What To Look for in Your Reproductive Healthcare Team
Your reproductive healthcare team is crucial to your overall health and well-being, whether you're trying to conceive, contemplating future family planning, or managing conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) or infertility. But how do you find the right team for you?
Key factors to consider when choosing your reproductive healthcare team
Qualifications and ExperienceOne of the first things to look for in your reproductive healthcare team is their qualifications and experience. How many years of experience do they have? Are they board-certified or board-eligible in their field? Board certification is one of the main ways you can be certain that your reproductive endocrinologist has the proper knowledge to take excellent care of you. Board certification means that your doctor has undergone rigorous training and has passed the licensing exams. Ask your reproductive healthcare provider if they are board certified. If they are not, you may want to change to a doctor with board certification in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Additionally, though your physician may lead the team, they are unlikely to be the only person you work with. Knowing that team members have worked together for many years frequently speaks to their experience and mutual trust and respect. Moreover, effective and efficient fertility care requires meaningful interdependence and clear communication.
Communication SkillsEffective communication is vital to a positive patient-provider relationship. Look for a team that listens carefully to your concerns and questions and takes the time to explain things using inclusive language. They should be able to review the pros and cons of different approaches and explain their recommended plan for you in terms you can understand. Additionally, the team should be able to easily address anticipated costs and what outcomes can be expected (dollars spent per pregnancy achieved).
Access and AvailabilityWhen it comes to reproductive healthcare, timely access to care is critical. Look for a team that offers flexible scheduling options and has a system in place to address urgent concerns in a same-day manner. They should also be reachable by phone or email and have a straightforward process for communicating with patients outside of regular office hours.
Range of ServicesReproductive healthcare encompasses various services, including fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilization and advanced reproductive technologies for family building. Look for a team that offers a comprehensive range of services that meets your specific needs. This must include access to reproductive endocrinologists, referral to genetic counselors, nutritionists, and maternal-fetal medicine specialists, with psychological counselors readily available if not offered in-house.
Cultural Sensitivity and InclusivityReproductive health is a deeply personal and often sensitive topic, and finding a team that respects your cultural background, values, and beliefs is essential. Look for providers trained in culturally responsive care and who prioritize inclusivity and respect for all patients, regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, disability, marital status, ethnicity, religious beliefs, or other personal characteristics.
ReferralsFinally, take into account the power of referrals when evaluating potential providers. Ask friends and family members for recommendations. Find out if your practitioner is an ASRM Member by using the ReproductiveFacts.org Find a Health Professional Search or if their clinic submits their yearly success rate data to SART, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology. You can also check with your insurance provider for a list of recommended reproductive healthcare providers in your area.
In conclusion, choosing the right reproductive healthcare team is an important decision that can significantly impact your overall health and well-being. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, do your research, and take your time when choosing your reproductive healthcare team. By considering these factors when evaluating potential providers, you can find a team that meets your individual needs and provides the highest quality of care.
This document was created from text generated by ChatGPT, May 22, 2023, OpenAI, https://chat.openai.com, that was then edited for style and content by the members of the ASRM Technology Committee: Lowell Ku, MD (Chair); Carli Chapman, BS; Alejandro Chavez-Badiola, MD; Serena Chen, MD; Michele Cho, MD; Daniella Gilboa, MSc; James Hotaling, MD; Daniel Martin, MD; John Preston Parry, MD,MPH; Bruce Pier, MD; and Amy Wainright, PharmD.