Early in his medical training, Dr. Dan Kaser from Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, a recognized leader in the field of reproductive medicine, knew he was headed for a career helping hopeful patients become parents. “I saw the burden patients experience every day from infertility, recurrent miscarriage and other issues like fibroids or endometriosis. I knew I could help.”
When it comes to overcoming those challenges, not all fertility clinics offer the same treatments and the same chance of success. What should you know about finding the right one for you? Dr. Kaser offers a list of 10 things to consider if you’re considering fertility care:
1. The sooner the better
If you are less than 35 years old and have been trying for 12 months — or over 35 and trying for six months — it may be time to consult a reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialists about your next steps. Time is your biggest resource.
2. It’s not just about pregnancy rates
Clinics are required by federal law to report their outcomes each year to the Centers for Disease Control. This database is searchable by zip code at www.sart.org. Compare clinics not only on their pregnancy rates for your age group but, most importantly, their live birth or delivery rates.
3. The lab matters
While not every patient needs in-vitro fertilization (IVF), for many, it’s their best chance of success. One of the most critical factors driving success is the IVF laboratory. Hallmarks of a top-performing lab include routine embryo culture to the blastocyst stage (day five or six of development), expertise in comprehensive chromosomal screening in which the genetic health of the embryo can be tested prior to implantation and a cryopreservation method called vitrification.
4. Freeze all
Surprisingly, frozen embryo transfers offer higher pregnancy rates than fresh embryo transfers. They are also associated with lower rates of hyperstimulation, miscarriage, preterm birth and low birth weight.
5. Cast a wide net
Sometimes the best center for you is right next door. Other times, it might be in a different city or state altogether. You can get expert care at a distance and only have to travel to the actual clinic two or three times during treatment.
6. Figuring out the benefits
Employers are starting to offer fertility coverage; elect these benefits if you can. Additionally, 15 states have laws requiring infertility insurance. Check out the specifics about your state at www.resolve.org.
7. Cheaper is not always better
The cost of several unsuccessful cycles can quickly add up to more than the cost of one cycle done right. Some centers offer financing options or packages that guarantee a live birth or refund your money.
8. Knowing about your nurse
Confirm you will have a dedicated cycle nurse at the center, rather than a team-based nursing approach. Your cycle nurse will become a close confidant and one of your best advocates during treatment.
9. Families come in all colors, shapes and sizes
For members of the LGBTQ community exploring the path to parenthood, you have many options (donor sperm, egg or embryo, and/or gestational surrogacy). Find a center recognized by the Human Rights Campaign Healthcare Equality Index (www.hrc.org/hei).
10. Infertility hurts
Never underestimate the importance of taking care of yourself on this journey. Look for a clinic with a comprehensive wellness program that offers in-person and online support groups, yoga, acupuncture, nutrition and mental health. Never struggle alone.
To learn more about Dr. Kaser or Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, visit www.rmanj.com
Staff, [email protected]