Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why see a subspecialist in infertility rather than my general gynecologist?
A specialist in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility
has not only completed a residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology, but has
also competed for and successfully completed an additional two to three
years of training in infertility. Subsequently, he or she sees infertility
patients on a daily basis, usually comprising 80-90% of his or her practice.
2. Is Board certification important?
There is a considerable difference between being Board eligible and Board certified. While most infertility specialists are board certified in general Obstetrics and Gynecology, many are not board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Board eligible means that a physician has completed a fellowship training program in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, but has not completed or passed the written and /or oral exams required to become Board certified. Thus, board certification implies a higher level of knowledge and/or commitment to factors deemed important by the certifying board.
3. IVF, GIFT, or ZIFT?
The SART registry of U.S. ART programs continues to show higher pregnancy rates with GIFT/ZIFT compared to IVF. However, prospective studies at the world's leading ART programs reveal that pregnancy rates are equivalent between the various procedures. Our experience confirms this observation. The SART data is necessarily biased due to its inclusion of many ART programs with unacceptably low IVF pregnancy rates.
4. What is "Blastocyst transfer"?
"Blastocyst transfer" refers to replacement of the embryo into the wife's uterus at a more advanced stage of development called the blastocyst stage. Blastocyst transfer results in generally higher implantation and pregnancy rates than earlier stage transfer, because it 'culls out' embryos that will not survive. However, blastocyst transfer requires superb culture systems and techniques that are not available at all ART centers. For this and other reasons, blastocyst transfer is not routinely recommended for all patients. The Southeastern Fertility Center is fortunate to have outstanding success with its blastocyst transfer program.
5. What is "Assisted Hatching?"
Assisted Hatching is a procedure that is performed to enhance pregnancy rates with IVF. The technique involves the creation of a small opening in the "zona pellucida", or "shell" of the early embryo. Consequently, the embryo can more easily "hatch", a necessary prerequisite for implantation and pregnancy. This procedure is used very successfully at the Southeastern Fertility Center, but is not appropriate for all patients. Also, the experience and technique of the IVF laboratory team is critical in order to prevent embryo damage and other complications.
6. Why choose the Southeastern Fertility Center for IVF?
For many reasons! Obviously, success rates, as defined in our IVF page, are the most important consideration. No ART program in the region offers success rates that are superior to ours. Cost is another important consideration. By using an efficient clustering of IVF cycles, we maintain costs far below the national averages despite success rates that are approximately twice as high! Other programs, which claim low costs, often achieve this at the expense of inferior pregnancy rates.
Convenience is another factor. "Satellite" Programs that send patients to other cities for their egg retrieval and embryo transfers are inherently inconvenient, and substantially increase the cost of an IVF cycle.
The experience and credentials of the ART team are also crucial. The Southeastern Fertility Center's ART program is the only program in the region directed by a board certified specialist in reproductive endocrinology and infertility. Our laboratory team has the experience of thousands of IVF cycles from centers around the country. Our laboratory director is a fully trained and certified Ph.D. embryologist, not a physician or technician who learned IVF at a weekend seminar.
Finally, our patients are routinely impressed by our personal, caring staff and the intimate, confidential atmosphere of our office. This is in sharp contrast to some of the large IVF "mills" that they may have previously encountered.
7. Do you offer a money-back guarantee?
No! We consider such offers to be largely unethical. If one examines these programs carefully, it is apparent that the conditions and screening procedures used to accept patients are biased in favor of selecting patients with a good prognosis. As such, a clinic can easily double its profits with such programs. Consideration for our patients will not allow us to profit unfairly from their difficulties.
8. When do I need to be evaluated for infertility?
In general, if a couple has had unprotected intercourse for one year, an evaluation should be performed. However, couples with irregular cycles, a history of tubal or pelvic infection, and those over the age of 35 should be evaluated after 6 months of unsuccessful efforts.
If you have other questions, please contact your fertility specialist or call or email the Southeastern Fertility Center.