Time on video 1.10 minute
This is a long video. I’m writing cliffs note with time markers for the video, so you can find what you want to listen to.
This video is for the woman who is ready to utilize Western Medicine to conceive. At this juncture, you will be seeking a visit with a Reproductive Endrocrologist (RE) at an IVF (invitro fertilization clinic) to explore your fertility and what type of treatments you would benefit from.
Time on Video 1:36
The Referral Source
Generally, referral sources come from three places:
- Doctor – General Practitioner or OB
- Practitioner in the Holistic field – acupuncture, naturopath
- Family or friend
The Hidden Secret of Doctor Referrals
Either your GP or OB will complete a thorough examine and direct you to the next step, the reproductive clinic, AKA IVF clinic. At this point, you will get a clinic name.
When you get a referral from your doctor there should be one element to be aware of:
In the past, your doctor would have made connections with different reproductive doctors. Then they would pick the best reproductive doctor for your situation. This is the system most of us are familiar with and assume the referring doctor has selected the best choice for you.
In the last couple of years, the medical industry has changed a lot. More and more, corporations are taking over medical practices and hospitals. Often these large medical corporations take over doctor practices and once doctors are in the corporation, they come under contract to ONLY refer to doctors within the corporation, including IVF clinics.
Now, the IVF clinic you’re referred to might not be a good fit for you, but your OB has no other option but to refer you “within the system”. The referral isn’t about what is best for you.
This is particular important if you are women with the multilayered case. You want a clinic that specializes in your situation and can offer the best treatment options for you.
Thus, it’s important to ask if this is the best doctor for your situation. If you end up hearing a lot of humming and hawing, you’re probably getting an in-network referral.
The Holistic Referral
As a holistic practitioner I believe it’s beneficial for women to have options and offer two awesome doctors for services. Since my rapport with the doctors is close, I can offer the client a level of information about the doctors and why they suit the woman. If your acupuncturist specializes in fertility, they should know their local clinics and have doctor connections for you.
Once again, personnel belief, if you have a doctor you want to meet with or work with, that’s great. It’s not the holistic practitioner’s decision to make and they should support your decision.
The Friend/Family Referral
If you receive a referral from a friend or family member, remember to ask about the woman’s fertility. Remember one woman’s fertility may not resemble your fertility issues, thus the clinic may not be well suit to you.
Don’t get over impressed with a beautifully aesthetic clinic.
Don’t correlate a beautiful building, shinny marble floors, water fountains, leather couches, stainless steel coffee tables…. all the signs of “top end” clinic that you will get the best level of care.
What’s more important than looks – rapport with the doctor, nurses and how well are your treated.
Meeting the Staff at the Initial Visit.
When you go for the initial visit, remember to pay attention to the staff – from the front desk to the nurses. This will be the people you work with as you progress through the fertility journey.
IVF treatments are stressful. Can the clinic staff provide you with the best support to moderate your stress levels related to the treatment process? Do you feel comfortable and supported by the staff?
The Initial Visit with the Doctors
Remember to have your questions ready for the doctor.
As you are meeting with the doctor, pay attention to your body as you interact with the doctor. Does your body feel more stress with the doctor? Do you feel a good rapport with the doctor? Do you feel in partnership with the doctor? See what your body has to say about your experience.
It’s important to be at ease with your doctor, since they will be the touchstone to all your treatments.
I am going to refer you back to the video, as I go over a lot of questions. Too many to type in one small paragraph.
Asking key questions will help you understand the doctor’s philosophy and decided if the doctor is the right fit for you.
Getting another opinion
Never hesitate to get a second opinion. Shopped at more than one clinic if you don’t feel satisfied with your first choice.
Some women will go to a clinic and hit it off with the staff and doctor and that’s it – they are at the best clinic.
If you are going through the process and not really happy or feel there are certain elements lacking. Get a second opinion.
If you are a woman who is has a layered case (age, high fsh, low amh, PCOS) – if you feel the doctor seems unhelpful, unsupportive or not interested in your case, get a second opinion.
In difficult cases, some clinics will say “donor egg” while another clinic will say “yes, lets give IVF a shot”. The most important component to understand here – is what you (and hubby) want. If you want to try IVF, find a clinic to support you. Get a second opinion.
How good are their laboratories?
During your initial visit ask the doctor about their laboratories associated with the clinic.
What are the laboratories? Its where the magic happens.
The IVF laboratories are key for fertilization of the egg/sperm and where the embryos are nurtured before transfer. It’s where delicate procedures such as assisted hatching, and genetic testing are performed. The lab will have the ability to freeze and store eggs, sperm, and embryos.
The staff in the laboratory are constantly monitoring the status of your embryos and get them ready for transfer.
During your initial visit, ask the doctor about their laboratories to get a better understanding of the backroom part of the clinic.
Should you put weight into the clinic’s statistics?
Clinics publish statistical information about the success of their IUI/IVF rates to the public. The information provides you with numbers on the clinics success for IUI/IVF.
Sounds good, right? Well, there’s more to the topic.
A clinics success rate doesn’t tell you if YOU are their primary client included in those successful numbers.
In a nutshell, when you have the initial visit with the doctor, find out if your fertility situation is represented in the statistical numbers you are given. You might find the highly statistical successful clinic don’t treat women outside of certain hormonal parameters. Where a less successful clinic will take a multilayered fertility case.
When you meet with the doctor ask about where your case falls in the statically numbers. If the clinic has low statistical numbers, ask why they are so low? Is it related to the women they treat or insufficiencies in the laboratories?
Maximizing your insurance benefits in the best way for your fertility issues
I’ve noticed over the years with the growth of the fertility technology, understanding your insurance plan is increditability important.
Insurance benefits can be exhausted very quickly.
Fully understand how your insurance will payout on your plan and maximize it the best way YOU can. Often clinics will suggest treatments that deplete your fertility benefit, but doesn’t maximize your insurance.
Example: Frozen embryo transfer (FET) can be seen as the equilvant as an IVF cycle on your insurance policy. If the FET fails (and you are out of embryos), your insurance will be depleted…suddenly you are now responsible for out of pocket expense for another IVF cycle, which can be up to $15,000. In this situation banking more embryos by completing another IVF cycle would have been a better choice. FET cycles for banked embryos are less costly out of pocket expense at $5,000.
It’s important to understand:
- Understand your insurance benefit and watch costs being incurred as you move through fertility journey.
- When faced with treatment decisions, which will deplete or exhaust your insurance benefit – seriously consider the costlier decision, even if your doctor doesn’t completely agree.
- If you have a limited insurance benefit, utilize treatment procedures that strongly increase your conception rates. Example: IUI vs IVF