How to IVF: Choosing a Clinic

Thinking of doing IVF? Sometimes it takes a community to grow your family. There are many people that help in a surrogacy journey. Surrogacy case managers, lawyers, and doctors all have essential roles. Among the first that you’ll work with is a fertility clinic. A fertility clinic assists you with the all-important task of creating embryos and transferring them to your surrogate. 

Picking the best fertility clinic for you involves a lot of factors. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. If you are already working with a surrogacy agency, they’ll likely have recommendations. However, it’s important that you feel excited about working with your medical care team. To pick the doctor who is right for you, consider the following. 

What is their area of expertise?

Choosing a clinic means choosing your doctor. Although most reproductive endocrinologists have a wide base of knowledge, many specialize in particular areas of fertility treatment. This is especially important if you need to create embryos and have diagnosed fertility issues such as diminished ovarian reserve or azoospermia. Thoroughly read the bios of potential doctors prior to meeting them to make sure they cover any specific issues you might need to be addressed. 

Get your own IVF questions answered

So you’ve read through your doctor’s bio and they look like a great fit. Awesome! But don’t be afraid to ask a lot of questions when you meet them – the knowledge gained will help you decide whether you’ve chosen the best fertility clinic for you. Some great starter questions for those meeting their REs for the first time include:

  • If I need to create embryos prior to a transfer, what is your process for using our own gametes? What if we need to use donor gametes?
  • Can I have a surrogacy procedure legally performed at your clinic, or do I have to travel to another state? If so, do you have satellite locations available?
  • If I identify an assisted reproduction attorney and/or a donor/surrogacy agency that I wish to work with, will you accommodate my choice?
  • How much will each cycle of treatment cost and what’s included?
  • How can I assure the health and well-being of our gestational carrier throughout this process?
  • Who will be my primary point of contact – you or a nurse practitioner? 

One sign of a really great doctor – they answer all your questions for you!

What does it cost?

IVF and surrogacy are costly procedures, but some clinics are more affordable than others. The average IVF cycle runs $12,000 plus medications, which cost between $1,500-3,000. Don’t just look at the costs per cycle, though. Other factors such as the convenience of access, requirements for monitoring, and the potential need to transfer embryos to a surrogacy-friendly state should all be considered.

If cost is a significant concern, you can always ask us about ways to maximize your budget. From lower-cost medications to overseas options, you don’t have to sacrifice quality care to grow your family. 

Clinic success rates

Not all success rates are the same and comparing clinics can be like comparing apples and oranges. Most clinics report their success rates to the Center for Disease Control and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. However, this data can be difficult to interpret and clinics warn against relying on it to make decisions because of the complexities of infertility treatments and the wide range of approaches to care. 

So what does an intended parent do? One way to glean some insight is to look at live birth rates from fresh donor eggs. As a group, egg donors are carefully screened for fertility, providing a consistent group of fertile patients to compared among clinics.

Put yourself first

Think about your personal needs during your treatment, and only consider clinics that can meet those needs. The surrogacy process can be long and stressful and it’s important that you feel good about all the members of your team. If you don’t feel good about your fertility clinic, ask your surrogacy agency for help in finding the right fit. 

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