Here at ConceiveOnline.com we try to bring you the latest news in fertility and infertility topics, from the most current thinking in ART procedures to emotional support – or even just a chance to vent, since we all know that TTC is no day at the beach. But every once in a while we like to resurrect something from Conceive's archives – in this case, what we think is a very helpful article on how to choose a fertility specialist.
It’s not so straightforward, choosing your doctor. Sometimes you find someone who has amazing credentials, an impressive pregnancy success rate, and a bedside manner to beat the band. Sometimes you choose a reproductive endocrinologist (RE) for all of these reasons, or some of them, or none of them. The first RE I worked with had a nice, if somewhat quiet, manner; he patiently explained to me the inner workings of my reproductive system and what my options were. Having come to him at the age of 37, in perfect health, and having basically no idea how fertility waned (even though I was a health journalist) or how much variation there is between women when it comes to fertility, I told him unequivocally that I was willing to try the basics – namely Clomid and IUI – but I wasn’t going anywhere near IVF, that it was too invasive, not to mention unaffordable.
Fast forward a number of IUIs, no pregnancy, and a couple of years later, and I had moved to a new state and went to a new RE recommended by RE #1. This new doctor had no bedside manner to speak of, impatiently “listened” to my history so far, and then more or less cut me off to say, “You should have done IVF from the start.” Though that one statement and the carelessness with which it was uttered meant I would never like him, years later I had to admit he was right. I should have been much more aggressive in TTC, right from the beginning. My RE #1 never fought me on my “No IVF” policy. Should he have pushed me? Maybe - it’s hard to say. In the end, his policy was to honor my preferences, and I can't really argue with that.
If you’re looking for a fertility specialist, or for a new one, here are some tips we wanted to share with you. You can read the full article (which includes guidance on choosing a fertility clinic) from which these were drawn here:
- Ask your ob/gyn for a recommendation. And if you know someone who has been successfully treated for infertility, find out who her doctor is.
- Get referrals from a national medical society. The American Society of Reproductive Medicine, www.ASRM.org, and the Society for Reproductive Technology, www.SART.org, will provide you with the names of reproductive endocrinologists in your area. Patient organizations like the American Infertility Association, www.americaninfertility.org, and RESOLVE, www.resolve.org, can also recommend fertility doctors.
- Find a physician who does it all. “Look for a reproductive endocrinologist who offers a full range of services—from the basic evaluation and diagnosis of your problem to treating it,” says Owen K. Davis, M.D. “A good one can do the whole gamut.”
- Set up a meeting and bring your partner. This is known as the initial consultation, and it should be thorough.
- Be sure the chemistry is right. You may end up working with the physician for months—or longer.
Find out how accessible the fertility specialist is. “Ask ‘if I have a question or problem, can I talk to you? Will you communicate with me by email?’” advises Dr. Davis. If tests indicate that IVF (in vitro fertilization) is your best hope of having a baby, “it’s very important to do your legwork in determining which clinic to go to,” says Dr. Davis.
Do you have any more advice to add? How did you find your RE?