Selecting your artificial reproductive technology (ART) program is an important step in addressing your infertility struggles. There are several important questions to ask regarding credibility, cost, convenience, and details of the program. The following series of questions are suggested to help guide you in selecting your ART program.
- Does the program adhere to the guidelines set forth by the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM)?
- Is the program a member of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART)?
- Is the IVF lab accredited by the College of American Pathologists and SART or by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations?
- Are the physicians board certified in reproductive endocrinology and infertility?
- Does the program report its results to the SART Registry and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention?
Regarding Cost and Convenience:
- What pre-cycle screening tests are required, what are their costs, and will insurance cover the tests?
- How much does the ART procedure cost, including drugs per treatment cycle?
- Will I be required to pay in advance? If so, how much, and what payment methods are acceptable?
- If applicable, whose responsibility will it be to submit any bills to the insurance company?
- What is my financial obligation if the treatment cycle is canceled prior to egg recovery or embryo transfer?
- What are the costs of embryo freezing, storage, and transfer?
- How much work am I and my partner likely to miss?
- If necessary, what kind of help is available for low-cost lodging?
Regarding Details About the Program:
- How many physicians will be involved in my care?
- To what degree can my own physician participate in my care?
- What types of counseling and support services are available?
- Whom do I call (day or night) if a problem surfaces?
- Do you freeze embryos (cryopreservation)?
- Are donor sperm, eggs or embryons available in your program?
- Do you have an age or basal follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) limit?
- Do you consider ICSI? If so, when, and what is the cost?
- Do you do assisted hatching? If so, when, and what is the cost?
- How many eggs/embryos are normally transferred?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a good source of information to obtain ART outcomes for each reporting program in the United States. It is important to find out if there have been any significant changes in the program since the initial release of this information in 2000, including:
- Personnel changes
- Changes in the approach to ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, embryo culture, or embryo transfer
- Change in the number of cycles
- Change in the miscarriage rate, live birth rate per cycle started, or the multiple pregnancy rate
Adapted and reprinted by permission from the American Society of Reproductive Medicine