The IVF second opinion conundrum (unpacked)
Communication. Logistics. An instinct. Fit. When it comes to switching fertility clinics, all of these (and many more) are valid reasons to hit pause, and look at your options. A few of us on The Ribbon Box team know the thought process only too well.
Keeping an open mind is so important, we think, when navigating a fertility journey. And while it doesn’t often serve to second guess every decision or pathway, or chop and change at the drop of a hat, you know your body, goals and limits best. If there’s a disconnect you just can’t get past, that’s ok. In IVF, second opinion isn’t a switch.
With over 45 years of experience, Spain’s pioneering fertility clinic, Cliníca Tambre, were quick to fill in the blanks. These are the top five reasons they see patients switch to their care, year-on-year, for a fresh start with treatment.
Check out our mega-popular 9-5 day in the life at Cliníca Tambre and connect with their wonderful team for the best in patient-first experience, in Spain right now.
1. You can’t communicate
When you’re already pretty anxious about a treatment plan, or your fertility journey in general, chasing email responses and call-backs isn’t ideal.
“If you’re not getting answers, or worse, struggling to make contact with your practitioner and team, the result can be so much unnecessary stress and uncertainty”, says the Cliníca Tambre team.
“Watch points include communication in the first instance – that very initial welcome and introduction with your clinic – and how next steps are handled if treatment fails, for example. Patient-centred care means putting you at the heart of the process, listening and being responsive.”
We agree. From personal experience, chasing (and chasing again) when you’re on a fertility journey can be distressing. If you’re struggling to keep open lines of communication, it may be time to take your plan elsewhere
2. You need expertise in a specific area
From donor conception to immunology, you may have a specific requirement (often more than one) which your current clinic isn’t set up to support. If this is the case, the decision to switch fertility clinics or practitioners may be quite simple.
Having an open conversation with your clinic is important. If you’ve done a bit of research and found an expert or department who have extensive experience in your area, there could be everything to gain from getting a second opinion or setting up an initial consultation, as a starting point.
This is your journey to parenthood. No need to worry about hurt feelings by switching up your plans.
3. You’re worried about mistakes and errors
Even in an era of AI and automated process, errors do happen. Some are relatively small – your team putting the wrong name on an email, for example – and others carry major impact.
The Cliníca Tambre team agrees,
“Big or small, the key thing to watch out for is how your clinic handles a mistake, and puts things right. Do they routinely misplace your bloodwork for example, or get your details wrong on the phone? If so, there may be a training or workload issue. Serious mistakes should be identified and handled as quickly as possible, with clear, upfront communication and next steps to rectify the situation.”
Not satisfied with the process, or concerned by mistakes being made at your clinic? This is a clear red flag that it may be time to look elsewhere.
4. You don’t feel heard
Almost every clinic will give real prominence to bespoke treatment, patient-first care and plans which are uniquely built around you. It’s all in the execution, however. If you get to that first appointment just to have your questions and research dismissed, it’s a red flag for us at team TRB – a few of us have been in exactly this position, and wish we’d called it out sooner in the process.
We’re not about being mollycoddled, or sheltered, and if a practitioner really does disagree with an approach we’d like to look into, for example, we’re up for a robust conversation. But if you’re struggling to be heard, or having to self advocate at every appointment and interaction, the fit might not be right.
5. You need a better ‘fit’
Speaking of ‘fit’, it’s really important. As vague or trivial as it may sound, if you’re not keen on the environment, or your doctor’s bedside manner is lacking, these are valid red flags which shouldn’t be brushed off.
From the welcome you get when walking into the clinic, to the waiting room set-up and vibe – check out the gorgeous patient waiting areas, garden space and more at Cliníca Tambre for a bit of benchmark setting – and and then the all-important relationship you (ideally) build with your doctor and team – feeling comfortable is key to your experience, and how you prepare for treatment.
Here at team TRB, we firmly believe that patient experience is crucial. Fertility – from trying to conceive naturally, to assisted fertility, donor conception and connected health issues – can be all-consuming. When something impacts your life in this way, and matters so much, feeling good about the team you’re working with and location you’re visiting is vital.
If things just don’t feel right, it’s a conversation worth having.
From a second opinion and initial chat, to a full switch and fresh start, the best clinics will meet you where you’re at, working with you to develop next steps that move things forward.
For patients just starting out or anyone looking to switch, Cliníca Tambre’s first priority and touchpoint is getting to know you, and your journey so far. If you do decide to switch, they’re set up to make the process as seamless as possible.