Have you ever walked into a fertility clinic and something just felt ‘off’ to you? If your answer is yes, even a hesitant yes, read on to learn more about what you should value, and what you deserve, as a patient in the fertility world.
Sometimes, it is immediately apparent that a fertility clinic is not a good fit. But often, women have already invested an enormous amount of time, energy, and so much more into their treatment that the idea of starting from square one is unfathomable.
Contemplating which fertility clinic to put your trust in or when to switch can trigger anxiety and additional uncertainty.
How do you know which is the right clinic for you?
Your first visit is an interview by you of the fertility doctor and clinic staff from the moment you walk in to the moment you walk back out the door. The chemistry between you and your care team affects your entire experience. BUT, most importantly, it is the responsibility of the fertility clinic to not only gain your trust and confidence, but to keep it.
They should provide you with the following (at a minimum!):
Personalized Care and Education
Transparency and Honesty
Here are my top 7 clinic red flags to look out for when making your decision:
They Don’t Communicate Well
Struggling to make contact with your doctor or fertility team or not getting thorough answers can result in unnecessary stress and frustration. When you’re already anxious about the situation, chasing emails or phone calls is not ideal. It is vital your care team communicates with you in a consistent, timely manner with clear explanations and always remain respectful. If you feel communication is lacking, this is a valid reason to consider another opinion.
Mutual Respect Is Lacking
Equal respect between you and your fertility care team is crucial. Just as you are paying to hear their expertise and opinions, they owe you the respect of hearing all of your questions and concerns. There is a big difference between correcting misinformation and belittling a patient. If your provider makes you feel inferior or silly for trying to advocate for yourself, they are not on your team and it may be a sign to look elsewhere.
You Are Missing A Personal Connection
Too many women feel like they are just a number at their fertility clinic, one in a sea of many. The staff doesn’t know their name, is not welcoming, and doesn’t provide a positive environment. You should feel like your doctor knows you, is on your team, and wants to reach your fertility goals as badly as you do.
Your Doctor Is Distracted
Time with them is precious. They should help you understand what’s happening, encourage you to ask questions, and calm your fears. The last thing they should do during your meeting is check their phone or the clock repeatedly. If you don’t feel like the most important person in the room, it’s time to reconsider your options. Because you DO have options and you deserve to be their number one priority.
You Can’t Be Honest
Hiding things from your fertility team is not a good sign. A good relationship includes the ability to be open and honest at the core. If you can’t tell your fertility doctor about a new supplement or an alternative treatment you started out of fear, it’s time to consider finding a team you can be honest with.
They Pressure You Into Treatment
You should never feel rushed or bullied by the clinic to jump in urgently. A lack of transparency while being pressured into fertility treatment can make an already stressful experience more difficult. Making an informed decision on your timeline, when you are ready and confident to proceed is your fertility right.
They Don’t Listen To You
Advocating for yourself can be daunting in the easiest setting, but there is no excuse for being ignored at any point of your fertility journey. You should be given ample time to ask questions, voice concerns, and talk through your fertility goals to ensure you and your care team are on the same page. If you are struggling to be heard, listen to your gut and consider your options.
Second opinions are a normal part of all medical care, and especially in the fertility world. Medicine can be an art form and doctors bring different education, training, and experiences to their practices.
You should never feel guilty about searching for other fertility clinics or doctors that make you feel comfortable, confident, and meet all of your needs while you embark or continue on your journey. Embarking on a fertility journey is a delicate time and your clinic should nurture and support you in all the ways you deserve.
The path of infertility is emotional, vulnerable, and humbling so choosing the best team to support your family-building journey is critical. If it’s possible, visit two or three clinics before you make your decision weighing all things important to you.
Trust yourself, when you find your ideal clinic, it will feel like a perfect fit for you!