The Value of a Second Opinion

13th July 2017

“You should definitely receive a second opinion” – Sound advice, but don’t just take our word for it, consider the research.

A study carried out in 2017 by Mayo Clinic researchers identified that for 88 percent of patients who received a second opinion yielded a new or more detailed diagnosis.

When it comes to fertility treatment, patients often forego seeking a second opinion. Dr. Stephen Greenhouse, one of SGF’s board certified reproductive endocrinologists, estimates that as few as 5 percent of the patients he sees are seeking a second opinion prior to beginning a treatment.

Seeking a second opinion before embarking on your donor egg journey can make a tremendous difference in your path to becoming a parent. And where you choose to seek that second opinion makes a difference, too.

One Patient’s Experience

Prior to visiting Shady Grove Fertility, Renee Trotter experienced five miscarriages. During the last of these miscarriages, Renee began to suspect something was not quite right. The fertility practice she has working with at the time assured her all was fine. During her 13-week ultrasound, Renee’s fears were confirmed with the news that her baby no longer had a heartbeat.

Following the loss, the fertility centre advised the couple that Renee would be unable to carry a baby and that using a gestational carrier was their best option in fulfilling their dream of becoming parents. Through extensive research, Renee inquired about preimplantation genetic screening (PGD) and was told that, in her case, this procedure would not be successful.

Moving forward, Renee and her husband found a gestational carrier and proceeded with the egg retrieval press, only to be told her egg did not fertilise, so no embryo was available to implant. Heartbreakingly, despite the financial expense, lost time, and lost hope of using a gestational carrier and completing an IVF cycle, this plan was unsuccessful.

For Renee, her only option was to move on, she went to law school and carried on with life as normal, until her husband suggested trying again. To say Renee was apprehensive would be an understatement. However, her husband had heard good things about Shady Grove Fertility and, through sheer determination, they were willing to give the process one more try.

When the time came for Renee and her husband to meet with Dr. Greenhouse, she was struggling emotionally as a result of her infertility and recalls the following feeling: “When you go through infertility you start to feel like you’re not even human—you’re just this object—and you’re failing. Sex isn’t about fun or romance. There is a goal and you aren’t meeting it.”

After their first meeting with Dr. Greenhouse, Renee described it as transformative… “The first time I met with Dr. Greenhouse I sat in a chair and he looked me in the eye and talked to me like a human being,” Renee reflects, “I don’t think I can ever explain to people what it meant to have someone talk to you like a person.”

With a renewed sense of hope and determination, Renee, her husband, and Dr. Greenhouse proceeded with a PGD procedure. In the first round, with 11 embryos produced, three were genetically normal and two were developed enough for Dr. Greenhouse to implant these into Renee. One would become her miracle daughter.

The Difference a High-Quality Fertility Centre Can Make

Regardless of whether you are seeking a second opinion or making a first-time visit to a fertility clinic, deciding on which one to visit is a daunting decision. Here at Shady Grove Fertility, we recommend you consider the following when making that initial decision.


How comfortable you feel with the fertility centre you choose makes a big difference. Choose a centre where you don’t feel rushed, you feel listened to, and your concerns are considered by all members of the team. You are highly likely to improve the overall quality of your treatment experience by choosing wisely.


No two fertility centres are the same, and all have different success rates, treatment approaches, and intervention philosophies. Therefore, the centre you select will most likely have an impact on whether or not your conception attempts are successful.


As a new patient, we would recommend that you inquire about a fertility centre’s experience, whilst you do not want to feel as though you’re just a number, you will want to work with a physician who has ample of experience with a vast amount of procedures and conditions.


There is no denying that the infertility and the donor egg treatment process can be complicated and communication is a fundamental aspect. Consider how and if you can communicate with your medical team and in particular your doctor when necessary. At some fertility centres, all communication goes through a nurse, whilst at others, patients can communicate directly with their doctor.

Special Financial Programs

Centre-specific offerings can play an integral part in your overall experience. Here at Shady Grove Fertility, many patients receive the financial support, confidence, and reassurance that they need through our Shared Risk 100% Refund Programme. This programme allows patients to proceed with more expensive treatments without having to consider the financial constraint or worry, due to the 100% money back guarantee that protects their financial investments. Further to this, unlike similar programmes, patients who enroll in the Shady Grove Shared Risk 100% Refund Programme can withdraw at any time throughout the process and receive a full refund.

Assessment Process

One of the key factors that differ fertility centres is the assessment and prediction process. At SGF we strive to provide the most accurate prediction of success by conducting a thorough analysis of each individual patient. When assessing new patients for donor egg treatment we consider the following:

  • Prior reproductive history
  • Past treatment protocols
  • Age of both female and male partner
  • Semen analysis
  • Saline sonogram results

At Shady Grove Fertility, our doctors communicate these predictions with patients and discuss the best course of action prior to developing a personalised treatment plan. We ensure that patients understand their options, feel informed, and are comfortable with the journey and treatment ahead.  

Patient Self-Advocacy

As a patient of Shady Grove Fertility, Renee highlights that not all fertility centres are the same, and that if one clinic just doesn’t feel right, move on until you do find the one that gives you a sense of hope. Renee says she spent far too long at her first clinic, and wishes that she had listened to her gut and found a doctor who partnered with her throughout the process.

Renee also states that although doctors are medical experts, patients shouldn’t feel rushed into procedures that aren’t right for them, nor should they be afraid to ask about options that they feel may work. She encourages couples to become knowledgeable by reading and learning about fertility treatment options in order to play an active role throughout the fertility process.

Dr. Greenhouse advises couples to educate themselves on both their infertility and their possible options. Ultimately, patients should feel confident with their doctor and his or her guidance; if they don’t, it’s time to seek a second opinion.

Whether you are looking for a second opinion or a first-time consultation, learn more about our International Donor Egg Programme by emailing our International Patient Liaison, Amanda Segal.


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