinic member and their success rates. Navigating this site can be a bit tricky, but you can use the site to compare programs. What goes into making one center better than another? The answers are experience, dedication to optimization of each minute step, and research. At NYU Langone Fertility Center, we strive daily to maximize the potential for your success by staying on top of the latest research and performing our own cutting edge research to improve patient care and patient outcomes. We are consistently monitoring our own outcomes and making changes to improve your results.
The best fertility doctor for you needs to have a genuine interest in taking care of you and in your family’s success. All doctors are busy; in fact most doctors are the type of people who like to be busy. But this should not mean that they are too busy to understand your case and provide personalized care. Despite treating thousands of infertile people over decades, one thing that keeps me fresh is knowing that each case is different and unique. Just before I am about to start with a new patient or couple, I get the same good feeling that I am about to meet new people with interesting backgrounds and stories that I have never heard before. I also know that whatever care approach we end up pursuing, there will be something unique about their case. When you first meet your fertility doctor, the consultation should not be a question-and-answer session; it should be a conversation. The more I listen the more I learn, making it easier to work together with my patients to resolve their problems. Plus, I might get an additional bonus of learning something interesting about their backgrounds, professions, or life in general.
4) Personalized Care
A fertility doctor needs to prescribe the treatment that is best for you. Does every patient who has been trying to conceive for 6 months need to jump into IVF right away? It is true that people are going to IVF sooner than in years past for two primary reasons. First, many people (but still not nearly enough!) have insurance that covers at least some of the costs. Second, IVF outcomes have increased considerably due to improved techniques and technologies, while IUI success has remained low, making IVF a better choice for many from a mathematical perspective. However, the decision is ultimately up to the patient. Too often I see patients coming in for second opinions after being told that their chance of pregnancy without IVF is close to zero due to minor abnormalities in the semen analysis or the hysterosalpingogram (HSG). Often I have a different opinion -their sperm or tubes are fine, or maybe only slightly abnormal, and they can consider trying on their own or using IUI to start. It is very rewarding to observe the feeling of relief in their faces.
5) Desire to Educate
The discipline of fertility treatment is not simple. It involves knowledge of the complicated hormonal changes associated with ovulation. Expertise in the use and complications of fertility medications is required. Surgery presents its own set of challenges. The laboratory science is a vast database of complex biological fascinations. Your doctor should be well versed in the art of guiding you through this maze. It takes time to teach, but the more you understand about yourself, your body, and the treatment process, the better your family-building outcome will be, including your mental and emotional outcomes throughout your care journey.
Your treatment is not a static process. There are always changes in information and actions. At your first appointment a general plan will be established, but as test results come in, new conversations about where you are and where you are going need to take place. And if you are undergoing treatment that is not working, which is not unusual, you need a summary of your outcome and more future planning and innovation. You cannot be expected to interpret your own your results and to solely direct your treatment. All of this means that you need to frequently communicate with your doctor. In many cases, your doctor should proactively contact you to discuss results and pathways. In addition, when you would like to initiate a conversation, you should hear back within a relatively short period of time and the discussion should be complete and not rushed. If you are currently with a doctor and you feel the communication is lacking, switch and you will be happier and probably have better success. You need to feel a true connection with the person taking care of you.