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Do Your Research when Choosing Your Fertility Doctor

Treatment for infertility is not only expensive; it is emotionally draining as well. You may have to select a fertility clinic, or you may be referred to one and then have to choose among several different doctors. The right fertility doctor to be your partner throughout this process is one of the most important decisions you can make.

Choosing the doctor who puts you and your partner at ease places you on the best path for a successful pregnancy. Consider the standard things such as IVF success rates, years in practice and location of practice. But then, do some online research on the intangibles that will help make your experience less stressful and more likely to succeed.

To follow are several criteria to consider when doing your research …

Experience
Ask questions about the physician’s experience and success with your age and fertility problems. In similar cases, what solutions does that fertility doctor recommend?

Respect
Your fertility doctor should answer all your questions and not dismiss your concerns or talk down to you. Your fertility doctor should educate you about your fertility and the treatment that will be used because the more you know, the better your chances of success. You should never feel ignored or like “just another patient.”

Availability
It is very likely during this process that you will have a question or worry that does not occur during the regular workday. Does the fertility doctor offer evening or weekend hours? Does he or she give you a personal email or phone number? How quickly will your questions be answered?

Teamwork
There is more than one person who will help make this experience pleasant. Is the receptionist friendly or impersonal? Are the nurses patient and able to answer questions? Are there emotional support services available? How well does everyone get along?

Compassion
Technical knowledge and skill are extremely important, but compassion is one of the keys to achieving a successful outcome. A great physician should be able to respond to the physical, emotional, spiritual and intellectual needs of patients. Research has shown that this kind of compassionate, patient-centered care improves patient outcomes and adherence to medical advice.

Choosing a fertility doctor should be done thoughtfully – don’t rush into a decision. Talk to people, read online reviews, and most importantly, ask questions to determine whether you have found the right physician for you.

-Written by Laurence A. Jacobs, M.D

Dr. Jacobs is a reproductive endocrinologist in Chicago and serves on Hasidah’s healthcare advisory board.

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