How to Choose the Best Fertility Clinic for You

5 Tips for Comparing Fertility Clinics
Deciding to reach out to a fertility clinic is an excellent step in the direction of taking control of your reproductive health but it can also be extremely daunting and overwhelming.

This is especially true if you live in a metro area as the volume of competing options are so high (check out our clinic search tool and you’ll see what we’re talking about). 

With all these options, it can be hard to figure out what you should be looking for in a clinic. 

When choosing a fertility practice, many people focus solely on a simple google search to see what comes up in their area or maybe take a recommendation from someone they know who has been through the process.

These methods are a good way to start. However, in order to feel sure you’re making an informed choice that’s best for you, you need to consider your unique situation and what’s important to you as an individual.

Whether you’re interested in fertility testing, egg freezing or help getting pregnant, these points below will help you decide which fertility clinics and reproductive endocrinologists will be a good match for your fertility goals. 

1. Check Your Insurance Coverage

Infertility treatments and even the testing are notoriously expensive, so check with your health insurance or HR at work to see if you have any infertility coverage.

If your insurance does cover infertility, ask which clinics are in-network with your plan. This should help you narrow down a list of your preferred clinics right off the bat. Make sure you do this step first before delving into the next tips. Also, if this is your first time using your health insurance beyond a casual co-pay here or there, check out our guide on the cost of IVF with insurance

If you don’t have insurance coverage, make sure you still call your insurance anyway to double-check. You never know if you might have missed something in the plan coverage or missed an update on a change in your benefits for a new plan year.

After calling your health insurance, if you are sure you won't have infertility coverage, then getting cost estimates from a clinic will be important. You should also consider implementing a plan for how you'll pay for treatment. You can check out our tips on saving for IVF to get some ideas. 

Even if you do not have coverage for infertility treatment, you might still be covered for the infertility testing or even OB monitoring at the clinic once you become pregnant. 

Most women have to stay with their fertility clinic for pregnancy monitoring for the first 8-10 weeks of gestation before they are cleared to graduate to their OB.

2. Look at the stats

Once you’ve checked out what fertility clinics are in your area, you can begin to use further criteria to whittle down the list.

If you’re a numbers person, clinic success rates are a good place to start.

Clinics typically only report their IVF success rates but even if you're just planning for an IUI or a timed intercourse cycle, you might want to factor in the success rates for your age group anyway.

You can find fertility clinic success rates on SART, the CDC, and on our clinic profiles. We use the most up-to-date CDC data for each clinic and compare their success rates to the national average. It's stratified by age so you can better see where you'd likely fall under in the statistics.  

While success rates are important to consider, they are not always the be-all and end-all of choosing a clinic. 

Comparing two clinics by success rates alone can sometimes be unhelpful because a difference in reported success rates could stem from:

  • small size clinics having less annual cycles for your age group, making their success rates appear lower
  • some clinics taking on more 'tough cases' which can lower their average success rates
  • the majority of the patients may have had a different diagnosis than you
  • the majority of patients may have had a different treatment protocol than you

Of course, you’ll want a clinic with success rates as close to the national average as possible or better but you also need to consider other factors in your decision, like the patient experience and the logistics of working with each clinic.

That being said, how dearly you take the factor of success rates into account will depend on your personal reproductive history. 

If you are considered to be of advanced maternal age (35 years or older) or have been working with a clinic to no avail and are looking for a second opinion, it makes sense to sacrifice some travel convenience for the sake of finding a more specialized physician to meet your needs. 

3. Location, location, location

We also definitely recommend that you take clinic location into account during your selection process to see what fertility clinics are near you and reasonable enough to get to on a regular basis. You can check which clinics are in your area here

Once you are undergoing treatment with a clinic, you’ll need to go in for morning monitoring appointments, sometimes everyday for about a week depending on your protocol. 

If you choose a clinic where you have to arrive late to work every morning for an entire week and commute an extra 30 minutes to your appointment only to have a long wait behind other patients, that’s not serving you in the best way for your stress levels and personal life. 

The fertility treatment process can be stressful and overwhelming enough, don’t add to it if you can help it. 

If you have several clinic options that seem like they could work for you, definitely take a look at what your travel time would look like for, let’s say a 7AM office visit every morning from Monday-Thursday, just so you have an idea of what you’d be getting into as far as traffic and your time commitments outside of treatment. 

If you can find a clinic close to your home that’s a great option. 

However, if you foresee yourself having to run over from the office instead, then take a look at the clinic locations near your work and see if you are interested in a consultation to learn more. 

Also, make sure to check whether the clinic you want to work with has just one main location or satellite offices as well. To make it easy for you, our clinic profiles note which location is the main office for each already 😉.

Satellite offices are often available for just monitoring and consultations with specific doctors only while the main location is where you’ll need to go for procedures like an egg retrieval or a hysteroscopy. 

If your closest option is a satellite office, make sure you know what kind of visits you can actually do there. 

Ask if all your visits can be done at that specific location on any day of the week and whether you’ll need to travel to the main clinic for any part of your treatment or perhaps to work with a particular doctor on certain days.  

4. You have a clinic, now for the doctor

OK, so maybe you know the clinic that you absolutely want. But do you know which reproductive endocrinologist (RE) within the clinic you want to work with? 

A recent study found that one of the biggest factors in how happy a patient was with their fertility clinic was highly impacted by whether there was a positive relationship between the patient and their physician as opposed to just measuring it based on their treatment success.

It helps to make sure that you choose a doctor who suits your communication style and who feels like your teammate because while the goal is to have success quickly, sometimes quickly for the fertility treatment process can be several months at a minimum. 

Those months will be filled with tens of appointments, phone calls, and conversations with your reproductive endocrinologist on their recommended treatment protocol so make sure you work with someone you trust.

One way to assess this is to take a look at reviews, ask a friend/coworker if they have been to the same doctor, or schedule a couple of consultations with different reproductive endocrinologists to see which would be the best fit. 

This is especially a great route to go if your insurance will cover multiple consults because you should know now that a self-pay rate for a consultation with an RE can be a few hundred dollars out-of-pocket. 

5. Clinic size can impact experience

When it comes to the size of a clinic, some people think bigger is better. But it really depends on your personality and how much hand-holding you will want throughout the process.

So be real with yourself, if you know you’d expect a more personalized approach where your clinic is like Cheers and you work with the same nurses every time and your doctor will definitely be the one doing your egg retrieval, then maybe look into a smaller clinic. 

At the larger clinics with high patient volume and a lot of doctors, you might see your RE on your initial visits and consults but then you might find out that they won’t be the doctor who’s available on the day to perform some of your main procedures such as an IUI, egg retrieval or even your embryo transfer. 

Despite the lack of personal feel, there are benefits associated with larger clinics. If you have a more difficult case you can often find a more specialized RE for your diagnosis, such as a physician that sees a lot of women with diminished ovarian reserve or you can possibly participate in research trials that could lower the cost of your treatment. 

Another plus is that your cycle will be less likely to be ‘batched’ like some smaller clinics do, so you can start a cycle anytime as opposed to rushing to get all your ducks in a row to meet a start deadline. 

High-volume clinics also work out very well for fertility patients who have had treatment in the past as they already know how the fertility process works and won’t need much guidance. 

You're ready to start looking!

This part of the selection process is really down to you being honest with yourself on your expectations of working with a clinic and what will make you most confident in your journey. Know yourself, girl!

With these basics, you should be able to start finding a clinic that is the best choice for you. 

🕵️‍♀️ Ready to get started with the selection process? Find fertility doctors in your area using our database of fertility providers to compare options, check success rates, and contact clinics you are interested in.

What’s the most important factor to you when choosing a clinic? Location, success rates, insurance coverage, cost?