Fertility treatments can be financially draining, emotionally gruelling and perhaps worst of all, they take time. And for those undergoing fertility treatments, time is of the essence. Sadly, too many couples realize, months and thousands of dollars later, that they were actually working with the wrong doctor, trying a procedure that they misunderstood or investing in a path that ultimately wasn’t right for them.


With something as emotional as infertility, it’s normal to feel rushed or that you should grasp whatever solution you encounter first. However, it’s always better to take the time to do your research, plan properly and move forward with a course of action that has the best possible outcome for you and your family. Here are some ways to stay focused as you embark on comparing treatments, doctors and clinics.


Start with what you want


If you’ve never sought out this kind of medical intervention before, you may not be aware of your own personal deal breakers - whether they be financial, practical or cultural. The trouble is, you may only realize just how crucial those unique needs are after you’ve already paid thousands of dollars and feel stuck with a treatment that isn’t a good match for you.


From the beginning, don’t be afraid to voice your limits, your goals and what you expect from treatment. It’s far better to express your needs as early as possible, since any confusion, doubt or frustration will only get worse with time.


Questions to keep you on track:


  • How much time are you willing to devote to medical interventions? Reminding yourself of this will help you focus only on those options that are likely to work for you.
  • How much money are you able to invest in the procedures? Without a clear and realistic budget in place, expenses can easily get out of control.
  • Carefully consider what a positive fertility treatment experience would look like for you. Take the time to iron out exactly what your current lifestyle can handle, your cultural and emotional needs, and how your relationships factor into the treatment. This will make it much easier for you to opt out of treatments that are not serving these needs.


Follow your gut


Your doctors may certainly be experts in their field. And the treatments that you receive may certainly seem complex and even intimidating. But don’t let stress or emotional tension drown out any gut feelings that you may have about a situation. Pay attention to how you’re treated, to how organized the clinic seems, and to whether you feel you’re getting personalized and compassionate treatment.


Niggles about small interactions may not seem like much, but they could indicate a lack of care or professionalism that may spell the difference between conceiving a child and merely wasting time. Be patient. Get to know your doctors and forgo practices or procedures that make you feel rushed, nervous or unimportant.


Questions to keep you on track:


  • Attend seminars or meet-and-greets designed for patients to get to know the doctors and the work they do. Don’t be ashamed to voice concerns or ask questions. How are your questions received and are you given the answers you need?
  • Pay attention to feelings of guilt, shame or confusion. Sadly, many women opt for treatments that are beyond their means because they were too ashamed to be upfront about their financial situations. Keep asking yourself, is this for me?


Always consider the context


It’s natural to go into “sponge mode” and try to soak up as much information as you can about infertility. Unfortunately, not all the information you encounter will be relevant for your situation. The odds of fertility treatment success are not the same for all women.


For instance, you may be drawn to a clinic that advertises a success rate with a certain procedure, but fail to notice that these statistics apply to women with medical histories very different from your own. Factors like age, medical complications like PCOS or endometriosis, and previous pregnancies may make the statistics far less reliable than they first seem.


Blogs and forums are a godsend when you need to reach out for emotional support, but always consider the context of the anecdotes you read. You may soon discover that it’s useless to compare situations with other women unless their experiences closely relate to your own.


Don’t believe everything you read. Realize that certain practices and clinics may only present best-case scenarios. And while personal anecdotes may have emotional appeal, they can distract you from finding realistic solutions that will actually improve your chances of conception.


Questions to keep you on track:


  • Visit a site like FertilityIQ.com or Archimedicx.com to access detailed data about the different treatment options available to you.
  • Avoid comparing success rates across clinics, as the figures for each may have been gathered very differently and don’t give a true indication of the experience you’re likely to have with them. Speak directly to a board certified endocrinologist. Ask what your personal likelihood of falling pregnant is with a particular treatment, and go from there.


Unfortunately, seeking fertility treatment is not the same as shopping around for a car mechanic! Infertility is a complex subject. You’re not only dealing with the idiosyncrasies of your body, but also your expectations, hopes, fears and limitations. This means the stakes for seeking the right treatment can seem extremely high. It can be difficult to properly process all the information available to you, and sadly some clinics will prey on the desperation or confusion of those who are struggling to conceive.


But if you can take a moment to truly understand what you need and want, and carefully evaluate all the options open to you, you can go a long way to taking charge of your situation ...and everything that makes that situation unique to you.