Many patients are faced with an option to seek fertility care including IVF in either a private practice setting or an academic institution. Many of them are asking the questions where do they get the best care and achieve their goal faster. The answer to this question is not easy and I will try to discuss the pros and cons of either choice. Almost all physicians have worked at some point of their career in the academic setting and will be familiar with it. There are however some special things to consider with fertility clinics, since certain aspects are quite different than many other areas of medicine.
The fertility center is unique since the patient with fertility problems is in the majority of cases an otherwise healthy individual and as such the hospital setting is not a perfect environment to treat fertility patients. Many academic centers have succeeded in separating their fertility clinics from associated hospitals and they can therefore better compete with the fertility patient centered private centers. Some academic centers still experience interference from the associated hospitals since those often do not understand the particular needs for optimal fertility patient care. Ideally the entire fertility center is build and designed for its own purpose.
Many patients are asking if care in an academic center will provide them with more up to date treatment options than a private fertility clinic. The truth is that the majority of IVF cycles happen in the private world outside a hospital academic center and some of the busiest fertility clinics in the world are private fertility centers. While the majority of the basic science research is performed in the academic setting, the research cannot be readily translated into a clinical benefit to the patients and may be valuable for the scientific community only. Clinical research in IVF is performed in both academic and private fertility centers. Current research studies in IVF can be found on the website www.clinicaltrials.gov. Sometimes, the academic centers may end up very burdened with the various tasks involved in research and teaching and scientific publishing and there is less focus and time for clinical operations. At the other hand, given the spirit of an academic setting, the fertility docs you meet there are inadvertently exposed to the current trends weather they directly implement those or not in their clinical routine. The physicians in the private practice setting have to be proactive on staying up to date, attend national and international meetings in order to provide best care to their patient. The efforts to do this may vary from practice to practice and should be a consideration for patients when selecting their fertility clinic. You should always inquire if your doctor is actively following his reproductive endocrinology recertification steps – you will find those on a diploma as additional stickers for each year the doctor recertified, or on the website www.abog.org. The ideal option is if your doctor works in private setting, but is still affiliated with an academic center.
I wish you all the best for your Treatments,