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Yelp for Fertility Doctors

I’ll admit I looked up my doctor on FertilityIQ, the new “Yelp for Fertility Doctors.”  Why?  I have no clue since I usually don’t go on review sites.  But there I was, typing in his name on FertilityIQ.

I reasoned that it’s not as if I’d suddenly think crap of him if he had a low score and a bunch of negative reviews. I mean, my experience has only been positive, even caring. Still, I held my breath as the page loaded, as if his score was a comment on my common sense. Had I picked a good doctor or a total dud?

8.8 out of 10. A B+ in report card terms. Nothing to be ashamed of.

On the other hand, the doctor my mother used for having me got a 10.

Which made me sort of wish I had used him instead.

What the fuck am I talking about? My 8.8 doctor was not only kind and smart and helped me conceive the twins, but before I looked on this site, I would have said nothing but positive things about him.  He talked me through a bunch of hard moments.  He even called personally to apologize on a weekend when another doctor at the clinic forgot to call me back about test results.  He is a good guy.

Yet seeing other people’s complaints made me feel… I don’t know. Like I missed something?

This is precisely why I don’t go on actual Yelp. I like my opinions to be my opinions. I don’t mind recommendations from people I know, but with complete strangers, I don’t know their motivation. Maybe they got pregnant easily with my doctor and therefore have warm feelings toward him. Maybe they never got pregnant and blame him. Maybe he told them something truthful that they weren’t ready to hear, or maybe he offered them the same compliments he offers every patient but they thought they were unique.

And now my opinion is my opinion plus that number — 8.8 — which didn’t come from my brain.

But still, knowing this site existed, I couldn’t help but look him up.

Have you looked up your doctor? Can a number change the way you feel about him or her?

15 comments

1 Lisa @ AmateurNester { 02.21.16 at 8:09 am }

I looked up mine and was glad to see he had a score of 10. I think I would’ve felt defensive if he’d scored otherwise. I have mixed feelings about review sites for doctors, but I do like that this one makes you verify you were an actual patient.

2 Cristy { 02.21.16 at 8:41 am }

There’s a lot of value from feedback on doctors. Recommendations and feedback from others can help people decide which doctor to initial chose and it can also help others make the switch if the relationship isn’t working out.

I agree, though, that on downside of this feedback is second-guessing. Wondering if we missed something when others are leaving negative feedback. Plus there can be cheating and trash-talking.

But given the fertility industry is so consumer oriented, having consumer feedback is overdue.

3 Jen@FrugalSteppingStones { 02.21.16 at 9:11 am }

Mine is not even listed! Our clinical closed a few years ago though. Maybe he retired? I can’t complain- we got two kids out of that clinical before our bonus freebie child.

4 loribeth { 02.21.16 at 10:13 am }

Looks to be a U.S. only site. But I have looked up my RE (and other doctors) on other “rate your doctor” websites, and read comments about him on IF message boards. A lot of women rave about him because, of course, he helped them to get pregnant. His specialty is older women, hard-to-crack cases, which makes them doubly grateful, of course. I was not so lucky. I do feel gratified when I read an opinion that echoes my own (& my reservations weren’t just because I was not successful).

He was actually reprimanded by the College of Physicians & Surgeons, about 10 years ago (about five years after I stopped treatment)… he did not tell a patient that the donor eggs she was using came from one of his staff members — a woman he was having an affair with (!!). That little detail is no longer on his CPS record, but you can still find stuff about it if you Google him & do a little digging.

5 loribeth { 02.21.16 at 10:14 am }

I do agree with Cristy, though, that feedback like this is welcome & needed. Wish I’d had more such sites to consult when I was going through treatment.

6 Catwoman73 { 02.21.16 at 11:06 am }

I have looked my doctor up, and he has terrible ratings… and even though I had success with my daughter, I agree 100% with them! He was terribly disorganized, kept awful records, often said one thing and did another, and sadly, I seemed to know more about my options than he did. I do have regrets that I went back to him while TTC baby #2, and will spend the rest of my life wondering if we might have been successful had we gone elsewhere. But that thought doesn’t have much power over me anymore- it’s just something that pops into my head now and then. I am very happy to see those reviews out there for the world to see- perhaps some other woman will make better choices than I did as a result of them.

7 Katherine A { 02.21.16 at 6:06 pm }

Interestingly, the first RE I saw has fantastic reviews and people I talked to IRL all liked him. Despite that, I disliked him for a number of reasons and we were a horrible match personality-wise (I later talked to several people who also had similar experiences with him, but didn’t want to criticize him openly to a current patient). He drove me nuts by constantly dismissing concerns that turned out to be valid ones on my part – and I have no doubt that my control-freak-ness and anxiety probably weren’t his favorite things to work with.

I guess what I’m saying is this: when I look at a site like this one, I’m looking for some specific things. I want reassurance that the physician is competent, first and foremost. Beyond that, then I’d like to see honest and detailed reviews – what turned me off my 1st RE is something other people I know *liked* about him, and something someone lists as a dislike about another doctor might be something that doesn’t bother me or that actually works better for my personality. I think that IVF/fertility treatments are so expensive and time consuming that it’s good to try to find someone you work well with, which is why I think a site like this, overall, is a good idea.

8 tasivfer { 02.21.16 at 7:05 pm }

My doctor wouldn’t be on this site as I’m not in the US, but I wouldn’t look him up anyway. I’m in a closed group on Facebook of women who go to my clinic, and sometimes I feel strange seeing comments treating the main doctor there like a god. He isn’t. He’s fine. It seems a lot of people who have reproductive issues respond well to some of the basic treatments. And he’s fine at that. But if you’re a difficult case, he doesn’t try anything different – and the clinic isn’t equiped for anything other than a few protocols. He kept stimming me in the same way for years; it took me saying NO to change anything.

But I also wouldn’t want my experiences to change anyone else’s judgement. For most people, he will be fine. If he’s not, you’re a more difficult case – and I wish he’d be more honest about this.

9 Chris { 02.21.16 at 7:44 pm }

I don’t have a doctor who would be on that site, but suffering from a very rare nerve disease I’ve seen more than my fair share (understatement) of doctors. The doctor who actually managed to help me was AMAZING, I recommended him to a number of people and have defended him to more. But, people either love him or hate him because he took risks. He was a brilliant pioneer of surgery that helped a lot of people with Parkinson’s disease but it got him a lot of bad press. Never changed my opinion of him, I just wish he hadn’t died.

10 Working mom of 2 { 02.21.16 at 8:01 pm }

I’m still processing the part about your mother’s doctor was on there. She used a fertility doc in the 70s?

For me, I found blogs and message boards very helpful and I’ll be forever thankful that they let me to our clinic in a different state. It’s interesting–occasionally I’ll see something very negative that someone has written about our clinic and doctors which were literally the best in the country. So you can’t trust everything you read.

11 Mali { 02.21.16 at 11:10 pm }

I guess there’s a place for these things, as everything/everyone else is reviewed these days. I suspect the ratings are highly influenced by the issue of whether the reviewer took home a baby or not. If I saw a positive review by someone who didn’t get success, then that might influence me. As always, these things need to be read and understand. It’s the same with restaurant or hotel reviews, eg on tripadvisor. You’ve got to be able to read between the lines.

12 One and Done? { 02.22.16 at 7:38 am }

Yikes, I looked up mine and she had a zero. LOL

13 Charlotte { 02.22.16 at 10:30 am }

“I like my opinions to be my opinions”

Yes. This is why I don’t really do review sites of any sort. Especially not for doctors. Because doctors are such a personal experience, and personalities can clash and not make it a good fit, so reviews to me wouldn’t be valid or helpful. Now, I would look at a review of a clinic as a whole, but definitely not an individual doctor.

Several years back my long-term Doctor suddenly retired and I had to see someone right away, so I took the first appointment I could get from a list of doctors my former doctor provided because I needed a prescription. He ended up being an Asian doctor who mostly only saw non-English-speaking Asians, so I was way out of his demographic and I had a horrendous experience with him because of that and he really didn’t seem to have time for me. I think I saw him twice before switching, and while I ~could~ have left a terrible review, it wouldn’t have done a lot of good as he was well liked in his circle. Which is sort of how I feel in general about doctors: patients see and stay with them because they like them and they click. Sometimes you don’t click for whatever reason, and you go elsewhere. But it is so personal a review isn’t going to help much.

14 Jess { 02.22.16 at 9:54 pm }

Interesting…neither of my doctors were on there with a rating. Well, our last doctor was, but only one person rated, so that’s hardly a reliable sample. (It was 7, neutral.) I don’t trust these sites, necessarily. It’s like movie reviews. A lot of times I love the movie and it gets an awful review. Or vice versa. Plus, I heard so many varying thoughts about doctors and clinics and nurses and I think it has everything to do with personality fit and where you are in a snapshot of time and how much patience you have. I have also loved doctors and hated clinics, so there’s that… so much goes into that very personal experience that I can’t imagine it can be accurately distilled into a number on a review site…

15 Jake { 03.13.16 at 11:31 pm }

A friend just sent me a link to this thread. This is wonderful feedback. If you have suggestions of things we could be doing better, just email me. Deb and I are busy adding & stripping features, which we do from kitchen table. Unless the request is insanely complex, we can be pretty nimble. We also have ~10x the volume of data we’re showing now & ensuring we surface what is most helpful & relevant will be a major challenge. All my best, Jake

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