While statistics are a good place to start, to make an educated decision on which fertility clinic to go with, you need to ask lots of questions. You need to make sure of the compatibility of your goals and limits with a chosen doctor and his or her clinic.
You want a clinic with strong quality control and strong ethics. After all, the decision you make will affect the rest of your (and hopefully your new baby's) lives. Here is a sample of questions you should ask:
- What technological and ethical guidelines do they follow? The clinic should have ethical guidelines in place, and you should feel comfortable with them
- How long has the medical director been there? What about doctor and technicians? A high staff turnover may be a sign of bad management and it can also contribute to mistakes.
- What procedures do they offer and how often? You want a clinic with a wide range of treatment options that is familiar with the latest technology. You want a clinic that is well versed in the treatments you are most likely to pursue.
- Do they have age limits for treatment? Age limits are a good sign the clinic is concerned about ethical issues.
- When they do advanced procedures that involve fertilizing an egg outside of the womb and then placing them back inside the woman, who decides how many eggs are put back in? Avoid a clinic that gives complete control to the doctor. It should ultimately be up to the patient since the chances of multiple births increase with every extra egg.
- How many clients per year does the clinic deal with? You don't want to end up feeling like a number.
- What does treatment cost, and are there any shared risk programs? You shouldn't choose strictly on price, it's good to know costs ahead of time. Shared risk programs have upsides and downsides. While the clinic is removing some of the financial burden for you if treatment doesn't work, the doctor may also have a financial incentive to treat you more aggressively than you want.
Any clinic you want to deal with will be happy to answer questions when you call them or set up an appointment for you to come in and discuss your questions more thoroughly. A clinic that is too busy to answer your questions now may not have time for them when you're a patient, either.