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Ava Bracelet Reviews

The Ava bracelet is a device that helps women track their fertility window.

However, it can also be used to keep better track of your menstrual cycle and how well you sleep.

Because of this, it gives women a pretty good overall picture of their reproductive health.

At YourFertilityFriend.com, we want you to have all the information you need to make informed decisions about women’s health.

Learn more about the Ava bracelet, how it works, and if it’s a purchase worth making.

How the Ava Fertility Bracelet Works 

The Ava Fertility bracelet helps you detect your fertility window, so you know when you are able to get pregnant.

You wear the bracelet while you sleep and it tracks five different physiological signs that signal fertility.

Most fertility trackers only track your period and your temperature, but because the Ava bracelet tracks other signals, you know when your fertile window is starting and when it ends.

How Does Ava Predict Ovulation?

Ava tracks five different physiological signals to help identify your fertility window — basal temperature, resting pulse rate, breathing rate, heart rate variability ratio, and perfusion.

It also tracks your sleep cycles and movement, which can tell you if you’re not resting well or if you’re stressed.

Your basal temperature is the lowest your body temperature reaches while you’re sleeping.

Most women measure this by taking their temperature orally as soon as they wake up, before doing any form of physical activity.

However, this doesn’t give them a true basal body temperature. Because the Ava bracelet tracks your temperature while you’re asleep, you get a more accurate reading. It’s normally several degrees lower than an oral reading.

Average skin temperature is between 90.5 and 98.2 degrees when taken in a room that’s between 64.5 and 77 degrees.

Typically, women experience their lowest basal temperature right before ovulation. It increases about 0.4 degrees when you ovulate.

To use this method to track your fertility, you need to chart your basal temperature daily. You should also keep close track of your menstrual cycle.

When watching the information the Ava bracelet tracks, you should also pay close attention to your resting heart rate.

Typically, a woman’s resting heartbeat rises about 2.1 beats per minute when the fertility window begins.

Perfusion is the process of supplying blood to your body. The rate changes to warm you up or cool you down.

However, perfusion is typically lowest at the start of your fertility window and highest in the luteal phase (right after ovulation).

Do You Have to Wear the Ava Bracelet all the Time? 

You don’t wear the Ava bracelet all the time. You actually only wear it at night when you’re sleeping.

Your body needs to be fully resting during the tracking period, so you shouldn’t wear it during the day.

Ava Fertility Bracelet Review

If you want to use the Ava bracelet during your family planning process, you should take a few minutes to read reviews from different websites first and compare them to the information we’ve gathered for this article.

While this information is complete, you can find more reviews by searching “Ava fertility tracking bracelet reviews,” “Ava bracelet reviews 2019,” and “Ava pregnancy bracelet reviews.” That way you’re sure you’re purchasing the best fertility monitor for you.

The Bracelet: 

How long does Ava bracelet battery last? 

The Ava bracelet’s battery is designed to run overnight on a full charge.

You should plug your Ava bracelet in and let it charge all day or start charging it about three hours before bed. This way the battery doesn’t die in the middle of the night.

How do you know if Ava is working? 

The Ava bracelet has an LED indicator light that shows you when it’s connected, charged, and needs charged.

When you’re wearing the bracelet, the indicator light will show a solid green when Ava is properly charged and working. The light will change to red if the bracelet needs to be re-paired or charged.

Ava 2.0 reviews 

Ava 2.0 is the newest Ava model, as of October 2019. When compared to Ava 1.2, you’ll notice the 2.0 version has a sleeker overall design.

It’s also more comfortable and a bit lighter than the older model.

The newer model works the same way as older versions of the bracelet. Like previous models, the Ava bracelet metal ring sits flat against your wrist at night to track the required data.

However, Ava 2.0 syncs wirelessly, via Bluetooth, so you don’t need to plug it in during the syncing process. It also has a vibrating alarm feature to wake you up in the morning.

The App: 

If you’ve been trying to conceive for a while, you may have used other tracking apps to monitor your menstrual cycle. The app that connects to the Ava bracelet is probably a bit different though.

Instead of entering all of your information, the app syncs with your Ava bracelet to track the information for you.

Using the tracked information, the app estimates the date you’ll start your period and when you’re ovulating. If the estimated date is incorrect, you do have the ability to change it.

You can also enter other menstrual cycle symptoms as you experience them, which gives you a pretty accurate picture of your health to share with your doctor.

Also, you can still use the Ava chart when pregnant to track your heart rate and sleeping patterns.

Level of Difficulty: 

The Ava bracelet isn’t difficult to use at all. You simply follow the included instructions to pair the bracelet to the Ava app on your smartphone.

Then, the bracelet does the work for you. Chances are, the hardest part of the process is remembering to put the bracelet on before you go to bed.

The Cost: 

How much does ava bracelet cost?

As of October 2019, the Ava bracelet costs $299. This covers the bracelet, the Ava app, in-app pregnancy tracking, and exclusive access to the Ava community. 

You can choose to purchase the Ava bracelet bundle for $399 instead. The bundle includes an e-book to guide you through your fertility journey and a one-year guarantee of pregnancy. So if you aren’t expecting after using Ava for one year, you get a refund.

Ava bracelet discounts

You can get a discount on your Ava bracelet when you purchase through Ava’s refer-a-friend program.

To use the program, someone you know needs to send you their referral link and you need to use it to purchase your Ava bracelet. It gives you a $20 discount and earns your friend a $20 reward gift card.

If you’re looking for a way to get a free Ava bracelet, the referral program might be a good option for you.

While you have to purchase your bracelet upfront, you receive a $20 Visa gift card for every paying customer you refer. So if you refer 15 customers to Ava, you recoup the cost of your bracelet.

If you don’t have a referral link and don’t want to pay full price for your bracelet, you can try to find an Ava fertility bracelet for sale used.

However, if possible, you should try to purchase your bracelet new to ensure the bracelet functions correctly.

The Results: 

When you use Ava, the app tells you which five days per month you’re likely to conceive.

However, this isn’t something that happens right away. Every woman is different, so it’s understandable that the app needs to gather a few month’s worth of data to really work well.

The more data the app gathers, the more accurate the information displayed is, which gives you a higher chance of conceiving.

Overall, Ava’s proprietary algorithm achieves an 89% accuracy rate at detecting 5.3 fertile days per month, which is why there are there are countless Ava bracelet success stories shared online.

Keep in mind, the app doesn’t detect when you are pregnant. You still need to take a normal pregnancy test to discover that.

Pros of Using the Ava Fertility Bracelet: 

The Ava bracelet pregnancy tracker has become a pretty common method of tracking a woman’s fertility window each month, and it’s pretty easy to see why. 

Ava is simple to use. You don’t have to track your own data and write everything down manually, and you don’t have to worry about taking your own temperature every morning. 

The bracelet has also been through clinical testing with over 200 women, and it’s FDA registered and CE certified.

Also, if you purchased the Ava bracelet bundle and you aren’t pregnant within one year, you get a refund.

Cons of the Ava Fertility Bracelet: 

Some of the Ava bracelet bad reviews stem from people complaining about the company’s one-year guarantee.

However, it’s important to understand that the Ava bracelet isn’t magic. You won’t get pregnant because you’re wearing it. Your chances increase because you’re properly monitoring your fertility window, but it might take you more than a year to get pregnant.

All the company is saying with its guarantee is that if it takes you longer, they’ll refund your money.

One major Ava bracelet con is that it isn’t ideal for women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which is common in women of reproductive age, or for women with cycles over 35 days long.

Ava Bracelet Reviews from Customers 

When deciding whether to purchase a fertility tracker, you should read as many of the Ava bracelet reviews as possible.

Amazon has mixed reviews for the Ava 2.0 bracelet with an overall rating of 3 out of 5 stars. However, there weren’t a lot of reviews and the majority of the complaints were from people who happened to get a faulty bracelet.

The reviews discussing the data provided when wearing the bracelet are all positive.

In Ava bracelet reviews, PCOS was mentioned quite a bit as women with the condition want to be able to rely on Ava’s data.

Fortunately, it seems the company is in the process of testing Ava on women with PCOS so it may be compatible in the future.

Overall, the majority of online information we gathered about the bracelet is positive.

Keep in mind, when reading Ava bracelet reviews, irregular cycles and PCOS can affect the results, which could be the case for some of the women having negative opinions.

But even with a handful of negative reviews available, the bracelet still seems highly recommended overall.

The Verdict: Is Ava Bracelet Worth It? 

Does the Ava bracelet really work?

The Ava bracelet does work. It’s not going to magically make you become pregnant, but it does track all of the data the company says it tracks with 89% accuracy.

How reliable is the Ava bracelet?

The Ava bracelet tracks five physiological signals with 89% accuracy. The company says the data collected gives you 5.3 days of fertility, which is more than most fertility trackers.

The reason the Ava bracelet is more accurate is because you aren’t entering the information into your charting app manually, which leaves more room for inaccuracies.

How effective is Ava bracelet? 

If you’re using the Ava bracelet to track your fertility window, it is pretty effective.

It tracks five physiological signals with 89% accuracy. You’ll find plenty of Ava success stories online too.

Keep in mind though, the Ava bracelet won’t work well for all women. If you have PCOS or irregular periods, it may not be a good option for you.

Who Is the Ava Fertility Bracelet For? 

The Ava bracelet is designed for women who want to track their fertility window so they know when it’s time to conceive.

You can even use the Ava bracelet and Clomid together. It will pick up on the hormonal changes the medicine causes.

However, the Ava bracelet and PCOS don’t play well together. You also shouldn’t use the bracelet to avoid pregnancy or while you’re on hormonal birth control.

The bracelet’s data won’t be accurate if you’re using hormonal birth control and it isn’t accurate enough to completely prevent pregnancy.

To avoid getting pregnant, you’re much better off using other methods of contraception.

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Implantation Dip

Many women who would love to have a baby but find it difficult to get pregnant because of issues related to reproductive psychology, problems with ovulation, or blocked fallopian tubes, look for natural fertility methods.

Charting hormonal and temperature changes is a popular technique for getting natural biofeedback because fluctuations in progesterone, estrogen, and basal body temperature offer invaluable clues.

In this article, our research writers take a closer look at the efficacy of the basal body temperature fertility approach often referred to as the implantation dip.

What Is Body Basal Temperature?

Since body temperature is lowest when you’re at rest, this baseline temperature is called basal body temperature.

Low basal body temperature can be measured with a basal temperature thermometer immediately after awakening from sleep, whether it was after a long night’s rest or a deep afternoon nap if you work the night shift.

Ideally, a basal body measurement reading should be taken before doing anything else at all, including talking to someone, sitting up in bed, or getting out of bed for a minute.

If you move around too much, you will not be able to measure the temperature of your resting state.

Minimal movement before you take your temperature will provide the most accurate measurement over a number of days because basal body temperature if you conceive is high for about 18 days.

A consistently higher temperature indicates you’ve ovulated and become pregnant.

What Is an Implantation Dip on Body Basal Temperature Charts?

An implantation dip is a drop in your normal basal body temperature over the span of a day. It will occur 7-10 days after your ovulation.

Many women ask how big is an implantation dip or how many degrees is an implantation dip? It’s a small dip. Only around 0.3 degrees.

When Does Implantation Dip Occur?

An implantation dip generally occurs about 7 to 10 days after ovulation. However, it is not a definitive early sign of pregnancy.

One clear indication of pregnancy is if a blood test shows the placental hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG).

When your OB/GYN refers to the “pregnancy hormone,” they are talking about human chorionic gonadotropin ( hCG). 

Human chorionic gonadotropin is first secreted by syncytiotrophoblast cells, which play a critical role in embryology.

Like guards at a secure facility, they only allow oxygen and nutrients to cross the placenta and prevent the entry of specific toxins and maternal hormones.

The presence of this hormone is an irrefutable sign of early pregnancy because it supports the ovarian corpus luteum, the remains of the ovarian follicle formed after ovulation.

This support, in turn, assists in the formation of the endometrial lining necessary to maintain pregnancy.

Since this hormone plays such a critical role in early detection, it’s the basis for home-kit urine tests and lab blood tests. 

What Causes an Implantation Dip?  

Before an implantation dip, your temperature will fall. Then after about 24 hours, it will rise again. In general, this cycle of falling and rising temperatures only lasts a day, but it could be a longer interval like two days.

So, an implantation dip is a drop in basal body temperature over the course of a single day, and it occurs about a week after ovulation. Then, after ovulation, progesterone levels increase, which, in turn, causes a rise in temperature.

Does an Implantation Dip Mean You Are Pregnant?

Is implantation dip a real thing? Pregnant women who have successfully used this method endorse it, but others share their “implantation dip, not pregnant” experience.

Here’s the thing: when it comes to human biology, mother nature often prevaricates rather than deliver an irrefutable, predictable, and reliable answer.

While physicists can affirm that gravity is an absolute physical event, biologists often shrug when it comes to predicting physiological events.

Does Implantation Dip Always Happen?

When charting body temperature, it can be a little confusing figuring out why temperature rises and falls.

For instance, is a drop-in temperature a sign of an implantation dip or period coming?

So, if you see what looks like an implementation dip, your drop in temperature could be due to some other biological event occurring.

Conversely, you may have identified an implantation dip on your fertility chart, but still not be pregnant.

The best way to get a more accurate understanding of the reasons behind temperature fluctuations is to look at the larger pattern rather than a singular event.

So, when both pregnancy and an implantation dip occur, progesterone will also cause it to rise again.

How Long After Implantation Dip Can I Test for Pregnancy?

“How long after implantation can you get a BFP?” is a common question. While it is common to get a big, fat positive (BFP) result just 24 hours after an implantation dip, it could take 48 hours for the hormone levels to show on an at-home urine test. 

Is This a Reliable Way to Tell if You Are Pregnant?

While it would be nice to have a clear sign that you are pregnant based on a positive reading of your basal temperature chart, you are setting your expectations too high.

Think of your chart as showing statistical possibilities rather than an exact way to pinpoint the exact time of ovulation.

You can increase your chances of getting a more accurate statistical readout if you combine charting your basal body temperature with the use of an ovulation predictor kit, which is a home test kit to help women better understand their fertile days.

Here are some ways to find out if you have an early pregnancy: 

  • Get a home pregnancy test kit. It works by checking your urine for traces of the hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). If the result is negative, you’re not pregnant. However, these tests are not always accurate and are more reliable by taking it after you’ve missed a period. 
  • If you miss your expected menstrual cycle for a week or longer, you may be pregnant. 
  • A reliable way to tell if you are pregnant is a blood test. This can detect pregnancy at the earliest stage. After a blood test, your physician will be able to check for human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG), which has been dubbed the pregnancy hormone. You should take this test if you’ve missed your period. 
  • Another reliable way is to get an early ultrasound.
  • While a few symptoms could be due to some other cause, a large number of symptoms suggest that you’re pregnant. So, look for symptoms like implantation bleeding, nausea, constipation, bloating, nausea, fatigue, mood swings, headaches, tender breasts, and frequent urination.

When Is a Basal Body Temperature Chart Inaccurate?  

While an ultrasound or a blood test accurately confirm ovulation, natural fertility biofeedback methods can be inaccurate because they’re based on interpreting multiple variables.

In fact, the notion of the basal body temperature rising within a day of ovulation is just an educated guess.

It’s not a probability but a possibility. A “possibility” may or may not happen, but a probability suggests a high likelihood it will happen. Many women, for example, discover that basal body temperature does not rise until two days after ovulation.

Effectiveness of Basal Body Temperature Monitoring

The efficacy of basal body temperature depends on how well a woman monitors her temperature and it is usually the most effective before she has her first child.

For your best chance of success with this method, be sure to take your temperature before you get out of bed in the morning.

Even if you just get up to go to the bathroom and then jump back into bed, that short walk will have increased your body’s temperature.

Next, get a basal body temperature thermometer. Although a regular thermometer will work, it’s not the gold standard for accurate basal body temperature monitoring because it typically cannot accurately detect such small changes in your temperature.

Finally, take your basal body temperature after a good night’s rest rather than after a long afternoon siesta. This is because you will get the best reading if you’ve had at least 3 hours of deep sleep. 

Other Signs and Symptoms of Implantation

There are numerous signs and symptoms of early pregnancy

  • Implantation symptoms like implantation cramping and implantation bleeding 
  • Light spotting 
  • Mood swings 
  • Basal body temperature changes 
  • Headaches 
  • Swollen or sore breasts 
  • Nausea without vomiting 
  • Constipation or bloating 
  • Increased urination 

However, many of these signs and symptoms could be caused by other factors, such as Illness, stress, shift work, jet lag, insomnia, medications, food allergies, alcoholic beverages, or gynecological disorders.

To add to the confusion, some women show no signs or symptoms despite implantation.

Signs and symptoms should not be considered irrefutable evidence. Still, the more you have of them, the more likely you are to be pregnant. 

Should You Chart Your Basal Body Temperature?

If you want to conceive naturally, you should use natural fertility methods.

Charting your basal body temperature can work but you need to be diligent about how methodically you take your temperature.

If, for instance, you take it first thing in the morning before you get out of bed, it is more likely to be more accurate than if you moved around a bit before taking it.

It is also more likely to be accurate if you had a good night’s sleep than if you tossed and turned into the early hours of the morning.

Besides being diligent about how you measure, you should also be careful about how you interpret your records.

Usually, the most accurate interpretations are based on the length of time charting. The more months of history you have in your chart, the more changes in your temperature will be noticeable.

However, you should only use this fertility awareness method if you are diligent about charting your temperature regularly. Otherwise, it won’t work for you. 

So, what exactly do you have to do to chart properly? What steps should you take? Where do you even begin? 

Taking these six steps will simplify things: 

  1. Download our free Fertility Friend charting app from the Apple App Store or Google Play on your phone. Besides helping you track your basal body temperature, it will also help you record the frequency of intercourse, cervical position (CP), and cervical mucus (CM). This app will make it easier to notice patterns and accurately analyze your fertility. 
  2. Buy a basal thermometer for the most accurate reading. Don’t rely on your fever thermometer in your medicine chest because temperature changes are subtle; an ovulation rise will only spike about 0.3 degrees. Your regular thermometer will completely miss such a tiny change. 
  3. Place your thermometer on your bedside table within arm’s reach so that you can use it as soon as you wake up in the morning with minimal movement to avoid raising your basal body temperature too high above rest state. 
  4. Develop a regular time for going to bed and getting up in the morning. This will reduce the variability in your basal body temperature measurements.
  5. When you wake up, move as little as possible. Don’t talk, go to the bathroom, sit up in bed to check your phone, or do anything else that could raise your temperature. The only movement should be to reach for the thermometer and use it either under your tongue or vaginally. Then wait a minute or until the thermometer beeps.
  6. Record your temperature in your charting app before you get a chance to be distracted by anything or anyone else. 

Conclusion 

Using your basal body temperature to predict fertility can help you figure out the best days to have sexual intercourse. It’s an inexpensive way of tracking your ovulation.

It also doesn’t conflict with any religious doctrines or adversely affect women’s health. It can also tell you with reasonable accuracy if you are pregnant.

When you think about it, it’s rather an ingenious way to detect pregnancy without the use of expensive ultrasound or blood tests.

Detecting early pregnancy may be as simple as noticing a slight dip followed by a rise in basal body temperature after ovulation for a period lasting 18 days or more.

While the implantation dip method offers a good way of tracking, the sympto-thermal method might be even better for you.

This is a combination of the basal body temperature approach and the cervical mucus procedure.

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Center for Reproductive Medicine

If you’re having trouble conceiving a baby naturally due to a medical reason or you’re an LGBTQ couple who wants to have a baby without adopting, fertility centers, like the Center for Reproductive Medicine, are there to help you.

At YourFertilityFriend.com, we want you to have the most comprehensive information on fertility care possible, so we created this guide to the Center of Reproductive Medicine.

It lets you know what to expect when you reach out for help.

What Are Centers for Reproductive Medicine?

Centers for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM) is a network of fertility centers that offer a full suite of fertility services.

There are 11 centers throughout North America that employ over 40 physicians and 22 PhDs.

The company prides itself on using innovative technology and running its own cutting-edge labs to ensure its patients receive the best infertility care possible.

Couples trying to have babies use the centers’ reproductive endocrinology and infertility services to help them conceive a baby.

The advanced reproductive care center also handles in vitro fertilization procedures and has a range of egg donors available from which to choose.

What Is an Infertility Specialist?

Infertility specialists, also known as reproductive endocrinologists, are medical professionals who specialize in infertility.

Some specialists choose to specialize even further. For example, one expert may concentrate on male infertility while others choose to focus their area of practice on specific treatments, procedures, and diagnosis.

If you’re trying to determine what doctor to see when trying to get pregnant, it’s important to start with your OBGYN.

Obstetrics and gynecology is considered one specialty. However, obstetrics focuses on preconception care, pregnancy, and childbirth, while gynecology involves the care of all women’s health issues.

Your OBGYN can help you with basic information about women’s health and taking proper care of yourself while you’re trying to get pregnant.

However, if you’ve been trying to get pregnant for a while and are concerned about your reproductive health, or that of your partner, you should consider seeing an infertility specialist too.

The infertility specialist you choose should be a physician that you’re comfortable with and will work closely with your OBGYN to ensure your health is a top priority.

How Centers for Reproductive Medicine Work

You might be wondering, “What happens when you see a fertility specialist?” However, the answer to that question depends on the reason you’re having trouble conceiving naturally. 

Centers for Reproductive Medicine work with couples who are unable to conceive naturally due to medical reasons, as well as LGBTQ couples who want to have children.

The centers’ physicians are qualified to complete several different fertility procedures, including in vitro fertilization using donor eggs and intrauterine insemination.

When you first meet with a fertility specialist, you should expect to undergo tests to help determine the reason you and your partner aren’t able to conceive naturally.

There are numerous possible reasons for this including:

  • Male infertility
  • Low or nonviable egg production
  • Lack of ovulation
  • Blocked fallopian tubes
  • Endometriosis

Fertility issues can also be age-related. It’s recommended that women over age 35 and men over age 40 seek the help of fertility specialists if they’ve been trying to conceive for six months without success.

Regardless, once the reason for infertility is established, your doctor can create a plan to help you conceive.

If the problem is male infertility, your doctor may suggest intrauterine insemination, which is when the sperm is implanted directly into the uterus.

However, if the problem is that the female isn’t ovulating, the doctor might suggest in vitro fertilization using an egg donor.

In this case, the donated eggs are fertilized. Then, they are implanted into the woman’s uterus.

Fertility Treatments Available

There are several different fertility treatments available. So it’s important to discuss all of your options, both those considered to be assisted reproductive technology and those that aren’t, in detail with your doctor before committing to one. 

According to the CDC, assisted reproductive technology includes all fertility treatments in which both eggs and embryos are handled.

This includes in vitro fertilization or any other procedure that involves egg or embryo transfer from one woman to another. It also includes the use of frozen donor eggs or a surrogate.

Assisted reproductive technology doesn’t include procedures that only involve sperm.

So artificial insemination and intrauterine insemination aren’t considered assisted reproductive technology, but they are both fertility treatments that do work well.

LGBTQ Services

An LGBT-friendly fertility clinic offers the same type of treatments as any other fertility clinic.

However, in some cases, the process may be slightly different. For example, if two male partners wish to conceive, they would have to use a surrogate to carry the baby.

The surrogate would be artificially inseminated either using a sperm donor or sperm from one or both of the fathers to be.

They may or may not choose to use the surrogate’s eggs. If they have a close female friend or family member who is willing to donate eggs or serve as a surrogate, that’s a possibility too.

Many same-sex female couples choose artificial insemination. This can be done using an anonymous donor or they can also opt to have a close friend or family member donate sperm.

If neither female wants to carry the baby, they might also opt to use a surrogate.

Success Rates for Fertility Treatments

According to the CDC, there were 284,385 assisted reproductive technology treatments completed resulting in 68,908 live births in 2017. This is about a 24% success rate

Success rates for fertility treatments vary depending on a lot of different factors, but the woman’s age is a big one.

After the mid-30s, the success rate of fertility treatments declines partly because it’s harder for the woman to get pregnant using assistive reproductive technology and partly because the rate of miscarriage increases with age. This is even more true after age 40.

Success rates can also vary depending on the number of embryos implanted.

However, it doesn’t mean the doctor should transfer a lot of embryos at once.

When more and more embryos are used, it doesn’t improve the rate of success, but it does increase the likelihood of multiple babies.

The federal government requires fertility clinics to report their IVF treatment cycle success rates. So you can view IVF success rates by clinic using the SART website.

Financial Information and Costs for Reproductive Medicine

Fertility services pricing varies depending on the procedure and the clinic. Because of this, you need to contact the center you’re considering for the exact fertility doctor cost.

Keep in mind though, IVF costs average between $12,000 and $15,000 per treatment cycle and many women require more than one cycle.

If you’re wondering, “Does insurance cover in vitro fertilization?” You might be relieved to discover in some instances it does.

In fact, there are 14 states with laws requiring insurers to cover infertility treatment and two states have laws requiring insurers to offer coverage for infertility treatment.

Also, even if you don’t live in a state that requires insurance companies to provide or offer coverage for IVF, your health insurance plan may still cover it.

It’s important to contact your health insurance company to determine exactly what infertility treatment options are covered because each plan is different.

For example, some plans may cover in vitro fertilization but not the accompanying injections that the woman needs, while others might cover both. Some plans may not cover the process at all.

How Many Fertility Clinics Are in the U.S.?

According to ResearchAndMarkets.com’s 2018 U.S. Fertility Clinics and Infertility Services: An Industry Analysis report, there are approximately 480 fertility clinics, which includes male infertility clinics, in the United States.

There are also more than 100 sperm banks and an unknown number of egg donor centers.

Most are a part of small medical practices, hospitals, or universities.

However, IntegraMed is a large chain of fertility clinics. Also, CCRM has 11 fertility centers throughout the U.S. and Canada.

How to Find a Good Fertility Clinic

Human reproduction can be a sensitive topic. It’s certainly not something you want to leave up to just anyone.

It’s important to choose a good clinic, and it’s a lot easier to find one than you might think.

A simple Google search for “fertility doctor near me” is a good place to start. It will give you a list of nearby clinics to research. 

Once you have a list of clinics in your area, read the online reviews for them, including any Center for Reproductive Medicine reviews you find. 

You should also take the time to look at each clinic’s website. It’s common for fertility clinics to list result statistics on their websites.

So you should cross any off your list that don’t have websites that are transparent.

Once you’ve narrowed the list down a bit, schedule appointments to tour the facility.

During your tour, you should ask how experienced the providers at the facility are.

Ideally, you want to know how well trained they are and how long they’ve been working with the clinic.

You should also ask how many assistive reproductive procedures the facility does each year.

While it’s not a hard, fast rule, the volume of procedures a facility performs gives you some indication of the level of experience the providers have.

Leading Centers for Reproductive Medicine in the USA

Centers for reproductive health are typically rated by their success rates so the leading facilities in the U.S. are those with the highest percentage of live births.

Of course, the success rates are also broken down by procedure type and the age of the woman, so when choosing a facility, make sure you choose one that has high success rates for the type of procedure you’re planning to have.

What Fertility Clinic Has the Highest Success Rate?

It’s important to understand that no one fertility clinic has the highest success rate across the board.

The success rates vary depending on the age of the woman and the type of procedure. So instead of looking for the clinic with the best IVF success rates in the world, you need to be a bit more specific.

For example, one of the best IVF clinics in the US is Western Fertility Institute in California.

According to the CDC’s 2018 success rates, the facility is rated number one in the nation for IVF procedures on women under age 35 using thawed embryos.

However, the Missouri Center for Reproductive Medicine has a slightly higher IVF success rate for women under the age of 35 using fresh embryos, and Proma Fertility in Kirkland, Washington, has the highest IVF success rates for women between the ages of 38 and 40 using fresh embryos.

When Should You See a Fertility Specialist?

If you’re wondering when to see a reproductive endocrinologist, you’ll be relieved to know the answer isn’t difficult.

If you and your partner have been trying to conceive naturally for over a year, it’s probably time to see a fertility specialist.

However, women over age 35 and men over age 40 should only wait six months before seeking the help of a fertility specialist.

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Egg Donor Agency

When deciding to have a baby by way of in vitro fertilization (IVF) or through surrogacy, there are a lot of factors to consider.

Here at Your Fertility Friend, we want you to have a reliable source of information you can trust, so we did the research on egg donor agencies for you. Here’s what you need to know.

What Is an Egg Donor Agency? 

An egg donor agency is a company that retrieves donated eggs from a fertile woman, which are later implanted into a woman that isn’t able to have children.

An egg donor company has doctors on staff to retrieve donated eggs from the donor.

Normally, the egg donation program sends the eggs to a laboratory to be fertilized. Then, the embryos are implanted into the recipient’s uterus through a procedure known as in vitro fertilization (IVF).

In some cases, the embryos are frozen to be used at a later date instead of being implanted into a recipient right away.

Egg Donor Agency, Fertility Clinic or Egg Bank: Which Is Best? 

When choosing an option for your in vitro process, you can choose between an egg donor agency, a fertility clinic, or an egg donor bank.

In many ways, these options are similar, but there are slight differences you should be aware of so you can choose the best option for you.

Egg donation agencies typically have the widest egg donation selection because they have donors throughout the United States.

Fertility clinics have egg donor programs that are very similar to those through agencies, but instead of having donors throughout the country, their donors are local, which makes it easier for the live embryo to be implanted. 

With both options, you receive all of the eggs retrieved from the donor unless it’s a shared cycle because that could potentially be a large number of eggs.

Also, the process takes between four and nine months to complete because the donor has to be screened and you have to wait for your cycle and the donor’s cycle to sync.

If you’re looking for an option where contact is maintained with the egg donor, you should choose an agency. Clinics aren’t set up in a way that allows them to maintain donor contact info.

Egg Banks operate a bit differently because they work with frozen embryos. When you work with an egg bank, you purchase sets of eggs, typically in groups of six.

These are available for immediate transfer because when frozen embryos are used, you don’t have to wait for your cycle to sync with the donor’s.

Also, because the process isn’t as lengthy and detailed, it often costs a lot less to use a bank than an agency or clinic.

When you use an egg donation agency or a fertility clinic, you can expect to pay between $21,000 and $45,000, but if you choose an egg bank, your costs will average between $16,000 and $18,000.

Types of Egg Donations That Agencies Offer 

If you choose to use an egg donation agency, you then have to choose the type of donation you prefer. There are three types of egg donations from which to choose — open/known, semi-known, and closed/anonymous. 

Known or open egg donations refer to those when the agency you choose shares contact information between the donor and recipient.

This allows them to establish a relationship and contact each other in the future. This is the type of process you want to choose if you’re interested in meeting the egg donor — or the recipient if you’re donating your eggs.

If you’re not interested in meeting the donor but do wish to have a way to contact them in the future, which is a great way to establish a medical history for your child, you may want to consider a semi-known process.

With this option, both party’s first names and areas of residence are shared and you have the option to choose to have some limited contact between you.

With an anonymous egg donation, there isn’t any contact information shared between the donor and recipient. The parties don’t have contact with each other at all.

Understanding How the Process Works 

Whether you are considering becoming a donor or utilizing donated eggs, your probably wondering “how does egg donation work?” It’s important to understand the entire process before committing to an egg donor agency.

USA donors and parents have to follow specific steps both before and during the donation process. These steps help ensure the procedure is safe and works properly.

Process for Egg Donors

Egg donors start the screening and preparation process several weeks or months in advance to ensure the procedure is safe and viable eggs are obtained.

They are given medication to stop their normal menstrual cycle. Then, given fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries so they produce several eggs at once.

This medication is self-administered, but the donor’s progress and reaction to the medication are strictly monitored using blood tests and ultrasound exams.

The FDA monitors how reproductive tissue is handled and limits who qualifies as a donor, and on top of this, donors must also meet the egg donor agency requirements.

These can vary from agency to agency, but in general, before becoming an egg donor, you need to make sure you meet these guidelines:

  • Be a female between the ages of 21 and 32
  • Be a U.S. citizen or have the legal right to work in the United States
  • Have regular monthly periods
  • Be physically and emotionally healthy
  • Have a healthy BMI
  • Be a non-smoker and non-drug-user
  • Have no reproductive disorders or abnormalities
  • Have an excellent family health history
  • Have two ovaries
  • Must not be using the Mirena IUD, Depo Provera shot, or implanted birth control

Keep in mind, egg donor requirements are strictly monitored, as they should be, by the agency to ensure women meet all their criteria.

Typically, the egg donation process takes about two weeks, but it can take up to six weeks to become an approved donor.

Donation Process for Parents 

Parents begin the egg donation process by choosing an agency, clinic, or egg bank.

You’ll find egg donor agency locations across the country and your gynecologist can recommend some of the best donor egg banks in your local area.

Once you’ve chosen a source, you’ll use its donor database to start your egg donor search to find a woman that meets your personal requirements.

Typically, you also have an initial consultation with the agency where you’re able to discuss health concerns and see photos of various donors.

After you’ve selected a donor, the agency consults with your doctor and infertility clinic to start the process.

During this time, the egg donor is given specific instructions for the preparation process, which takes about two weeks.

Once the eggs have been retrieved and fertilized, your doctor starts the in vitro process, which is when the embryos are physically implanted into your uterus.

About two weeks after that, you’re given a pregnancy test to see if you’re pregnant.

Risks Involved in the Process 

There are risks involved with the egg donation procedure that you should be aware of before starting the process.

Most of them are directly related to the fertility drugs and antibiotics given during the preparation process though.

Fertility drugs can cause:

  • Moderate weight gain
  • Mood changes
  • Stomach pressure
  • Headaches
  • Allergic reactions
  • Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome

However, you might also experience emotional issues and psychological distress during the process.

This is why potential donors have to go through psychological testing during the screening process. This testing is designed to help prevent women from becoming donors who may be affected by the process emotionally.

Fees and Costs of Using Egg Donor Agencies 

Egg donors are compensated for donating their eggs.

Typically, egg donation compensation ranges between $5,000 and $10,000, but if the parents are looking for a very specific donor type, such as a college student attending Harvard, compensation could be upwards of $50,000.

In addition to egg donor compensation, prospective parents have to pay various fees including:

  • The cost of legal coordination between the parents and donor
  • Egg donor attorney fees
  • Egg donor psychological evaluation fees
  • Egg donor insurance coverage
  • Escrow account management fees

Of course, you also have to pay for the cost of the IVF procedure.

Fortunately, in many cases, egg donor financing is available, which allows you to pay these costs over an extended period of time.

If needed, ask the agency you’re working with about financing options.

How to Find an Egg Donor Agency That’s Right For You 

Trying to find the best egg donor agency isn’t about finding an agency with high ratings. It’s about finding an option that’s a good fit for you.

For example, a couple looking for an egg donor might not have the same needs as a single woman.

So even though an agency catering to single women has rave reviews, they may not be a good fit for a couple.

When looking for an agency, start your search locally. The process is easier if you don’t have to travel a long distance for meetings and procedures.

If there aren’t any options nearby or you have very specific needs, expand your search looking for options that meet your requirements as close as possible.

What to Look for in an Egg Donor Agency 

While you may want to choose the egg donor agency closest to you or one that your friend raves about, there are specific things you should research including:

  • The agency’s reputation
  • How long they’ve been in business
  • What their process entails
  • How long their process takes from start to finish
  • How they screen their donors

Questions To Ask Egg Donor Agency 

Even if you’ve researched the agency on your own, you should ask several questions before making your decision including:

  • How long has the agency been in business?
  • How many donors has the agency matched with recipients in the last year?
  • How many donors are available?
  • How many pregnancies have resulted from the agency’s donors?
  • What fees do they charge?
  • How much are you required to pay upfront and how much do you pay once you’ve selected a donor?
  • Does the agency facilitate a meeting between the parents and donor if requested?
  • Does the egg donor undergo psychological screening before being approved, and if so, who conducts the screening?
  • How long are records retained for anonymous donors?
  • Does the agency adhere to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine Guidelines for Oocyte Donation?
  • What’s included in the legal contracts the parents and donors sign?

Deciding on an Egg Donor Agency

During your research process, you should take the time to read through some of the agency’s egg donation reviews to get a good idea of how other couples and donors enjoyed the experience.

Reading the reviews will give you a better understanding of what to expect and how your experience will be.

Of course, you can always search for “best egg donation agency” and review the top results, but you shouldn’t base your decision entirely on one internet search.

Instead, make a list of a few options you want to consider and join online groups on the topic of fertility to see if others are willing to share their experiences with the agencies on your list.

The Top 10 Best Egg Donor Agencies in the US 

You can find lists of egg donor agencies online with a simple search. Just type “egg donor agencies near me” into a search engine and wait for your results.

To get you started on your search here are some of the best options in the United States.

  • Beverly Hills Egg Donation has been in business since 2007 and is continually one of the most highly regarded agencies in the industry.  
  • Growing Generations is a U.S. egg donor agency that works with families and donors worldwide.
  • ConceiveAbilities prides itself on finding the perfect match every time. They believe matching between parents, surrogates, and egg donors is an important part of the process.
  • Circle Surrogacy & Egg Donation has worked with families and egg donors for more than two decades.
  • Fairfax Egg Bank is ideal for parents who prefer to use frozen embryos.
  • Conceptual Options has been in business since 1999. The agency prides itself on working with couples, LGBT+ families, and individuals who want to become parents.
  • New Life Egg Donors bills itself as the agency with the widest choice of bright egg donors. The company says that its screening process ensures only healthy, capable, and informed egg donors are welcomed into the program, which leads to high rates of success.
  • Cryos International Sperm & Egg Bank is based in Florida but has donors all over the world. They have an online donor database and ship frozen sperm and eggs to fertilization clinics worldwide.
  • Golden Egg Donation specializes in premier egg donors. The agency focuses on securing only top-tier, beautiful, and intelligent egg donors.
  • Compassionate Beginnings has a thorough screening process that includes meeting each donor in person before accepting her into the program.

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Egg Donation Programs

For most people, having children is one of the greatest joys in life. Unfortunately, having a child naturally isn’t possible for everyone.

Thankfully, modern-day medicine is helping people overcome fertility issues that would have made parenthood impossible in the past. Egg donation is one of the options available today.

In this article, we’ll explore how egg donation works, what the are costs, the length of the timeline and how egg donor programs help facilitate the process. 

What Is Egg Donation? 

Egg donation is when a healthy woman undergoes a treatment to extract high-quality eggs from her ovaries that will be used by another individual to have a child.

Oftentimes the donor egg recipient is another woman who is implanted with the donated egg and carries the child herself, but sometimes a surrogate is used.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that in 2016, approximately 24,300 assisted reproductive technology (ART) cycles involved donor eggs.

It’s much more common today, accounting for approximately 12% of in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles. The practice is particularly common in women who are 40 and older due to lower egg quality.

Many people think of egg donation as the step in between IVF and adoption. 

Egg donation is also done for human embryonic stem cell research. The donation can be strictly used for research or after fertility treatments if there are excess eggs.

What Is an Egg Donation Program? 

Egg donor programs provide a bridge for hopeful parents. The agencies that run the programs recruit healthy women to provide donor eggs and facilitate the donating process.

While egg donor IVF treatments are successful more than half the time, the top egg donor companies see success up to 75% of the time.

Types of Egg Donation 

The practice of egg donation has been steadily growing and evolving. As a result, there are more types of egg donation than ever before.

Fresh Egg Donation

With fresh egg donation, the donor and the recipient must use hormone shots to synchronize cycles so that the eggs can be retrieved, fertilized and implanted when the recipient’s uterus is ready to receive an embryo.

Frozen Egg Donation

This is a more simplified type of egg donation. The donor’s eggs are extracted and frozen until a recipient chooses to use them for IVF.

Egg Donor and Surrogate Combination

Egg donor and surrogate services are two separate things. A woman that doesn’t have viable eggs but that is healthy enough to carry a child won’t need a surrogate.

For women that can’t carry a child to full-term due to uterine problems or issues that make pregnancy difficult such as heart disease, egg donor and surrogate services may both be needed.

This is when another woman carries the child that is from an egg donor.

Private Egg Donation

Looking for a private egg donor is also possible. Some people prefer to first see if someone they know is willing to donate an egg. 

Spindle Nuclear Transfer

This is the newest type of egg donation that had its first successful birth in 2016. The procedure involves removing the nuclear DNA of a donor egg so that it can be replaced by the mother’s nuclear DNA.

The donor’s mitochondrial DNA remains in place. The resulting child will have DNA from three people. The process is used when the mother will likely pass on genetic diseases that make life incompatible.

How Egg Donation Programs Work 

How does egg donation work? It’s a process that has only been around for several decades, but it’s improved significantly since then.

Here’s a quick overview of how egg donation programs work.

  1. Egg donor agencies attract women that apply to be donors.
  2. The agency will then put the applicants through a series of background and health screenings. Only those who pass all of the tests will be recruited to be egg donors.
  3. Couples that are serious about using an egg donor are granted access to the agency’s website where they can read full profiles for the approved donors. The profiles contain information about the donor’s physical appearance, siblings, education level, likes, dislikes and more. 
  4. The couple selects an egg donor based on their own personal criteria. Usually, the future mother will pick a donor based on the traits she shares with the donor, but this isn’t always the case.
  5. The recipient will then learn if the donor’s eggs are available (frozen), if the donor is available to donate fresh eggs or if there’s a waiting list for the donor’s eggs.
  6. Most agencies will then require that the recipient meets with a therapist.
  7. Once the steps above are complete the agency will handle the necessary paperwork and legal requirements between the parties so that treatments can begin. 

Donor Egg Success Rates

The odds of a woman conceiving with her own egg after age 44 is less than 1%. However, egg donor IVF is the most successful type of fertility treatment.

Roughly half of women using donor eggs will get pregnant. Using a reputable egg donor agency can lead to an even higher success rate.

Good Candidates for Egg Donation Programs 

Egg donation isn’t appropriate for everyone. People must be good candidates to both receive and donate eggs for the process to work.

Here’s a quick overview of who is considered a good candidate to receive and donate eggs.

Egg Recipients 

People who are good egg recipients include:

  • Same-sex Couples
  • Women with medical complications that prevent egg production
  • Older women with no viable eggs
  • Women who are at high risk of passing on genetic diseases to their offspring

Egg Donors 

To become an egg donor with an agency you must meet strict criteria.

Potential donors must pass drug screening tests, physicals, mental evaluations and genetic testing.

Physical characteristics, certain educational attainment, and ethnicity are not requirements, but the more desirable traits an egg donor has the more money they can request for their eggs.

Deciding to Use Egg Donation 

Egg donation isn’t always an easy decision. Deciding on donor eggs is usually a consideration after other fertility treatments haven’t worked. 

Fresh vs. Frozen Eggs

One of the first decisions that needs to be made is whether you want to use fresh or frozen donor eggs.

Using fresh eggs has a slightly higher success rate and additional eggs can be fertilized and frozen for subsequent pregnancies in which the children are biological siblings.

Using frozen donor eggs is much less expensive and you have more control over the timeline.

Donor Eggs or Adoption

Couples that can’t have their own children are faced with two options: egg donation or adoption. Both choices should be weighed carefully before a decision is made.

It’s worth noting that egg donation is not a sure thing. You can spend tens of thousands of dollars and the process may not result in a live birth.

Finding the Right Match 

Few decisions are as important as selecting an egg donor. The donor you choose will provide half of the DNA of your future child.

Everything from how a child looks to their glucose levels to taste preferences will be affected by who you choose.

Finding the right match is usually twofold. You have to find the right egg donor agency and then the donor. 

  • Search the list of egg donor agencies in your area. Ideally, you’ll want to work with an agency that is convenient to your home and/or work.
  • Once you’ve selected an agency, search their egg donor database.
  • Some agencies also offer egg matching services.
  • It’s important to take your time considering the options. Many couples take months to research donors before narrowing their selection. 
  • It may be possible to meet the donor in-person before the eggs are retrieved. The majority of recipients waive this option. 

Egg Donor Selection Criteria

Each person should decide on their egg donor selection criteria before beginning the process.

Your personal criteria could include a person’s physical appearance, personality traits, educational attainment and a host of other specifications.

Breaking Down the Process of Egg Donation Programs 

The egg donation journey can be a very emotional as wells as mentally and physically challenging.

Recipients and donors should know what to expect and how to prepare for egg donation so that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

Donor Egg Process Step by Step

  • Fill out an application with an egg donor program.
  • Have a phone consultation with the agency to ask questions and get more information on the process. 
  • Next, there will be a series of psychological, physical and genetic screenings to ensure you are a good egg donor candidate.
  • Those that pass the screenings will be invited to create a profile for the agency website. 
  • Now comes the waiting period. Some donors are selected within a matter of days, but for others, it may take a few months. 
  • Once you are selected, the agency will draw up legal documents and paperwork that need to be signed by both parties. 
  • The medical procedures can now begin. For 2-3 weeks the donor must take injections to stimulate the ovaries so that as many eggs can be produced as possible. Doctor visits will also be required to monitor the process and response to the medications.
  • Finally, egg retrieval is done once the medications have taken full effect. The procedure only takes about 15-20 minutes at the fertility clinic. 
  • The last step is a final monitoring appointment 4-7 days after retrieval. 

Egg Donor Recipient Process

The egg donor recipient process has its own steps once the legal and contractual matters are settled.

Instead of stimulating eggs, the recipient will take estrogen and progesterone supplementation to thicken the endometrium. In rare cases, additional medication is needed.

After the donated eggs are retrieved and fertilized, the resulting embryos can be transferred to the recipient.

This happens approximately three days after egg retrieval. About two weeks after the transfer, a blood test will be administered and an ultrasound will be performed to verify pregnancy.

Egg Donation Timeline

There isn’t a set timeline for donating an egg. That’s because there’s no guarantee on when a donor will be selected by a recipient.

Once a donor is selected it generally takes around two months for the entire process to be completed.

Egg Donation Process and Risks

Egg donation procedures aren’t without risk. Both the donor and the recipient are at risk for infection and adverse reactions due to the medications and medical procedures.

One risk that some recipients may find to be a benefit is the higher likelihood of giving birth to multiples. Of course, this type of pregnancy comes with added risk, including premature birth.

Legal Implications Involved in Egg Donation 

Because egg donation can result in the birth of a child, there are a lot of legal implications.

In the past, there have been legal disputes over who is considered the mother, the donor’s rights to meet the child, compensation for egg donation and more.

The egg donor agency should explain all of the implications and possible risks to potential donors and use a screening process to make sure the donor is of sound mind and judgement.

Agencies are required to provide potential donors with information on the risks of egg donation. They also need to get a signed consent form.

Once a person has selected an egg donor, a contract needs to be drafted that spells out the terms of the agreement.

Most importantly, the contract should specify the payment terms and the egg donor should give up all legal rights to any embryos created using her eggs. Both parties will need to sign the contract.

If disputes arise, the court will use the contract as the basis for their decision.

Costs of Egg Donation Programs 

One of the biggest considerations associated with egg donation is cost. Using a donor egg can be a very expensive endeavor.

The American Pregnancy Association estimates that the overall cost of the egg donor process is at least $12,000-$20,000 per cycle, but the cost can go up to $35,000.

Donor Egg Pay

One of the most substantial expenses with egg donation is the payment to the egg donor.

The payment can vary significantly, but you can expect to pay between $5,000 and $10,000 for one cycle of eggs.

Donor Egg IVF Cost

Donor eggs are just part of the process. IVF is also needed to fertilize the egg, which factors into the overall cost. 

Embryo Transfer

Another significant cost is the embryo transfer procedure following successful IVF. Transferring a frozen embryo is usually around $3,000-$5,000. 

Does Insurance Cover Egg Donation? 

While most health insurance plans will cover the cost of fertility diagnosis, generally they do not cover fertility treatments.

However, IVF procedures may be covered, so it’s important to check with your provider before starting the egg donor process.

Fresh vs. Frozen Donor Eggs

Fresh donor eggs typically cost twice as much as frozen donor eggs. There are also additional fees involved with medications, doctor visits, ultrasounds, donor travel and more.

Be wary of any agency that offers free frozen donor eggs. At best you may get a guarantee that offers free replacement eggs if the first cycle of eggs doesn’t meet quality standards.

Other possible expenses related to using an egg donor include:

  • Embryo freezing
  • Medications
  • Legal fees 
  • Coordination fees for arranging interaction between the prospective parents and egg donor
  • Egg donor attorney fees
  • Psychological evaluations
  • Insurance coverage for the egg donor
  • Travel expenses for the egg donor
  • Escrow account management fees
  • Egg donor agency fees

Advantages and Disadvantages of Egg Donation 

Egg donation is an example of how advanced fertility treatments have become, but it isn’t a perfect solution.

There are advantages and disadvantages that need to be weighed before deciding on egg donation.

Egg Donation Procedure Pros and Cons

Pros

The obvious advantage of egg donation is that it makes having a child possible for people who can’t have a baby after trying other fertility treatments.

While the egg may come from a third party donor, the sperm can still be provided by the male in the couple and the woman may be able to carry the child so that both parents are still part of the process.

Another pro is that using donor eggs is a highly effective fertility treatment. More than half of IVF treatments using a donor egg are successful on the first attempt.

Cons

As beneficial as it is for some couples, there are egg donation ethical implications and controversy surrounding the practice. These are things couples and single women will face if they choose to use a donor egg. 

Some types of egg donation aren’t approved in the U.S. yet. For example, spindle nuclear transfer isn’t yet approved. 

There are also potential risks for egg donors. Long-term studies are now looking into the possibility of increased risk for donors developing breast cancer.

The egg retrieval process itself comes with the risk of infection, bleeding and internal damage. Twisting of the ovaries is also possible.

The Top 10 Egg Donation Centers in the US 

The agency that’s used will heavily influence a family’s future. A search online for “egg donation near me” will give you a selection of egg donor agencies, but some have better reputations than others. 

Unfortunately, there are also unscrupulous individuals that victimize people who are trying to start a family.

The FBI has uncovered egg donation scams that have robbed people of tens of thousands of dollars. A high-profile case from 2016 involved a company named Miracle Egg Donation.

The owner, Allison Layton, promised to orchestrate egg donation and surrogacy services, which she failed to provide despite taking would-be parents’ money.

It’s extremely important to only consider egg donor agencies with a proven track record and a good reputation. The egg donation centers below are among the best in the country. 

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How Does Surrogacy Work?

People arrange a surrogacy for many reasons. The most common one is that a couple wants a child but pregnancy is not possible. In this article on Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), we will discuss surrogacy from the perspective of intended parents and surrogates.

What Is Surrogacy? 

Surrogacy is a formal, legal arrangement between two parties: the intended parents and the surrogate. 

The surrogate agrees to become pregnant to give birth to a child for another person or couple.

If the surrogate knows the intended parents, she may become a surrogate as a favor to help the mother or the couple who desperately want a child but can’t have one for medical reasons. 

If she doesn’t know them, then she will receive monetary compensation, an arrangement called “commercial surrogacy.”

The legality of surrogacy varies from one country to another and from one jurisdiction in a country to another. Some countries ban surrogacy because its law-makers question the ethics surrounding it; some countries permit surrogacy if no money changes hands, and some countries place no legal constraint on surrogacy. 

In the U.S., individual states decide the legality of surrogacy and laws vary from one state to another. 

In developed countries where commercial surrogacy is legal, third-party agencies may offer comprehensive services. They often provide things like psychological screenings and a battery of medical tests to the surrogate to help ensure a healthy gestation and normal delivery. They will also coordinate all the legalities to protect both the parents and the surrogate.

However, we advise caution when working with a third-party agency. You must do a thorough background check to make sure they are legitimate. Because of the high fees involved in surrogacy, the FBI has discovered egg donation and surrogacy scammers who ruthlessly defraud everyone involved in a surrogacy — the intended parents, egg donors, surrogates, and even the attorneys.

Surrogacy means distinct things for different people and affects the intended parents and surrogates in dissimilar ways. Often both parties experience the highs and lows and find the journey exhausting. However, both parties also find it to be a life-changing journey. While it thrills parents to have a baby, the surrogate has a deep feeling of satisfaction at bringing a child into the world to loving parents.

Types of Surrogacy

There are only two types of surrogacy: traditional and gestational. 

In traditional surrogacy, an intended father or an anonymous donor artificially inseminate a surrogate mother. This makes her the biological mother of the child.

In gestational surrogacy, doctors use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to create an embryo for the surrogate. Either the intended parents or donors provide the egg and sperm for the embryo. Here, the surrogate mother is not biologically related to the child.

In both traditional and gestational surrogacy, the surrogate mother carries the baby to term.

Does a Surrogate Mother Share DNA with the Baby?

This depends on the surrogacy. In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother contributes to the DNA of the baby and in gestational surrogacy, she does not contribute DNA to the baby.

Traditional Surrogacy

In traditional surrogacy, the mother is artificially inseminated by the father or a donor and shares her DNA with the baby because doctors use her egg. Although she carries the child to term for another woman or couple, she is the child’s biological mother.

Gestational Surrogacy

In gestational surrogacy, the mother does not share DNA with the baby. Since doctors make the embryo from a donated egg before they transfer it to the surrogate, it is not her biological child.

How Does Surrogacy Work?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) allows the intended parents to make an embryo. The sperm of the intended father fertilize eggs gathered from the intended mother. Doctors then place the embryo into the uterus of the gestational surrogate, who will carry the baby until birth.

Another way of doing surrogacy is to use the intended father’s sperm to artificially inseminate the surrogate’s womb. Doctors use the egg of the surrogate mother to make her pregnant.

Will the Baby Look like the Surrogate Mother?

If a couple donates the egg and sperm before doctors insert the embryo into the womb of the surrogate, then the baby will not look like her because the DNA will come from the intended parents. 

However, if the surrogate mother agrees to artificial insemination, she will donate her own eggs. Since her eggs carry her DNA, the child may resemble her.

Who Uses Surrogates?

Couples who can’t have a child and don’t want to adopt one may use a surrogate. In some instances, a couple may not be able to have a child because of the father’s or mother’s medical issues. In other instances, a male same-sex couple may want to have a child. One of the men will contribute his sperm to fertilize the egg of the surrogate mother through artificial insemination.

Finding a Surrogate

There are two ways for a couple to find a surrogate: through an agency or on their own.

The easier way is to use an agency surrogacy program that arranges everything, including finding a surrogate. 

The more challenging way is for the couple to find a surrogate on their own and organize almost all the details themselves.

If a couple chooses the more challenging route, they must take the following steps after they find someone who agrees to be the surrogate mother:

  1. They must screen the surrogate mother for any potential psychological or physical problems. 
  2. They must find an attorney to do all the legal paperwork. 
  3. They must coordinate with a fertility clinic to help with artificial insemination or the embryo placement into the womb of the surrogate mother. 

Another optional step is for the intended parents to offer the surrogate mother the services of a counselor as she carries the baby to term.

Surrogacy Qualifications 

In the United States, a surrogacy clinic will use strict surrogacy requirements to qualify someone as a surrogate candidate.

What’s involved in being a surrogate? 

Qualifications:

  • Someone who wants to be a surrogate should be between 21 and 40 years of age and be a citizen of the United States. 
  • She should live in a state that permits surrogacy.
  • She should follow a healthy lifestyle that omits smoking, drinking, substance abuse, or recreational drugs. 
  • She should be willing not to use medications that might harm a pregnancy, like antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications. 
  • She should also have excellent health and carry a healthy body weight for her height, with a body mass index of 33 or less.
  •  She should have a history of healthy reproduction and have given birth to one or more children. 

Screening:

  • Someone who wants to be a surrogate mother will go through extensive psychological testing to rule out any possibility of neurotic or psychotic behavior that would prevent her from becoming a good surrogate. 
  • The fertility clinic will also interview and screen her life partner to ensure that they will emotionally support the process of surrogacy.

Surrogacy clinics have strict guidelines in place to protect both the potential surrogate and the newborn that they will bring into the world. 

How to Choose a Surrogate

If you don’t know anyone who wants to be a surrogate, then contact a fertility clinic to help you find the right person.

Some things to keep in mind when choosing a surrogate are their medical history, psychological health, and lifestyle choices. 

You will also have to get a clear idea of the cost and consider if there are any legal issues. The cost for the surrogacy process may be more than you can afford, and legal issues could arise if the surrogate lives in a surrogate unfriendly state. 

Finally, you must decide what type of relationship you want to have with the surrogate after the birth of the child. Some parents want the surrogate to remain part of their child’s life while others want to end the relationship after delivery. 

The Surrogacy Process

When considering the surrogacy process, intended parents often have two important questions in mind. The first question is about the confirmation of pregnancy surrogacy and the second question is how long the process will take. 

Confirmation of Pregnancy Surrogacy

About nine days after doctors have transferred an embryo into the surrogates’ womb, she will visit the fertility clinic for a human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) level check — a medical test that measures pregnancy hormone levels and confirms if she is pregnant.

How Long Does Surrogacy Process Take?

On average, the entire process will take about a year and a half. This time period accounts for how long it will take to find a qualified surrogate, for her to be physically ready for embryo transplant, for her to become pregnant, and for her to carry a child to term.

Surrogacy Success Rates

Intended parents often ask, “Will surrogacy work?” According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), the success rate will vary because there are many factors involved in the surrogacy process. 

According to the Center for Disease Control’s report in 2017 on surrogacy success rates in Fertility Clinics, “there were 284,385* ART cycles performed at 448 reporting clinics in the United States during 2017, resulting in 68,908 live births (deliveries of one or more living infants) and 78,052 live-born infants.”

When researching fertility clinics, it’s essential that intended parents ask about the clinic’s surrogacy successes. The more successful clinics will have plenty of surrogacy success stories to share.

The Cost of Hiring a Surrogate

There is no fixed price for surrogacy because many factors affect fees and pricing. On average, it will cost about $100,000. For instance, Circle Surrogacy fees range from $100,000 to $150,000 to cover everything — agency fees, attorney fees, screening costs, medical costs, and insurance costs. Cost may be lower if a couple donates their own eggs and sperm, dropping down $80,000 to $130,000.

In some states, like California, where there is a high demand for surrogates and a wide range of fees, the price will be on the higher end of the scale. Remember, the surrogacy process involves more than just paying surrogacy compensation. Surrogacy costs may include egg donation compensation, medical costs, travel and hospitality costs, psychological screening, medical screening, agency fees, legal fees, health insurance, and life insurance. 

Intended parents who can’t afford surrogacy can find a number of financing options available that can be divided into three broad groups: surrogacy loans, traditional loans, and surrogacy grants.

Surrogacy Loans

Many financial organizations offer loans for surrogacy, and many fertility clinics offer a financing option.

Traditional Loans

It’s possible to get a non-specific traditional loan. Intended parents can get money from home equity loans, borrow from their 401(K) plans, or from their credit cards. Sometimes, friends or family members may give them a loan.

Surrogacy Grants

It’s also possible for intended parents to get funds they don’t have to pay back if they apply for annual grants. The prospective parents must fill out an application form and meet the grant’s qualifications. These qualifications vary from one organization to another based on factors like religious affiliations, a medical diagnosis of infertility, or the state of residency.

Here are three examples of grant foundations:

Does Insurance Cover Surrogacy?

The law says that intended parents must provide their surrogate with health insurance because most health insurance plans refuse to cover the costs of surrogacy. The cost for special health insurance policies for surrogacy runs high, about $400 a month, because of unexpected complications. For instance, a premature delivery will incur NICU costs of about $5,000 a day.

Possible Risks of Surrogacy

The risks of surrogacy are the same as the risk of a traditional pregnancy because the only difference between the two is how the mother becomes pregnant. Unexpected risks of pregnancy include hypertension and damage to the reproductive organs and more common risks include lower back pain, muscular inflammation, excessive weight gain, morning sickness, and heartburn.

Legal Implications of Using a Surrogate

A legal surrogacy contract, drawn up by a lawyer, between intended parents and the surrogate mother is an essential surrogacy document. This contract has to be in place before a fertilization clinic can begin any medical procedures.

A legal surrogacy agreement tries to account for all contingencies, including who will get custody of the child should the intended parents die or experience a debilitating illness or accident before the birth of the child. 

Surrogacy documents not only protect all parties against any disputes that might arise but also prevent disputes from occurring in the first place because all the legal implications are spelled out and agreed to by all parties involved. 

The Pros and Cons of Surrogacy

The surrogacy process has its fair share of difficulties, many of which you can’t anticipate ahead of time because they’re based on emotions or unexpected events. 

However, here are some pros and cons reported by intended parents and surrogates:

The Pros of Surrogacy

  1. Intended parents often feel elated at now having a more complete family life.
  2. Surrogate mothers may often feel pride in giving the intended parents and child a happy family life. 
  3. Many surrogates who enjoyed being pregnant with their own children can now relive the happy feelings of pregnancy. 
  4. Surrogate mothers may be able to start a whole new life if they have been generously compensated — for instance, they will be able to go back to school to get a degree in a high-earning career, start a business of their own or relieve their own financial pressures.

The Cons of Surrogacy

  1. The cost of the surrogacy process may cause a family financial hardship for years to come.
  2. Both parties need to do their research before signing up with an agency or fertility clinic because the FBI has cracked down on many unethical companies whose business model is to steal from intended parents, surrogates, and surrogacy service providers.
  3. Pregnancy can be both physically and emotionally taxing for the mother.
  4. Surrogacy can involve a huge time commitment, stretching about a year and a half. This can disrupt any other significant life plans the surrogate may have regarding travel, schooling, career-building, or raising a family of her own.

Is Surrogacy Right for Me?

If you intend to become a surrogate mother and meet all the qualifications, you must take the time to decide if surrogacy is right for you. Research surrogacy facts and statistics and speak to counselors and other surrogates before you make a final decision. 

For potential parents, research is vital to you as well. Make sure any clinic or agency you use is legitimate and has a good reputation. There are also financial and psychological issues to consider as parents as well.

Conclusion

Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) makes it possible for fertility clinics to increase the percentage of success stories and the number of healthy deliveries. Intended parents must decide between surrogacy or adoption, while surrogate mothers must decide if they believe the experience of carrying a child to term will be a rewarding one.

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Male Fertility Test

What is Male Infertility?

When many people think of infertility, the first thought they have is that infertility is a woman’s problem, or that if a woman can’t get pregnant, it must be due to a health issue she’s facing.

But what many people don’t realize is that infertility occurs in men, too. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health, about male infertility statistics are similar to female infertility numbers.

Approximately one-third of infertility cases can be attributed to issues with male reproductive health.

Considering that female reproductive issues are the cause of one-third of infertility cases, you could say that male infertility is just as common, though often not publicly discussed.

So, what exactly is male infertility? Any health issue that makes it difficult for a man to get a partner pregnant is considered male infertility.

In some situations, male infertility can be attributed to a lack of sperm, blocked sperm, or hormone imbalances.

Common male fertility symptoms include swelling or pain in the testicles, difficulty having or maintaining an erection, or the inability to ejaculate.

Causes of Male Infertility

There are a variety of reasons why a man may have difficulty getting a partner pregnant.

According to the American Pregnancy Association, the types of male infertility fall into four categories:

  • Sperm transport disorders that make it difficult for sperm to make their way from the testicles. This includes a variety of issues such as premature ejaculation, erectile dysfunction, or a low sperm count.
  • Gonad/testicular disorders that impact the testes, which produce sperm and hormones necessary for fertility.
  • Common issues in this category that can cause infertility include low testosterone production, testicular cancer, past injuries to the testicles, or inflammation within the testicles caused by sexually transmitted infections or bacteria. In many cases, having a varicocele — an abnormal number of veins above the testicles — is one common cause of male infertility that can be corrected.
  • Hypothalamic or pituitary disorders can make it difficult for some men to produce enough testosterone or other hormones necessary for creating healthy sperm. Some men being treated for unrelated health issues with anabolic steroids or anti-seizure medications can also have difficulty with male infertility.
  • Unknown causes, unfortunately, can make it difficult for fertility specialists and men to successfully treat male infertility. Working with a fertility specialist to undergo an infertility evaluation and rule out the three other types of male infertility is a good start when undergoing treatment.

Being diagnosed with male infertility can be upsetting and frustrating, but there are treatments available. Having a fertility evaluation male test completed may be able to give you the answers you are looking for.

What is a Male Fertility Test and What Does It Measure?

If you think you may have male infertility, you may be wondering what to do next.

While a fertility specialist can help you create a specific plan to explore potential male infertility, there are some basic tests that can be performed. The most common starting place is a sperm fertility test.

So, how does a man get his sperm count checked? Male fertility tests that observe semen are a great start at exploring the chances and potential causes of male infertility.

This kind of fertility test for men, also called semen analysis, is performed by examining a semen sample.

During this test, a lab technician is looking at a man’s sperm to see how high or low the concentration of sperm is, and if there are any sperm abnormalities.

What Male Fertility Testing Can and Can’t Tell Us

There are different kinds of male fertility tests, and they can provide a variety of answers.

The most common form of male fertility testing is semen analysis, and despite some limitations, is a strong starting place for men who believe they may be infertile.

These tests, also called sperm count tests, can tell you the number of sperm in your ejaculate, the shape of the sperm, and the sperm’s ability to move.

This kind of testing also observes the volume of ejaculate and other factors, such as pH and fructose levels, to determine if sperm are at all a factor in causing infertility.

Other kinds of male fertility tests include hormone tests and genetic fertility tests. Hormone tests provided by your doctor can determine if imbalances in hormones, such as testosterone, are impacting sperm production.

In addition, genetic fertility tests can be used to find out if inherited genetic factors have an impact on fertility; for example, chromosomal abnormalities and being a male carrier of cystic fibrosis genes can impact male fertility.

While these tests are beneficial, they do have limitations. When it comes to all three kinds of tests, you should know that they can’t tell you exactly how fertile your sperm are.

In addition, even semen analysis can’t determine if a man’s sperm are able to actually fertilize an egg.

And, all three kinds of testing do not account for the changes that sperm undergo during sex and before fertilizing an egg.

Because a portion of male infertility cases are attributed to unknown causes, it’s possible to receive positive test results but still not have infertility treatment options.

When is a Male Fertility Test Needed?

Male fertility testing is a useful tool when a couple is having difficulty getting pregnant. You may want to consider taking a male fertility test if:

  1. You’re 35 or older. As men age, their bodies produce less and lower-quality sperm; with male fertility age is a factor, just like with women
  2. You and your partner have been trying to get pregnant for six months, but have not conceived
  3. You have had a vasectomy or a reversed vasectomy, and want to know if sperm is still able to travel from the testes

Types of Male Fertility Tests Available

There are several types of male fertility tests available; you and your doctor can work together to determine which tests can be most beneficial.

In most cases, fertility specialists will start off with a semen analysis before moving onto other types of male fertility tests.

Semen analysis

Semen analysis is the examination of a semen sample. Semen tests are available over-the-counter to be taken in the privacy of your home, as well as through a doctor’s office for more in-depth results.

Semen analysis parameters

If your doctor recommends a semen analysis test, it’s because they want to look at various factors that could impact your ability to get a partner pregnant. Here’s what a fertility specialist is looking for:

  • The number of sperm (also called sperm concentration); a normal sperm count concentration is between 15 and 20 million sperm per milliliter of semen
  • The shape of the sperm (referred to as sperm morphology); sperm that have an unusual size or shape could be the cause of male infertility, and doctors are looking to see that at least 4% of sperm are shaped normally
  • How the sperm move (commonly called sperm motility); how well sperm move and how many are moving impacts fertility, and a fertility specialist will want to see at least 50% of the sample sperm being moving, active sperm
  • Other factors, such as the volume of ejaculate, pH levels, and fructose level

Over-the-counter sperm tests

If you’re not ready to make an appointment with a fertility doctor, you can get more clues into your fertility health by using an at-home sperm test.

These over-the-counter sperm tests can be purchased at drug stores or online, and work by detecting proteins found in sperm.

Home male fertility tests will not give you the same results of a semen analysis test but can be a good starting place in determining if you have low sperm concentration.

The best at-home male fertility tests now offer computer or smartphone apps that can further explain your results.

Clinical Semen Analysis

Clinical semen analysis tests are much more accurate than home male fertility tests because they give a larger picture by examining more than just sperm concentration.

And generally, these tests have a higher level of accuracy thanks to the analysis by fertility specialists in combination with the multiple testing parameters.

Hormone Testing

Hormone testing can be a benefit for men with infertility issues since it can narrow in as to why sperm production is low.

This form of testing relies on a blood draw, which can measure the amount of testosterone (and other hormones that affect sperm production) present.

Genetic Fertility Testing

Because some inherited genetic conditions, such as cystic fibrosis, can impact male fertility, genetic fertility testing is also a useful tool.

Blood drawn for these tests can reveal the presence of a genetic or chromosomal abnormality that impacts a man’s fertility.

Other Male Fertility Testing Options

There are other kinds of testing that can be used to rule out causes of male infertility, including:

  • STI testing, since infections such as gonorrhea and chlamydia can impact fertility
  • Scrotal ultrasounds, which identify blockages or tissue issues inside the male reproductive system
  • Post-ejaculation urinalysis, which uses a urine sample to determine if sperm are misdirected and traveling into the bladder thanks to a condition called retrograde ejaculation
  • Testicular biopsy, where sperm is collected from the testicles to determine if sperm production is occurring

Many men wonder if there is a way to check male fertility naturally. Unfortunately, there’s no easy way to determine if you’re fertile beyond getting a partner pregnant.

Preparing for a Male Fertility Test

Getting ready to take a male fertility test doesn’t have to be stressful, but it is important to follow rules set by your doctor or fertility specialist.

In general, how you prepare for a male fertility test depends on what kind of test you are undergoing.

  1. Semen analysis tests: You will need to abstain from sex or masturbation for three to five days, but no more than seven days. It’s also a good idea to cut back on alcohol and caffeine and to be well-rested.
  2. Hormone and genetic testing: Because these tests require blood draws, there’s not much to do in preparation, though it doesn’t hurt to be well-rested and focused on proper diet and exercise.
  3. Ultrasounds and biopsies: Depending on what your doctor is looking for, they’ll inform you whether or not you should not masturbate or have sex in the days leading up to the test.

Where to Get a Male Fertility Test

Fertility clinics don’t just cater to female clients; in fact, they’re one of the best places to get help with male fertility.

That’s because these clinics specialize in treating infertility, and have the best tools and tests available to determine the cause of infertility.

If you’re not ready to make an appointment at a fertility clinic, your general practitioner or regularly visited doctor may be able to help you with scheduling a variety of male fertility tests.

Male Fertility Test Cost

Male fertility testing ranges in cost, but it can be much cheaper than attempting IVF or other fertility treatments that aren’t getting to the source of the problem.

On average, semen analysis tests range anywhere from $50 to $300 based on where you live. Many men wonder, “Does insurance cover sperm analysis?”

Unfortunately, there’s no clear answer. Some insurance providers that offer coverage for IVF and other fertility treatments may also cover sperm analysis, though not all insurance providers do.

Interpreting Male Fertility Test Results

The results of a male fertility test will vary by the kind of test you take. If you choose to have a doctor analyze your semen, hormone levels, or genetics, they will be able to walk you through the results and what steps to take next.

Generally, men with abnormal sperm analysis tests can focus on boosting their semen quality and quantity through a doctor’s suggestions or may seek out treatment to balance hormones or break up testicular blockages.

In some cases, men have normal sperm analysis results; in these cases, your doctor may recommend further tests to ensure the sperm are able to leave the body successfully.

What to Do Next

After getting back your fertility test results, a doctor will be able to set up a treatment plan to help improve your chances of getting a partner pregnant.

In cases where you receive abnormal test results, it may be necessary to find ways to boost sperm quality and quantity or to balance hormones that help sperm production.

And in situations where test results come back as “normal,” but you are still infertile, your fertility doctor may move onto other test methods or determine ways to improve your fertility odds.

Ways to Improve Sperm Quality

In many cases, doctors will recommend a variety of changes that can help boost a man’s fertility, including:

  1. Kicking the smoking habit
  2. Avoiding hot tubs or baths
  3. Wearing loose-fighting undergarments
  4. Taking control of health conditions such as diabetes or STIs
  5. Eating foods rich in antioxidants
  6. Working towards a healthy lifestyle that includes a balanced diet and exercise
  7. Having more sex

In addition, some men look towards male fertility supplements as an early form of male infertility treatment.

Common male fertility supplements include fenugreek capsules, D-aspartic acid, and vitamins C and D, as well as branded fertility vitamins and supplements.

Male Infertility Support & Resources

Finding out that you may need treatment for male infertility can be frustrating and scary, but there are a variety of support resources that can ease your mind and give you more information.

If you’re looking to learn more about male infertility, consider these reputable resources:

  • Male infertility support groups in your area can be a good resource at meeting other men who are coping with infertility. These groups can give you a chance to meet and learn from others who are undergoing similar conditions.
  • Infertility organizations such as the National Fertility Association, The Amerian Pregnancy Association, and the Cleveland Clinic for Male Infertility can provide more information on male infertility.
  • Medical organizations that research male infertility, such as the Mayo Clinic and the National Institutes of Health are leaders in research for a variety of fertility issues. Exploring organizations like these can clue you into advances in male infertility research.
  • Building a support network of your own can also be a benefit. Speaking with family members or close friends about infertility can help you feel supported, but may also clue you into genetic health conditions that could impact your fertility.

Male infertility is often treatable, and in many cases, men are able to become biological fathers after successful treatment.

If you are working through male infertility, know that you have options and that you’re not alone.

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Gestational Carrier Guide

What is a Gestational Carrier?

Many couples who consider expanding their family with the help of a surrogate first ask: what’s the difference between a traditional surrogate and a gestational surrogate?

It’s important to understand how these two kinds of surrogacy differ.

The gestational carrier definition is as follows: a woman who chooses to carry a child from conception through delivery for another individual or couple, but has no biological relation to the child she is carrying, is a gestational carrier (GC).

Also known as a gestational surrogate (GS), the woman does not use her own eggs to become pregnant, but instead undergoes IVF, using embryos that have been created from the expectant parents’ eggs and sperm.

It is also possible for a gestational carrier to become pregnant through the use of donor eggs or sperm; regardless of how the embryos are created, a woman is considered a gestational surrogate if she is carrying a baby to whom she is not biologically related.

Some couples who have difficulty getting pregnant because of a fertility condition, or cannot become pregnant naturally because they are in a same-sex relationship, consider gestational surrogacy as an avenue to having a biological child.

Also known as intended parents, these couples are often able to successfully have children with a surrogate’s help.

Gestational Carrier vs. Surrogate Mother

Generally, surrogates fall into two categories: gestational carriers and traditional surrogates. The major difference between these two types of surrogates comes down to DNA.

Traditional surrogate mothers carry a baby for another person or couple, either for pay or out of generosity.

In traditional surrogacy, the surrogate mother uses her own eggs to become pregnant, with the help of either donor sperm, or that of the intended father.

That means a traditional surrogate mother is biologically related to the child she is carrying, though she agrees that she is not the child’s mother, and at birth gives the baby to the intended parents.

Gestational carriers follow much of the same surrogacy process, though they are not biologically related to the child.

Intended parents can choose between a variety of options when it comes to creating embryos that are later implanted in the gestational carrier’s uterus; they may choose to use their own egg and sperm, donor sperm and eggs, or a combination of the two.

In general, gestational carriers and traditional surrogates follow much of the same process for bringing a healthy baby into the world.

But, one of the largest differences between the two surrogacy options is cost.

In fact, some couples choose to go with traditional surrogates because of the reduced price tag; because gestational carriers require both egg and sperm, couples must choose to undergo IVF to harvest eggs for fertilization or use donor eggs.

Both options can push the cost of gestational surrogacy higher than traditional surrogacy, where there is no need to harvest eggs.

Reasons to Consider Gestational Surrogacy

So, if gestational surrogacy often is a bit more expensive, why do people choose it? There are several strong reasons many couples have in mind when they choose gestational surrogacy, including:

Concern for a healthy pregnancy: While some women are able to get pregnant, they may have health issues that make it difficult or unsafe to carry a pregnancy to term.

These women may still want to have a biologically related child, and gestational surrogacy allows them to do so without risking their health or that of the baby.

They worry about parental rights of surrogates: One of the most common questions asked about the surrogacy process is “Can a gestational carrier keep the baby?”

Because traditional surrogacy means the baby is biologically related to the birth mother, some families worry that the surrogate may not want to give up the baby after birth.

For this reason, some families seek out gestational surrogacy as a way to ease their worries.

The emotional toll of surrogacy and future relationships: Many people who have children through surrogacy go on to have relationships with their surrogate or gestational carrier.

While it’s common, it’s not required, and for some families that aren’t interested in keeping in touch, gestational surrogacy is a better fit.

In addition, it can be difficult for some intended parents to undergo surrogacy knowing that the biological mother of their child is the surrogate.

For this reason, gestational surrogacy is an option that helps quell difficult emotions.

Success Rate for Gestational Surrogacy

You should know that gestational surrogacy statistics are pretty favorable — and many individuals and couples who seek out gestational surrogacy are able to grow their families.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC):

  • “Gestational carrier cycles had a higher rate of implantation, pregnancy, and live births when compared to non-gestational carrier cycles,” says the CDC, meaning that gestational carriers were regularly successful at becoming pregnant in comparison to couples who choose to undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) instead of surrogacy.
  • In addition, between the years of 1999 and 2013 (most recent data), gestational carriers in the U.S. had 13,380 deliveries, totaling 18,400 babies. More than half of those pregnancies involved twins, triplets, or multiples.

But what are your chances of having a successful surrogacy experience?

There’s no hard and fast data on how often surrogates safely make it through a full-term pregnancy, but some surrogacy agencies suggest that success rates in the United States are as high as 75 percent, and that after successful embryo transfer, 95 percent of surrogates go on to deliver a healthy baby.

The Gestational Surrogacy Process

While the fine details of the gestational surrogacy process will change from agency to agency, in general, the process is pretty straightforward:

Step 1: Locate a gestational surrogacy agency

Many people considering gestational surrogacy reach out to a surrogacy agency to learn more about surrogacy and begin the process. During this step, intended parents learn more about the cost of surrogacy, the process, and their responsibilities.

Step 2: Start the search for a gestational carrier or screen carriers suggested by the agency

Some couples have a specific surrogate in mind, such as a close friend or family member who has volunteered to carry their baby.

Other couples do not, so finding prospective surrogates is a top priority. Most agencies will work to help match you with a gestational surrogate, and you’ll be able to meet the surrogate to determine if you are a good match.

Step 3: Drafting and signing surrogacy contracts

Preparing and signing the necessary surrogacy forms and contracts is crucial since it protects both the surrogate and intended parents in case of a dispute or issue.

Whether you choose to go with a surrogacy agency or to pursue surrogacy privately, know that it is incredibly important to have your surrogacy contracts reviewed by a legal expert.

Step 4: Undergoing medical examinations and the IVF process (if needed)

After a surrogate is selected and all the paperwork is complete, the medical portion of the process begins.

Intended parents who plan to use their own eggs and sperm will need to undergo health screenings, as will the gestational surrogate. From there, the IVF process will begin so that the intended mother’s eggs can be harvested.

Step 5: Prepare for and undergo egg or embryo transfer

Prior to implantation of a fertilized egg (or transfer of an embryo), the gestational surrogate will likely begin a course of fertility medications that raise her chances of success. The actual implantation process is relatively quick and painless.

Step 6: Confirming a pregnancy and enjoying the pregnancy process

Normally around two weeks following egg or embryo transfer, the surrogate will visit with a doctor to determine if she is pregnant, or if the transfer process has failed.

If successful, she and the intended parents will begin the pregnancy journey together, which includes regular check-ins and shared medical appointments.

Step 7: Delivery of the baby and creating a family

The surrogacy experience ends with the baby’s delivery. After the GC and baby are both considered healthy, they are discharged from the hospital, with the gestational carrier heading home and the baby joining the intended parents.

If you’re wondering, “How long does surrogacy process take,” know that most intended parents are able to match with a surrogate within four to six months.

Considering that pregnancy is a long 40 weeks, the entire process can take up to a year and a half, from matching to delivery.

Finding a gestational carrier

There are generally two ways to find a surrogate: through gestational carrier agencies, or privately.

Agencies can be a great tool at locating and screening potential surrogates, and their experience can help walk you through the process to avoid pitfalls.

This can be especially important for intended parents who are pursuing surrogacy for the first time and aren’t sure of what all is involved.

Other intended parents choose to locate private surrogates, often as a way to reduce the cost of surrogacy by bypassing an agency. In this scenario, intended parents may choose to place ads in papers, magazines, and online to help find a surrogate.

Some may reach out to the best fertility clinics in their area to determine if they have partnerships or relationships with surrogates. And in other cases, intended parents may have a friend or close family member volunteer to be their surrogate.

Choosing a gestational carrier

Choosing the person who will carry your child is an important task. When it comes to deciding on a surrogate, you’ll want to keep these things in mind:

  1. Do you get along with the GC, and do you foresee her being the person to carry and deliver your child? Would you want to have a relationship with this person after your child is born?
  2. What kind of lifestyle does the GC have — is she active? What are her nutritional habits? Does she have any health issues that could impact the pregnancy?
  3. What experience does the GC have? How many times prior has she been a surrogate?
  4. Are you able to meet the budgetary needs and expenses of the surrogate?
  5. Do you and the surrogate see eye-to-eye on all aspects of the pregnancy and contract, such as situations where you may need to terminate the pregnancy?

Gestational Carrier Eligibility and Requirements

While surrogacy requirements may slightly differ from region to region, as well as among agencies, you should know that there are some common requirements for potential GCs.

If you’re looking for a gestational carrier or considering how to become a gestational surrogate, here are common requirements you should know:

  • Must meet the gestational carrier age limit, usually between 21 and 39 years old
  • Usually must have safely given birth to at least one child (with no complications), who is currently in their care
  • Meet certain financial requirements (often showing that you have enough resources at your disposal to comfortably carry a baby to term without relying on government assistance)
  • Must have a healthy body weight
  • In the U.S., must be a legal citizen who is eligible to work
  • Must have a letter from their OB/GYN clearing them to be a surrogate, as well as a clean medical history

While these are general guidelines, surrogacy agencies may choose to have additional eligibility requirements for potential surrogates.

Medical and psychological tests required

In addition to meeting certain requirements, gestational carriers may also be required to undergo certain kinds of testing.

Many agencies require GCs and surrogates to undergo a mental health evaluation to determine if they will be able to handle the emotional rigors of surrogacy.

Other tests, such as sexually transmitted infection (STI) and general health screenings are often required by agencies.

You should know that while there are federal health regulations that require certain kinds of STI and health screenings for egg and sperm donors, FDA regulations for gestational carriers do not exist, but these screenings are still highly recommended by many pregnancy and gynecological health organizations.

Legal Implications of Using a Gestational Carrier

A large part of the gestational carrier process is the legal components that identify who the intended parents are, and who has rights to the baby during pregnancy and after birth.

For this reason, it is important to have a gestational carrier agreement.

Gestational carrier contract

With a gestational carrier agreement, you and your surrogate will outline a variety of responsibilities.

Your responsibilities may be ensuring the surrogate has access to medical care, helping with living expenses such as groceries, and attending all medical appointments, while covering the cost of her medical expenses.

The surrogate’s responsibilities usually revolve around a positive lifestyle that will ensure your baby is born healthy. The gestational carrier agreement will also outline who the baby’s legal parents are.

Insurance coverage

Because many insurance agencies will not cover surrogate pregnancies, your surrogate will rely on you for assistance with her medical costs.

For this reason, the gestational carrier agreement will outline how medical bills will be covered, and who (usually the intended parents) will cover hospital and medical costs.

Court order declaring parentage

In an effort to protect themselves and their unborn child, many intended parents seek out a court order declaring parentage.

Intended parents can file a pre-birth court order that legally declares them to be the child’s parents, and gives them the right to put their name on the child’s birth certificate.

It can also make it easier to have insurance coverage for the baby, and gives them the right to make all medical decisions for their unborn (and born) child.

Cost Considerations for Gestational Surrogacy

One downside that many families face with gestational surrogacy is the cost.

Gestational surrogate costs often range between $75,000 and $150,000. While the gestational carrier price is often only between $30,000 and $60,000, the remaining amount often includes agency fees, medical expenses, IVF costs, and more.

And because health insurance often doesn’t cover a gestational carrier’s expenses, those medical bills are often paid out of pocket by intended parents.

One way couples look to reduce the cost of surrogacy is to locate a friend or family member who will volunteer to carry their baby — in fact, the cost of surrogacy with a family member can be as little as several thousand dollars in medical bills.

Pros and Cons of Gestational Surrogacy

Like any big life choice, there are pros and cons to gestational surrogacy. Some of the most positive points of surrogacy include:

  • Being able to have a child who is biologically related to you
  • Still being able to participate in and enjoy the journey of pregnancy
  • Bonding with the surrogate mother, which can create a larger, loving support network for your child’s life

Still, there are some downsides to gestational surrogacy:

  • The costs can be staggering
  • The surrogacy journey can be emotionally difficult at times knowing that someone else is carrying your child
  • There’s limited control over the pregnancy, which can be difficult for some intended parents to accept

Ethical considerations

Surrogacy does carry some major ethical questions. Many people wonder if it is ethically alright to have another person carry a child that they will not raise, considering the strong emotions involved.

Another major dilemma questions whether it is ethical to pay someone for use of their reproductive system, or if surrogacy is a form of exploitation of lower-income women who may seek out surrogacy as a way to support their families.

So, is surrogacy ethical? Each family and gestational carrier who considers surrogacy must decide this for themselves.

Medical risks

Because pregnancy is strenuous on the body, it is important to recognize that even a surrogate who has had healthy pregnancies may encounter medical issues.

Common medical risks that a surrogate may encounter include:

  • Loss of pregnancy
  • Loss of fertility (especially after a C-section or carrying multiples)
  • Pregnancy-related health conditions, such as gestational diabetes or high blood pressure

Is Gestational Surrogacy Right For Me?

If you’re wondering if gestational surrogacy is right for you and your family, consider these points:

  1. Can I afford the cost of gestational surrogacy?
  2. What kind of relationship do I want to have with a surrogate during and after pregnancy?
  3. How do I feel about the legal process of surrogacy — am I comfortable with it?
  4. Can I handle the emotions that come with gestational surrogacy?
  5. Have I weighed the pros and cons of surrogacy, and considered other fertility options?

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Femara (Letrozole) for Treating Infertility

What is Femara (Letrozole)?

Many women undergoing fertility treatment are prescribed medications early on that are used to help boost their chances of becoming pregnant.

Femara (letrozole) is becoming more commonly used, often in place of long-time fertility medication Clomid. So, what is Femara, and how does it work?

If you’ve been searching for information on Femara, you may have noticed that it’s often used by women who are undergoing treatment for breast cancer.

While considered a newer use for the drug, Femara (letrozole) has been recommended for women who are undergoing fertility treatment since 2001.

The oral pill is called an ovulation induction drug, or a superovulation medication, because it encourages follicles in the ovaries to produce and release an egg.

If you’re wondering, “Can Femara or letrozole boost my fertility to get pregnant,” know that taking this medication can make pregnancy a possibility.

According to a study by the National Institutes of Health, letrozole can be more effective than clomiphene (also known as Clomid) when used by women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) who are being treated for infertility.

In some cases, it can have fewer intense side effects than Clomid and offer a higher chance of ovulation. For this reason, Femara is considered by some to be the best fertility drug to get pregnant.

How Does Femara (Letrozole) Help with Fertility?

Many women who need help jump-starting ovulation are prescribed Femara. That’s because letrozole works by stimulating the follicles in an effort to increase the odds of ovulation. Here’s how.

Your doctor will have you take the medication for five days. During this time, the androgens in your body will no longer become estrogen.

This is important because a lack of estrogen informs the pituitary gland that it needs to create follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), an important hormone that helps with egg production.

By blocking estrogen and sending this message, the ovaries are stimulated and produce an egg (in some cases, more than one egg).

With Femara, your fertility doctor will encourage timing of sex close to ovulation to increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

For most women, letrozole ovulation day occurs about four to seven days after completing the round of medication, so timing sex in the days following Femara is important.

Who Should Try Femara (Letrozole)?

Only your doctor will be able to evaluate your case and determine if Femara is the right option for you.

But, there are some women who may have a higher chance of getting pregnant while using Femara instead of Clomid. You may be a candidate for Femara (letrozole) if:

You have difficulty ovulating

Because Femara can encourage the ovary follicles to release eggs (the act of ovulation), this medication can be a first-line treatment for women who have difficulty ovulating.

In some cases, Femara can cause the body to release more than one egg, which can increase the chances of pregnancy.

You have been diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

Research into the benefits of Femara for women with PCOS shows great results. In fact, studies have shown that women with PCOS who take Femara ovulate more frequently than women with PCOS who take Clomid.

You have already tried several rounds of Clomid

Fertility specialists may recommend trying Femara, even if you have taken Clomid and not become pregnant. That’s because Femara (letrozole) may be better at helping some women ovulate, even if several rounds of Clomid did not jump-start ovulation.

Your doctor determines that you have thin uterine lining

Because Clomid is known to thin the uterine lining, women who take the medication for long periods of time can have a harder time getting pregnant.

That’s because fertilized eggs and embryos have a better chance of implanting and embedding in thicker uterine walls.

Femara does not impact the uterine lining, meaning it could increase the chances of pregnancy with fewer side effects.

Femara vs. Clomid

According to research by the National Institutes of Health, Femara often has a higher rate of success than Clomid for women who have polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

A study published in 2014 showed that many common Clomid side effects — including dizziness, hot flashes, and fatigue — were greatly reduced with Femara.

Overall, research has shown that ovulation tends to be higher for women taking letrozole. The NIH study included 750 women with PCOS, with the group split evenly between letrozole and clomiphene prescriptions.

In the study, women in the Femara (letrozole) group ovulated 61.7 percent of the time, compared to 48.3 percent of the time for the Clomid (clomiphene) group.

While differing in ovulation statistics, Clomid and Femara have similar results with pregnancy success.

There was no major difference between the two medications’ lasting impacts when it comes to the chances of twin and multiple pregnancies, the risk of pregnancy loss, or the risk of infant birth defects.

One of the largest differences between Femara and Clomid is how long the medication remains in your body after you stop taking it.

Femara is known to remain in a woman’s body for less time — as little as three weeks.

While Clomid has been a top choice medication in early fertility treatment, doctors know that the drug stays in a woman’s body much longer — on average four to six weeks.

In addition, many fertility specialists worry about impact Clomid can have on a woman’s uterine lining and cervical mucus. Studies show that Clomid can thin the uterine walls, making it harder for eggs and embryos to implant, and thus harder for a woman to get pregnant.

Unlike Clomid, Femara has not been linked to thinking uterine lining, and for that reason, might be a better choice for some women, or women who have used Clomid for long periods of time.

How to Use Femara (Letrozole)

Femara is an oral pill, which can make it less intimidating than other fertility treatments such as injectable hormones.

This also makes Femara less expensive than other fertility drugs, meaning it’s more affordable and can be taken several times if pregnancy doesn’t initially occur.

Dosing

Your doctor will prescribe Femara to be taken over five days and will explain how to take letrozole for fertility purposes.

Most women are prescribed a dosage between 2.5 and 5 mg, taken once daily, starting on the second or third day of their cycle.

Fertility treatment protocols

Many women wonder about the best time of day to take Femara for infertility.

The medication isn’t any more effective at one time of day over another, though it is important that you take Femara at the same time every day.

After taking Femara, you can try to become pregnant through:

  1. Predicting ovulation and having intercourse
  2. Detecting ovulation with a predictor kit and undergoing intrauterine insemination (IUI)
  3. In combination with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) trigger injections and ovulation monitoring from your doctor’s office

Side Effects of Femara (Letrozole)

Femara can have a wide variety of side effects that may cause slight discomfort, and every woman’s body reacts differently to the medication.

For many women, the benefits of Femara outweigh the side effects. Women who are taking Femara may experience:

  • Nausea, dizziness, and headaches
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Drowsiness or trouble sleeping
  • Joint and muscle pain, specifically in the arm, wrist, forearm or shoulder
  • Weight gain
  • Hot flashes or warmth in the chest or face
  • Increased sweating, especially during sleep

In most cases, women taking Femara do not have serious side effects, but it is important to know that you should speak with your doctor if these symptoms worsen over time.

While rare, you should contact your doctor immediately if you have more severe side effects, such as:

  • Mood changes like depression or anxiety
  • Nausea or vomiting that won’t go away
  • Swelling in your arms or legs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rash or itching

In some cases, women taking Femara may symptoms similar to pregnancy, though they may not be pregnant. False Femara pregnancy symptoms include:

  • Tender breasts and nipples
  • Headaches
  • Cramping
  • Tiredness

Contraindications and Precautions of Femara (Letrozole)

Like all medications, Femara can interact with other drugs and cause unwanted results.

Before starting Femara, you should speak with your doctor about other medications you are taking or will begin taking at the same time.

In addition, Femara can cause complications with pregnancy, so it’s crucial that you stop taking this medication once you become pregnant.

Interactions

Femara (letrozole) is known to have severe interactions with at least five commonly prescribed medications.

These side effects can make both medications less effective, or cause serious health issues. You should never mix Femara with:

  1. Estrogen
  2. Immunosuppressants
  3. Tamoxifen and estrogen receptor drugs
  4. Medications for multiple sclerosis

It’s also important to tell your doctor about any herbal supplements or vitamins you are taking to ensure they will not interact with or reduce Femara’s chances of success.

Pregnancy and breastfeeding

It’s important to know that Femara (letrozole) is not safe to take during pregnancy. This medication can cause birth defects and serious complications to unborn babies.

If you have taken Femara during pregnancy by accident, you should speak with your doctor immediately to determine the best course of action, and to understand the side effects that could impact your baby’s health.

In addition, it is not safe to take Femara while breastfeeding. Drug manufacturers are unsure if the medication is passed along to infants through breast milk, though research suggesting that Femara can harm unborn babies suggests that it could be detrimental to infants and small children.

If you are planning to use Femara and are currently breastfeeding a child, you should know that the medication could still appear in breastmilk for up to three weeks after the last dose.

Any milk you pump during this time should not be fed to your child, and instead should be discarded.

Femara (Letrozole) Effectiveness and Success Rates

Letrozole effectiveness greatly depends on a variety of factors, including if it’s taken properly, the kind of infertility a woman is being treated for, and if it’s combined with IVF, IUI, other techniques.

In comparing whether letrozole or Clomid is more effective, many studies disagree.

A 2012 study on letrozole pregnancy rates showed that 25% of users went on to become pregnant and give birth, compared to only 16.8% of Clomid users, while a 2015 study suggested that Clomid was more effective with a 23% birth rate compared to letrozole pregnancy rates of 18%.

You should know that Femara can also increase the odds of having twins, triplets, or multiples. A 2015 study showed that Clomid has the fewest twin and multiple births at a rate of 5.7%, while letrozole fertility multiples occurred in 14.3% of pregnancies.

It’s possible to have a positive pregnancy test after letrozole first-time use. Some women find they have Femara success first cycle, though having a period after letrozole doesn’t mean the medication doesn’t work.

As with any fertility treatment, it may take several rounds of medication to become pregnant.

Femara (Letrozole) and IUI

Femara can successfully be used with intrauterine insemination (IUI). If you and your fertility specialist choose this route, you’ll take Femara as prescribed, but will watch closely for signs of ovulation.

In many cases, women use an ovulation predictor kit or visit their doctor’s office to detect ovulation and undergo IUI at the right time.

Femara can increase the chances of a successful IUI procedure. While IUI results in a live birth between 1% and 6% of the time without fertility drugs, Femara can boost the odds to 4% to 9%.

Femara (Letrozole) Cost

The cost of fertility medications can make it tricky to determine what course of action you should take when undergoing fertility treatments.

Fortunately, Femara is a lower-cost fertility treatment option. Depending on how much you are prescribed, and for how long, Femara can range anywhere from $50 to several hundred dollars.

Is Femara covered by insurance? In cases, yes. This can reduce the price, sometimes dropping the cost down less than $100.

You should also know that there are generic versions of letrozole that can make it more affordable. But even if you prefer to use the name-brand version, Femara coupons are often available to help with the cost.

Femara (Letrozole) Reviews

Many women and couples who are considering Femara seek out letrozole success stories online. If you’re interested in learning about the experiences of other women, and reading reviews about Femara, there are many reliable resources.

Beyond women and couples sharing their personal experiences on a variety of message boards and forums (such as popular sites Whattoexpect.com and Babycenter.com), medication rating websites such as Drugs.com can give you an insight as to successful Femara is, and how women felt taking it.

For additional resources, finding an in-person support group, such as a group listed by the National Infertility Association, can help you meet Femara users for real-life feedback.

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Fertility Clinics Near Me

Fertility Clinics By State

While there are fertility clinics throughout the U.S., some states have a denser population of reproductive specialists, giving residents in those areas more fertility clinic options.

California

California may have the largest number of fertility clinics of any state — so much so that the state is considered the country’s “fertility treatment destination.”

From the southern portion of the state all the way up to its Washington board, California has countless options, with many of the clinics being leaders in new, innovative fertility treatments.

In addition, ranking by the National Infertility Association’s annual Fertility Scorecard gives California a B grade for it’s legislation and support for fertility patients.

Popular California fertility clinics include HRC Fertility in Encino, The Kaiser Permanente Center for Reproductive Health, and the Reproductive Science Center of the Bay Area.

New York

Like California, New York is a huge draw for fertility clinics and patients. The state has more than certified 130 fertility specialists who help patients diagnosed with a variety of fertility concerns.

Because New York has such a diverse population with differing needs, there are a variety of clinics, from upscale Manhattan centers to university fertility research clinics. Like California, New York’s wide range of options give patients a larger chance at finding a clinic that best suits their needs.

Popular New York fertility clinics include Columbia University Fertility, Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York, and CCRM New York.

Illinois

Illinois may be a rural, Midwest state, but the city of Chicago is home to several popular fertility clinics.

According to the National Infertility Association, Illinois has more than 60 board-certified fertility doctors located throughout the state, though the largest density of providers is closer to Chicago.

Unlike many Midwest states, Illinois also has laws that require insurance providers to cover fertility treatments.

Popular Illinois fertility clinics include Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, Vios Fertility Institute, and the Fertility Centers of Illinois.

Texas

Texas is a great resource for infertility patients simply because the state has a high number of fertility specialists.

As of the last Fertility Scorecard, Texas had nearly 100 fertility doctors practicing within the state — a huge benefit for the half-million women in the state diagnosed with infertility.

While Texas does require insurance providers to cover fertility treatments, residents should know that employers can opt out of this requirement based on religious exemptions.

That means if you get your health care through your employer in Texas, it’s important to be sure that the clinic you select will be covered by your insurance provider.

Popular Texas fertility clinics include The Houston Fertility Institute, The Center of Reproductive Medicine, and the Center for Assisted Reproduction.

New Jersey

Despite being a small state, New Jersey is home to many fertility clinics.

The state is considered by the National Infertility Association to be fertility friendly and received an A grade thanks to its mandates that insurance companies cover fertility treatment, as well as the number of available support groups for people diagnosed with infertility.

In addition, New Jersey has more than 60 board-certified fertility specialists in the state, which gives patients options at finding the right fit.

Popular New Jersey fertility clinics include Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey, The Fertility Institute of New Jersey and New York, and the Reproductive Science Center of New Jersey.

Top 10 Fertility Centers in the United States

While there are countless fertility clinics and centers throughout the country, some stand out from the rest in terms of patient satisfaction, success statistics, and innovation.

he following U.S. fertility centers are considered to be some of the top medical resources in the country.

Western Fertility Institute (WFI) in Encino, California

According to WFI, the center was ranked by the CDC as being the top clinic in the country in 2018 (it also takes the honor as the top clinic in the state of California).

It claims to have some of the highest success rates with IVF and fertility treatments within the entire assisted reproductive technology field. WFI staff includes top-rated doctors and reproductive endocrinologists.

CCRM Fertility, various locations

With clinics throughout the country, CCRM Fertility centers have been able to help many couples and individuals grow their families.

The brand is considered an industry leader in fertility science and research, and utilizes a large network of top-notch fertility specialists to serve patients.

CCRM Fertility has clinics in California, Colorado, Minnesota, Texas, Georgia, and along the East Coast.

Boston IVF in Boston, Massachusetts

Boston IVF has been an award-winning East Coast fertility center for several years running. Locally, its physicians have been selected as the best doctors in Boston since 2016, and the center’s success rates include more than 90,000 babies born since 1986.

Boston IVF is also a leader in the fertility treatment field, and has scooped many of the region’s fertility firsts, including orchestrating the first egg donor pregnancy in New England, as well as the first birth from egg freezing in the state.

Dallas IVF in Dallas, Texas

Located in northern Texas, Dallas IVF is an award-winning fertility clinic that features some of the to reproductive specialists in the field.

The center is accredited by the American College of Embryology, a designation only given to the top 25 percent of IVF laboratories and clinics in the United States.

In addition, its physicians have regularly been recognized by regional and state publications and organizations for their compassion, care, and knowledge.

HRC Fertility in Encino, California

HRC Fertility takes a well-rounded approach to caring for its patients, blending cutting-edge fertility treatments with complementary therapy services such as acupuncture.

The clinic is known for its infertility research and testing methods. In addition, it is the first fertility clinic on the West Coast to provide IVF intracytoplasmic sperm injection, a procedure that directly injects sperm into harvest eggs for fertilization.

Reproductive Medicine Associates of New Jersey (RMANJ), various locations in New Jersey

With more than 10 locations throughout the state of New Jersey, RMANJ is available to fertility patients at all times (it’s literally open 365 days a year).

The center provides treatment for both men and women struggling with infertility, and its life birth rate for women under 35 is above the national average at 82.9%.

The center is open to patients of all ages, and caters to women who are older than 35 and looking to become pregnant.

New Hope Fertility in New York, New York

Winning mentions from the U.S. News & World Report and other publications, as well as local organizations, New Hope Fertility is a top-of-line fertility clinic in New York City.

The center offers a variety of traditional and holistic approaches to infertility, including innovations such as Needle-Free IVF and Minimal Stimulation IVF.

New Hope has also been a leader in egg freezing since 2004, and specializes in difficult infertility cases such as PCOS, endometriosis, and multiple failed cycles.

Advanced Fertility Center of Chicago, with three Chicago locations

If you’re looking for a fertility center in Chicago, Advanced Fertility Center offers three locations near the city. The fertility center success rates for IVF are higher than average at 62% (compared to the national average of 46.8%).

The center offers affordable fertility screening — including a male fertility clinic — and also has a money-back guarantee for patients who use frozen donor eggs.

Center for Reproductive Medicine in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota

The Twin Cities’ Center for Reproductive Medicine is a strong option for fertility patients in the northern Midwest.

The clinic has offered services for more than 30 years, and has IVF success rates that bypass the national average.

It offers monthly seminars and educational programs for prospective parents, and is a member of the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, as well as the American Society for Reproductive Medicine.

In addition, the center’s mission includes support for all couples, and is one of many top-notch fertility clinics for gay couples.

Emory Reproductive Center in Atlanta, Georgia

Based in Atlanta, Emory Reproductive Center is part of Emory University, which gives the benefit of a wealth of information and research regarding infertility.

Emory Reproductive Center offers top-notch infertility specialists and has an IVF success rate higher than the national average for at least a decade.

How to Find a Good Fertility Clinic

If you search “fertility clinics USA,” you might be amazed at just how many options are available to U.S. residents.

And what each specialist and center offers — from doctors that support fertility clinics for gender selection to free fertility clinics — varies incredibly. That can make it overwhelming when it comes to selecting the right fertility clinic for you.

What to look for in a fertility clinic

So, how do you get started? Here’s what to consider when trying to find the best fertility clinic that fits your needs and budget:

  • Does your insurance provider cover the fertility clinic?How long has the clinic been open, and does it have a good reputation in the field of fertility medicine?
  • What are the clinics’ success rates, and how does the clinic define success?
  • What fertility treatments does the clinic offer? Does it offer just IVF, or a variety of other kinds of treatments?
  • Is the clinic board certified? Does it have any awards or memberships to reproductive medicine organizations?
  • What financial options are available? While there’s generally no such thing as free fertility clinics, many fertility centers and providers of IVF in USA are able to set up payment plans or offer sliding-scale services based on your ability to pay.
  • Does the clinic offer programs such as egg and sperm donation or pair with clinics that do?
  • What limitations does the clinic offer on age, types of treatment, and rounds of fertility medications or IVF?

You can use this time to take notes about the clinic’s atmosphere, practices, and staff.

Remember to trust your gut, and know that a clinic may not be the best option for you just because it is covered by your insurance provider or offers competitive rates and incentives.

Choosing a fertility doctor

When it comes to choosing a fertility doctor, don’t be afraid to set a consultation appointment. Because fertility treatment is invasive and personal, it’s important that you’re comfortable with the doctor you choose.

And, because of the expense and time-sensitivity of infertility, you’ll also want to ensure that the doctor you choose is a board-certified physician with experience at handling difficult fertility cases.

These other factors should play a role in your path to choosing an OBGYN fertility specialist:

  • Your doctor’s certifications and experience in infertility treatment
  • How the doctor and staff greet and treat patients, as well as the general atmosphere — infertility can be frustrating and isolating, so you’ll want to be sure that the doctor and clinic you choose is caring and positive, yet realistic about your chances at becoming pregnant
  • When the clinic is open, and if there is an after-hours doctor on call for emergencies or questions — in a situation where you have questions about time-sensitive injections or medical care, it’s important that you be able to contact your fertility doctor
  • What treatment practices the doctor supports or does not prefer to use
  • If the doctor may be conducting studies or research into new IVF and fertility treatment methods that could benefit you

Choosing a fertility specialist is a big choice, but know that it’s OK to switch providers within a practice or find a new doctor altogether if you don’t feel like you’ve found a fit during the consultation process.

Using the CDC’s Latest ART Report

One tool at your disposal in selecting a fertility clinic is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) ART Report.

This report is generated annually, and compiles fertility clinic success rates.

If you’re narrowing down your search to fertility clinics in your area — or even considering treatment at a top fertility clinic in another state — the ART Report can give you insight into a fertility clinic’s success.

The CDC’s latest ART Report can give you information such as:

  • What kinds of fertility treatments a specific clinic offers, and how often
  • The kinds of fertility problems patients at a specific clinic are being treated for
  • The outcomes of egg and embryo transfers (that is, pregnancy or failed cycle)
  • How frequently the clinic uses donor eggs or sperm
  • The total number of fertility cycles the clinic performs in one year

Having this information is a great tool at confirming a clinic’s advertised success rates, and can also be good information at understanding if a clinic is successfully treating patients with similar infertility diagnoses.

The Best Fertility Resources

When it comes to doing research on fertility clinics, treatment, or diagnosis, there are a variety of resources to explore. Some of the best fertility resources include:

  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • The National Infertility Association
  • The World Health Organization
  • The American Pregnancy Association
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
  • The Society for Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility

In addition, speaking with your current OB/GYN for resources and support groups in your area can open up a world of additional information — such as treatment and clinic recommendations from others undergoing infertility treatment.