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The largest network of fertility specialists providing services such as in vitro fertilization in the state of Illinois is Fertility Centers of Illinois. Located in Chicago, Fertility Centers of Illinois offers access to the very latest in technology, along with programs for egg donation, surrogacy, mind-body healing, and financial counseling. Because they also sponsor clinical research trials, Fertility Centers of Illinois also offers the latest technology for women with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) and also for women of advanced age.

Fertility Centers of Illinois can be reached at 1-877-FCI-4IVF (001-847-849-1530 for callers outside the United States). Not all fertility clinics of Illinois are in Chicago, however. Downstate, in Champaign, fertility services are offered by Midwest Fertility Clinic, which can be contacted by calling 217-366-1255. Midwest Fertility Clinic offers in vitro fertilization and a variety of male and female reproductive services. Serving Joliet and Aurora, the Center for Reproductive Health in Center Hill also offers in vitro fertilization services. They can be reached by calling 815-725-4161 or 800-213-6390. Northern Illinois is served by Reproductive Health and Fertility Services in Rockford, which can reached by calling 877-373-7552. And many residents of southern Illinois may prefer services in St. Louis, Missouri or Evansville, Indiana.

In St. Louis, the Infertility and IVF Center of St. Louis may be reached by calling (636) 225-5483. In Evansville, the Advanced Fertility Group may be reached by calling 812-469-4920. All of the facilities listed above offer both IVF (in vitro fertilization) and ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection, the injection of a single sperm into a harvested egg). Since in vitro fertilization can require many trips to the fertility clinic, most couples prefer to go to the best clinic nearest them.

However, it is important to establish up front at least these five important considerations:

1. Get a clear statement, in writing, of the costs of various procedures you are likely to need.

2. Have an understanding, in writing, that you direct how many embryos are implanted and you decide what happens to your unused embryos.

3. Make sure you have a way of contacting a physician any day of the year while you are enrolled in their fertility program.

4. If the doctor tells you that you might benefit from an advanced procedure, be sure to ask where you have to go to get it.

5. Talk with the support staff. Discreetly ask how long they have been with the clinic. The longer the support staff have been with the clinic, the more likely they are to get essential tasks done write such as storing your eggs and your embryos for your fertility procedures, not someone else's.

Lastly, beware any clinic that boasts a 100% or near-100% success rate. Exaggerations can occur in the doctor's office, too. The clinic that may be best able to help you may be the clinic that takes the most difficult cases and usually gets results.

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