The decision to move on from a fertility clinic is never easy. Perhaps you have started visiting with a clinic or are currently undergoing infertility treatment. However, a little voice inside tells you something is off — you don’t feel 100% comfortable but don’t know what to do. You’ve already invested in the facility and are wary of starting again from square one.
Or you may have had a good feeling about the infertility specialist at first, but something changed and perhaps you feel guilty about backing out and searching for other options that better meet your needs.
Contemplating a switch to a new fertility clinic can spur anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty. How do you know when it’s time? And what are your options moving forward?
Some Signs It Is Time to Move on
First and foremost, you should seek a second opinion, at a minimum, when communication with your current fertility doctor or clinic becomes inconsistent or not up to the standard you expect. Choosing to embark on a fertility journey is an extremely fragile and delicate time for you, and everyone at your clinic (from the doctor to the front-line staff) should behave in a way that supports and nurtures you completely.
If you ever feel like just a number or don’t think you are receiving the information or education you need, it might be time to reexamine the relationship. Overall, your fertility clinic should make you feel:
- An equal partner in your care
An infertility practice (and all medical clinics), must provide prompt follow-up and empower the patient during their care. If patients are not being educated and not provided with realistic expectations, they will be less compliant and more inclined to seek another practice.
What Considerations Should You Take into Account?
As soon as a patient begins to lose trust in their clinic, they should start considering alternative medical providers. It is the responsibility of the infertility clinic to not only gain BUT maintain their patients’ confidence while providing empathy and personalized care.
Factors you should take into consideration when making your decision include:
- How long has it been since you last spoke directly with your fertility doctor?
One on one time is an essential part of establishing a rapport with your fertility specialist and developing confidence. Your doctor should be readily available to help you address any concerns you may have. If you don’t feel like your doctor is making you a priority, then it’s time for you to become THE priority and consider a change.
- Have your fertility appointments become just another thing to check off on your agenda?
Both you and your doctor should treat every cycle as an exciting time to learn more about your body and how it functions. If you’ve had a number of unsuccessful cycles without adequate communication with your doctor — consider it a red flag. Following every treatment that does not result in a successful pregnancy, you should be offered an in-depth conversation with your fertility physician, not your nurse or medical assistant, to review your cycle, propose appropriate changes with a plan to move forward.
- Are you being spoken to in a way that gives you hope for the future?
Your fertility journey can be fraught with highs and lows. It is essential that your doctor and his staff communicate with you in an encouraging, inclusive and supportive way, especially when things do not seem to be going your way. A visit to your fertility clinic should fill you with inspiration to keep trying. If you feel like that is lacking, it’s probably time to consider other options.
- Maybe you just need a fresh start?
This may be all the reason you need, and it is a valid one. If something inside is telling you that you need a change, there is probably some truth to it. Choosing a new perspective and a fresh start does not make you a bad person or disloyal to the fertility clinic/doctor.’
All doctors should understand a patient’s needs and frustration. And when a patient requests a second opinion, she should be encouraged and respected. It is not about your doctor’s feelings — it’s about you doing what you need to do.
What Are Some of the Difficulties or Positives of Making a Switch?
When a patient begins to consider leaving their fertility clinic, they may experience anxiety due to re-establishing a new relationship with their clinic given the unknown. While their current clinic may not be meeting their needs, the familiarity of faces may provide comfort.
However, you should be your own advocate and persevere toward your dream despite familiarity. Sometimes change is necessary, and you will know when you find your ideal doctor, because it will feel like a perfect fit.
What Are the Things to Keep in Mind When Changing Fertility Clinics?
The primary criteria you should seek are the same as with your first clinic: board-certification, success rates (http://www.sart.org), reputation, compassion from the entire staff, and ease of access to the physician. Your first visit is an interview by the physician but, most importantly, you will also interview the doctor. You must feel comfortable and confident in the physician and the clinic.
Change can be intimidating, but it can also be rewarding. If you feel in your gut that it is time, then be open to it. Sometimes it takes a new fertility clinic to discover what your other physician was missing and to achieve success. No matter what, decide what is best for you and do so without regrets. It never hurts to explore your options. Do what is necessary to give yourself the best chance that you deserve.