Doing your Research

Medical, financial and emotional realities will all factor into your decision about where to pursue fertility treatment. Even though your fertility doctor will make a determination based on diagnostics, those financial and emotional factors can still influence your decisions about recommended treatment strategies. The best way to deal with this is to arm yourself with information.

Investigating Fertility Doctors and Fertility Clinics
A fertility doctor, known as a reproductive endocrinologist (RE), can assess your reproductive health, identify potential problems and educate you about your options. The fertility doctor you decide to work with will essentially be your guide through the process of evaluation, diagnosis and treatment - so choosing the right doctor is important.

Choosing the right clinic is also one of the most critical decisions you will make, so spend time researching clinics. But try to keep what you read about clinic success rate reports in perspective.

You should talk to your fertility doctor about clinic success rates, particularly live births in women in your age group doing the same procedure you may undergo. Ask how many times a year this procedure is done and make sure you're working with a doctor and clinic whose philosophy fits yours.

Learning About Treatment Options
Fertility doctors have many different strategies to help you overcome infertility but treatments generally fall into a few broad categories:

  • Surgical procedures to address physical barriers
  • Drug therapies to regulate hormones and promote egg or sperm production
  • Insemination techniques to bypass problem areas
  • Assisted reproductive technologies (ART) like in vitro fertilization (IVF) to bypass problem areas

Your doctor will counsel you on which strategies are appropriate for you, of course. However, it's good to do some research yourself so you have at least a basic overview of fertility treatment options from the outset. This will help you ask informed questions at your appointment and help you learn more along the way.

Exploring Financial Options
The process of undergoing fertility treatment can be both emotionally and financially draining. Your doctor's office or clinic will most likely have staff members whose job it is to explain costs and verify insurance coverage. They can help you estimate the overall cost of treatment, but you should always do two things yourself: Confirm benefits (and limits to benefits) directly with your insurance provider Take stock of your financial resources in a realistic way, considering both best- and worst-case scenarios Also, if you are considering low-cost fertility treatment options, be sure you fully understand the tradeoffs.

Whatever you decide, make sure you ask your fertility doctor for a detailed list of procedures, medications and associated costs ahead of time so that you can become educated about the financial demands of a recommended treatment path.