Episode 125: Fertility 101: How to Choose a Fertility Clinic
The Fertility 101 Series, because there’s no shortage of daunting terms to keep your mind running, is a quick and dirty breakdown on a specific topic with insights from a fertility expert.
In today’s episode, we discuss how someone can choose the right fertility clinic for their needs. Dr. Paul Lin of Seattle Reproductive Medicine discusses what requirements and key things someone should look for when assessing a fertility clinic. He also offers tips on how to identify a clinic’s specialties, what factors to consider before and during the first visit, and how to ensure you’re getting the best treatment.
Guest: Dr. Paul Lin, Seattle Reproductive Medicine
Host: Selena Campbell, Progyny
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Here are some highlights from this episode:
Is Google the Best Place to Start Looking?
02:42 – 03:46
Dr. Paul Lin: I think as a patient seeking care if you’re struggling to get pregnant,
Google is the place that most people go to first. I would suggest that people go to
the sart.org website. This is a conglomeration of reproductive fertility clinics who
have been vetted very highly and they abide by certain standards of how a fertility
clinic operates and takes care of their patients. We’re a self-regulated society that
myself and peers each regulate the best quality practices that are out there. We
develop advertising rules, we develop validation rules, we develop best practice
rules for each other to use so that in the end, and we take the best care of patients.
Not Every Patient is the Same.
05:10 – 06:07
Dr. Paul Lin: Not every patient that we see is treated the same way. Dr. X versus
Dr. Y may take a certain patient with the same parameters, the same issues, and
treat them very differently. When you’re trying to compare head-to-head, age
parameters is the most common parameter that we use. In terms of success rates,
a 35-year-old woman with diminished ovarian reserve with an elevated FSH of some
kind, myself versus my colleague across the street, we’re both going to treat that
patient very differently. We still get that patient pregnant, but in different ways, and
because of the differences in treatment, you’re comparing oranges to apples when
you compare the success rates. This is because Dr. X might take a patient whose
chances of getting pregnant are a lot harder.
If Unsuccessful, What’s Next?
15:38 – 16:47
Dr. Paul Lin: I think you sit down with the doctor if a treatment plan didn’t work
out, and they usually have a well thought out treatment plan moving forward of how
we’re going to do this differently. They should be very transparent about what they
are planning on doing. You should ask those tough questions. I love patients who
asked me tough questions. Why did you think about that? Why’d you decide to do
this? Why’d you decide to do that? A lot of it is not very evidence-based medicine. I
wish I had a randomized controlled study for every single treatment plan that I
decided to do on a patient. You just need to have comfort in seeking post treatment
care. In other words, go back to the physician, find out what went wrong. This is the
most frustrating part about fertility care is that you think something went wrong,
but that’s not the first inclination you should have. Sometimes treatment just
doesn’t work, while everything is done perfectly.
A Proper Evaluation
18:38 – 19:49
Dr. Paul Lin: Our jobs as physicians are not to say what patients want to hear. In
fact, you want a doctor who’s willing to tell you things that you don’t want to hear,
sometimes you may not like it at the time that you’re hearing it, but at least you
can respect the honesty. Those are the doctors you kind of want to go to, telling a
patient that it is probably not a good idea to do IVF because I don’t want to take
your money, and this is an expensive emotional process. That’s a good physician.
But a doctor who fails to get a 43-year-old pregnant, and the patient decides to put
a bad review on there won’t be fair. The review could say that the treatment was
terrible, but I think it’s not fair. They should be evaluating things that are objective.
How fast was the telephone call answered? How responsive was your nurse to your
inquiry? What was the accessibility of your lab results? Did you get responses?
These are the kinds of concrete things that should be evaluated.
Selena is a healthcare professional, currently working in the greater New York City area as the Manager of Member Services at Progyny. Selena is a graduate of Delaware State University and is currently pursuing her Master of Science in Management, with a concentration in Healthcare Administration at Wilmington University. She has a passion for patient care and has over seven years of healthcare experience to include a children’s hospital to genetic testing facilities. Selena believes that “patients don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” As a New Jersey native, Selena enjoys all things “Jersey Shore”. She loves to travel, go to concerts, and spend time with her family.
Dr. Paul C. Lin currently serves at Seattle Reproductive Medicine as the Medical Director of the Seattle Reproductive Surgery Center (where egg retrievals and hysteroscopies are performed). He is currently the President of the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology (sart.org) and board member of the American Society of the Reproductive Medicine. As a result, he is spearheading reproductive specialist policy and procedures nationally advocating for patient and increasing access to care. He is also a member of the American Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists, the Seattle Gynecologic Society, and the Pacific Coast Reproductive Society.
Music From This Episode:
Track: Family Tree
Artist: Philipp Weigl
Track: Western Shores