How do you know if your IVF clinic is good?December 31, 2011Carole No Comments »
I get a recurring question from my readers, sometimes posed in the comments section and sometimes via email. Understandably, patients want a checklist of points to review for good clinics and a checklist of points or warning signs for the bad clinics. Coming up with a “naughty and nice” list is not so simple because there are a lot of ways to skin this cat. Clinics can achieve high pregnancy rates with various protocols; there is no one right way to do IVF that yields high pregnancy rates. Ways to do IVF badly can also be accomplished in a unique way by employing a variety of factors such as poor training, poor equipment, cheaper quality supplies, under staffing or antiquated protocols.
In the US, we have voluntary practice guidelines issued by the medical professional societies such as American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) or Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART). We don’t license IVF clinics in the US and we don’t have one standard of care that all clinics are required to follow. Every clinic is different and the choices they make regarding both clinical and lab protocols are based on the experiences and backgrounds of the physicians, nurses and laboratory director who shape the program.
Because there is a lot of variety in how clinics manage their care, reviewing the end result or pregnancy outcomes is probably the best method for consumers to evaluate IVF clinics. Congress thought so too when they established the 1992 Fertility Clinic Success Rate and Certification Act which requires that clinics report their pregnancy rates to the CDC annually. These pregnancy results are public record and available through the Centers for Disease Control website , the SART website and at least one other private website.
In spite of the practice variations in protocols among clinics, I have tried to find common themes among good clinics. I have addressed this question in previous blog posts. Some of the most pertinent are linked below. If you want this information in a more concise format, you can find it in my e- book, Fertility Lab Insider, available through Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You can read this e-book on any computer with free software provided by the sellers, you don’t need to have an e-reader. I love getting the positive feedback from readers who have found the blog helpful or who have appreciated my emails answering their questions. So, dear reader, if you feel you have benefited from my blog, please consider buying the book because book sales directly pay the web hosting fees. Thanks!!!
For those of you who want to look below the hood of your IVF lab, the nuts and bolts of keeping a lab running in good order can be found at the link below but this is probably not very useful to most consumers because they don’t have access to these data when they choose a program. You can find out whether your lab has been accredited by CAP or JCAHO, which in theory at least, shows the lab is adhering to expected standards of quality care. If you want to know a little bit about the steps taken in the lab to maintain quality, this post discusses some of that in Quality insurance in the IVF lab .
As this year draws to an end and 2012 arrives, I want to wish all my readers a very Happy (and Fertile) New Year!!
© 2011, Carole. All rights reserved.