There are approximately 450 fertility clinics in the United States and they are different on many levels: the medical protocols they deploy, levels of individual attention they provide, biases around single and multiple embryo transfer, lab quality, price, nature of the clinicians, and overall competency. Finding the right fit is ultimately a question of personal preference, but in the case of single and gay men looking to build their families, there are a few specific criteria worth considering.
One factor to consider is whether the clinic is prepared to help a single man, or gay couple, to have a child in the first place. The last time clinics were surveyed, in 2005, about their attitudes towards screening out patients, nearly half were “very or extremely likely” to turn down gay or single male parents. As to whether these clinics are now able to make all patients feel equally welcome is anyone’s guess.
Even if there isn’t outright discrimination at play, many clinics don’t appreciate how this process is unique for gay and single men, and that can make the experience all the more trying. You can read evaluations on different clinics, sorted by LGBTQ patients, at FertilityIQ.
The next factor to consider is how experienced and successful a clinic is at delivering live births via egg donation. Typically, comparing clinical success rates is ill-advised because clinics often see different patient populations. But, in the context of egg donation, where the quality of eggs is likely more consistent, this can be a more useful exercise. For context, below are the success rates for the clinics in California that performed the largest number of fresh and frozen donor cycles in 2014. As you can see, success rates range by nearly 2x from the high to the low.
It’s worth mentioning that while orchestrating third party reproduction is complex, and you want to go to a place that’s experienced in doing it, we saw very minor correlation between the number of egg donor cycles a clinic performs and success rates.
Next, if you think you may want to transfer multiple embryos, it’s important to understand your clinic’s position. The advantage to transferring multiple embryos is it raises the likelihood of having a live birth, and, if twins do occur, the intended fathers get “two-for-one” out of this financially and emotionally draining process.
This is a sensitive subject because carrying twins significantly raises the risk of complications to the mother and offspring. While many clinics say that they are loathe to doing multiple embryo transfers, our experience is that many are more willing to do it for gay couples who will invest so much in this process. If you know in advance that you’ll want to consider trying for twins, this is something to look for.
Clinics really do vary in their comfort when it comes to transferring multiple embryos. Below is the average number of embryos five northeastern academic fertility clinics transfer using donor egs.