The Value of a Second Opinion

“You should definitely get a second opinion.”

Sound advice. Just take a look at the evidence.

In a 2017 study, Mayo Clinic researchers found that, for 88 percent of patients, getting a second opinion yielded a new or more detailed diagnosis.

When it comes to fertility treatment, however, patients often forego this step.

Though uncommon, seeking a second opinion before embarking on your fertility journey can make a difference in your path to pregnancy. And where you choose to seek that second opinion makes a difference, too.

Dr. Lauren Roth of our Frederick and Rockville offices recently had a patient who trusted her gut and got a second opinion at Shady Grove Fertility.

After becoming a patient of Dr. Roth’s, what she also got, was a baby.

One Patient’s Experience

Britney and Cory were hoping to expand their family and give their little boy a sibling, but after trying for a year and a half, they realized there must be a problem.

“We decided to seek out testing at a local hospital where it was discovered I had a blocked Fallopian tube and severely diminished ovarian reserve of 0.08 (extremely low egg supply) at just 28 years old,” Britney says.

The recommendation was in vitro fertilization, and quickly, as her biological clock was ticking.
“Something in our hearts told us we needed a second opinion so we decided to schedule a consultation at Shady Grove Fertility in Harrisburg, PA after a friend highly recommended we go there.”

I was scared to death, felt defeated, and very alone as having a child was something I always took for granted.” Britney says adding, “I immediately fell in love with Dr. Roth who took the time to truly explain to us what was happening and what our options were.”

Britney and Cory decided to proceed with IVF and wanted to start the process as soon as possible with Shady Grove Fertility’s Shared Risk 100% Refund Program.

They went through three IVF cycles. Cycle #1 was cancelled due to no viable embryos and cycle #2 resulted in a negative pregnancy test, but cycle #3 was different.

“The third cycle yielded only two eggs at the retrieval. I felt so discouraged but also tried hard to remain optimistic. After all, it only takes one, right?”

“Miraculously, both eggs fertilized normally and continued to grow. On day 3, we transferred both embryos and 2 weeks later we got the positive pregnancy test we had been waiting on for 2 ½ years. And here he is. So perfect. So incredible. Our miracle child. And we owe it all to Shady Grove Fertility, Dr. Roth, Alyssa our RN, and the rest of the staff at Harrisburg and Rockville.”

The Difference a Quality Fertility Center Makes

Whether you are seeking a second opinion or making a first-time visit to a fertility center, figuring out where to go is a big decision. Take the following factors into consideration.

The center you choose can determine the degree of comfort you experience as you move through the fertility process. By selecting a center where you don’t feel rushed, you do feel listened to, and your concerns are considered, you can likely improve the quality of your fertility treatment experience.

The center you select may also have an impact on whether or not your conception attempts are successful. Not all centers have the same pregnancy success rates, and not all centers offer the same level of treatment and intervention.

As a new patient, you should inquire about a fertility center’s experience. While you don’t want to feel like you’re just a number, you do want to work with a physician who has ample experience with a wide array of procedures and conditions.

The fertility treatment process can be a complicated one—and communication is key. Consider how (and if) you can communicate with your doctor. At some centers, all communication goes through a nurse, while at others, patients can communicate directly with their doctors as frequently as necessary.

Special Features

Center-specific offerings can improve your experience.

For example, at Shady Grove Fertility, many patients receive the reassurance and financial support they need through enrollment in our Shared Risk 100% Refund Program. This program allows patients to attempt up to 6 IVF or donor egg cycles and any subsequent frozen embryo transfers (FETs) for a flat amount.

Participants in Shady Grove Fertility’s Shared Risk 100% Refund Program can discontinue treatment at any time and receive a refund (some exclusions apply).

Assessment Process

One of the key distinguishing factors between fertility centers is the assessment and prediction process.

At SGF, we strive to provide the most accurate and dependable predictions of success by conducting a thorough analysis of each and every patient.

When assessing new patients we consider:

  • Age of female partner
  • Ovarian reserve testing results
  • AMH level
  • Sperm count
  • Sperm motility
  • Sperm morphology
  • Prior reproductive history
  • Past treatment protocols

By analyzing these factors, and through the use of our Richter Predictor, which is uniquely based on data from 15,000+ SGF treatment cycles spanning 10,000+ patients since 2009, we can give dependable success rate predictions.

At Shady Grove Fertility, our doctors share these predictions with patients and discuss the best course of action before developing a very personalized treatment protocol. In doing so, we ensure that patients understand their options, feel informed, and are truly comfortable with the planned course of treatment.

Patient Self-Advocacy

Britney and her husband got exactly what they were hoping for—a beautiful and healthy baby boy. She now advises women to trust their guts and not to be afraid to ask questions.

Not all fertility centers are the same. And if a visit to one center just doesn’t feel right, move on.

Although doctors are medical experts, patients shouldn’t feel pushed into procedures that aren’t right for them or be afraid to ask about options that they feel might work.

Dr. Roth advises couples to educate themselves on both their condition and their options—with the support of their doctors. Ultimately, patients should feel confident in the abilities and intentions of their chosen doctor. If they don’t, it’s time to get a second opinion.

To learn more about the services provided at Shady Grove Fertility, please contact our New Patient Center. To schedule an appointment, call 1-877-971-7755 or click here to complete this brief online form. 

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in June 2017, but was updated in August 2018.