Today’s guest post is provided by the founders of FertilityIQ.com, a new website with real patient reviews designed to help couples find a good infertility doctor. Read more to find out how you can find the best doctor for your own personal care, as well as how you can help others in their search. And please, consider submitting a review of your doctor. All of the reviews on the site are patient-driven and are not provided by doctors trying to market themselves.
My wife, Deb, and I had good jobs and a predictable life here in San Francisco. We gave all of it up to see if we could bring the field of fertility treatment into the sunlight. As patients, Deb and I went to multiple doctors, in multiple states, and after we spent over $75,000 in treatment, we never found care the care we deserved. After my wife’s egg harvest at our last clinic, the nurses made a medical error and we rushed in a panic to the closest ER. When we tried to let our clinic know what had gone awry, they could not have cared less. “Someone should do something about this,” Deborah muttered under her breath. And one day we woke up and thought “we’re somebody” and maybe we should try and help.
From our kitchen table, we built a website called FertilityIQ. Our sole focus was to enfranchise a community of fertility patients to evaluate their RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) so other hopeful parents can make a more thoughtful choice. Let’s face it, it’s just impossible to get good information as patients. Offline, we are too shrouded in stigma. Online, most of the data and content we find is provided by the clinics, directly or indirectly. Often we are fed a diet of half-truths, and deep down, we all know it. Meanwhile, our families, our savings, and our sanity, hang in the balance.
It was a long and lonely year building FertilityIQ. The site was hugely complex to construct. We had to beg other patients and families to bravely and thoroughly evaluate their doctor. There were weeks, and months, when we wondered if this was all worth it. If we “built it”, would anyone care? To say we harbored doubt on the night of February 15th, the evening before our launch, is a galactic understatement.
Nearly six weeks later, we are stunned by the reception. Fertility patients from across the US have submitted evaluations on over 90% of the REs in America. In over 50% of the cases, patients provide a document that proves they were a patient. We are not Yelp: when you read a assessment on FertilityIQ.com, you know if the evaluation is authentic as well as the reviewer’s age, diagnosis, the treatments they have undergone, the costs they have incurred and the results they received. Without that context, a patient’s perspective is hard to calibrate.
But perfect we ain’t. We need to do more to educate patients on the relevant issues. We accept no money from the clinics, and so our impartiality compels us to do this. Next, we need more evaluations from patients of their REs. The more reviews we have from a region, the more we can help women and couples make a smarter decision with the benefit of more data. For instance, if we have 100 reviews from, say, Chicago, we can give you a general sense for what fertility patients think of the 50 REs in the area. If we have 2,000 reviews, we can tell you exactly what women like you (similar age, diagnosis, treatment history and income) think of each of the Chicagoland clinicians. If you want to help, you can simply click here: https://www.fertilityiq.com/survey-intro
As I write this, Deb and I are expecting our first child any day. Unbelievably, it happened for us naturally. More than ever, we have come to believe there is so much about fertility we have yet to understand (and that is probably why cycle success rates are <30%). But this much we know is true, the more high-quality information we share as patients, the better our collective chances at finding the care we deserve, and having the family for which we always hoped.