If you’ve decided you want to start your family using donor conception, the first thing you’ll need to find is a fertility clinic. There are approximately 500 fertility clinics across the United States. So how do you know which clinic is the right one for you?
Many people look for a fertility clinic in their geographical area. Others may look for specific clinics and doctors (known as Reproductive Endocrinologists) based on reputation, success rates and size. You may start thinking of your own needs Some clients prefer a large, bustling clinic with several REs on staff, while others are looking for a more boutique service, with just one fertility doctor at the clinic.
When choosing your fertility team there are many factors to consider. You will want to check their success rates and interview those in your area to see who you are a good personal fit. You can also check the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART success rates). This will list the number of reported fertility cycles, broken down by type of cycle.
While success rates can help determine how good a clinic is, it is important to feel that the RE and the clinic staff are a good match for you. Some of our clients prefer a large, bustling clinic with several REs on staff, while others are looking for a more bespoke service, with just one fertility doctor at the clinic.
It’s also important to choose a fertility clinic that has had a lot of experience working with egg donor cycles. You can check SART for this information and ask the clinic to explain their success rates.
When recommending clinics to our clients, we tend to favor those where each RE has a dedicated third party fertility staff so that you and your egg donor will all be seeing the same people each time. Having consistency ensures that all involved know your story and offers a sense of support throughout the process. This can be particularly important if you are an international patient since you don’t want to waste precious time making the staff familiar with your story each time you connect. Feeling confident and supported by your medical team will also go a long way toward a positive outcome. There have been numerous studies on the benefit of one’s state of mind and the effect on positive pregnancy outcomes.
In addition to your top-notch RE, you will meet the clinic team. At most fertility clinics, the team includes an embryologist (a specially-trained scientist who handles your precious eggs and sperm outside the body), nurses, and coordination staff. Each person plays a part in making sure all of this comes together to successfully create your family. A note to our international intended parents: in the United States, REs are associated with specific fertility clinics. You will not need to choose a clinic and an RE since when you choose one you are choosing the other by default.
The terms clinic and RE are often used interchangeably because the RE or fertility specialist is always part of a specific clinic where the procedures will take place. Each clinic has an embryology lab. The lab is key and will be headed by an embryologist.
Here are a few good questions to ask when you are interviewing clinics:
- How many egg donor cycles do they do each year on average?
- Does the RE have a dedicated staff that you will see each time you visit?
- If you are an international patient: How many international patients do they work with each year?
- How many patients from your country have they helped?
- Do they have anyone on staff who speaks your language?
- Does the clinic have in-house mental health support?
- Will you meet with a genetic counselor there?
Interview as many possible contenders to find your best personal fit. When you are narrowing down your choice of clinics, think about this:
- What kind of impression did they make?
- How did you feel about the clinic facilities (if you visited in person)
- Do they offer a video consultation
- Meet with the RE as well as the clinic team. There is a whole team that will manage your donor egg cycle including the embryologist, third party nurses and coordinators.
Still need more help? Ask your Tulip Coach for a referral! We have strong relationships with all U.S. fertility clinics and can help you find the best fertility clinic for your family. Sign up free today.