When we began seeking out infertility treatments, we were given two referrals from my ob-gyn. They were two of the most popular, highly rated infertility clinics in Atlanta. The reviews looked good, the success rates looked good, so what could go wrong?
We chose the clinic we’d already heard of from a family member. This wasn’t something I was quite prepared to do, or even knew how to approach, so when I made an appointment, I was assigned a random doctor. This was probably my first mistake. We went in for a consultation, which seemed just fine, but that was the last time I ever saw or spoke to that doctor. What followed in the next two months was several appointments, interacting with people who never looked familiar, who stepped in for all of five minutes to do an ultrasound, say no more than ten words, and rush out the door.
The phone call breaking the news to me that my pregnancy test was negative came from some random person I’d never spoken to, who could only comment, “So that’s a bummer.”
I left this office crying on more than one occasion, and not just because I wasn’t hearing good news. I was confused. I didn’t know what to expect next or what was happening in my body at all, and I didn’t feel like I had enough opportunity to ask questions. I didn’t even know what questions to ask.
After the second cycle ended because I ovulated early, and I was blamed for not taking ovulation tests (which I wasn’t told to take), we decided not to go back. We were paying thousands of dollars for poor communication and poor care from complete strangers.
And then we made the best decision we made during infertility treatments: We switched doctors.
You might be thinking, that’s a no-brainer! But when you are dealing with an unfamiliar territory, it can be difficult to figure out if you’re just being too sensitive, expecting too much, or simply not getting it. I also questioned whether this kind of practice was typical.
My husband did some research, and found a smaller practice nearby that specialized in IVF. There were only about five staff members in the whole office, including the doctor, who was considered an “IVF pioneer”, and they were much cheaper.
Even after the first visit, we knew we’d made a good decision. We spent a long time speaking with the doctor, he did every ultrasound himself, and the nurses quickly became familiar faces who made sure we understood what was going on — we didn’t have to ask questions often, because they informed us so well, but we had plenty of chances to. It was under their care that we conceived in just four months (two of which were to let my body rest).
Unfortunately, some have limited options due to money and location, but if you are seeking infertility treatments, I encourage you to shop around. Don’t settle for a doctor who treats you like another number. You deserve to have great care and feel good about it.