When searching for an IVF doctor (or fertility of any kind), make sure to ask women you trust Friends & Family! .  It’s likely that you know at least one person who has had fertility issues in your area.  A cup of coffee with that person could save you weeks of research and worry.

Once you’ve narrowed your list down to a few doctors, make sure youre’ armed with questions  Get Informed! for your consultations, including how aggressive they are with medications and their success rate with women your age and with your particular fertility profile. If they’re worth their salt, they’ll always have you go through the financial breakdown with a Nurse Practitioner at the end of your consultation as well.

Expect consultations to cost around $300, which will include an ultrasound to check you out.  But hey, why not negotiate? After all, if you plan on being a mom you better get used to haggling for deals Don't Be Shy!  – even with doctors. I asked Dr. Boostanfar of HRC Fertility in Encino if he could accept an ultrasound from a former consultation to save me money and he said he would instead grant me a free ultrasound if I signed up with him.  That’s a savings of $350 right there. Add to that he also accepted results from a former hCG test and blood work I had done and you can see I save a ton!

Nail down every detail on how you will be charged, what services are and are not included, and whether or not there are any subsidy programs you qualify for Free Stuff! . You read the last part right. Sometimes practices get medications donated back to them from patients who bought more than they needed.  These are perfectly good medications, and you can, if you show hardship (especially as a single mom), get these for free.

I interviewed a fertility doctor in Mexico (you can read more about my experience south of the border in next month’s issue), then smacked my palm on my forehead for ever assuming the cheap IVF prices could make up for all the added headaches of being in a foreign country. Take it from me, especially if you’re on your own, staying local and reducing travel expenses is essential!

Knowing I would settle in Los Angeles, I checked in with friends and narrowed it down to three fertility doctors. To this day I liken it to Goldie Locks and The Three Bears. The first guy was too negative.  The second lady was too gung-ho.  And the third guy… well, he was just right.

That ended up being Dr. Robert Boostanfar of HRC Fertility. He was calm, assuring and realistic. Armed with a good list of questions and the support of my friends and family, I was able to take the lead on the consultation instead of it just “happening” to me and leaving confused. And I couldn’t have asked for a better result… after all, he helped me get pregnant on the first try!

Good luck ladies!