Choosing an IVF Clinic

hope-never-failsI knew I wanted treatment but I did not know where to go. Even though my hubby is a medic who knew the process, knowing which clinic to use for our IVF treatment took quite a bit of research on our part.

We went with our GP’s recommendation for our first and second treatment, and were referred to a teaching hospital. We thought being a teaching hospital this was a good idea, so we did no background checks.

Checks like: success rates, services on offer, facilities or any such things, we just assumed being a teaching hospital and a research centre we will be fine. we were disappointed with the whole process. It wasn’t the fact that the process failed it was the handling of the process and the treatment we received.

Our experience was so bad that we waited another year and a half before trying a different clinic. During my break from treatment, I did a proper research to IVF clinics, procedures and what my top 10 clinics offered.

Choosing a clinic is a very personal decision one that involves so many criteria. See related article Exploring Treatment Options. After my experience with the first clinic, we checked the fertility regulator websites which was full of so much information that it was impossible to pick one clinic without having to read everything about it.

I decided on a clinic after months of research, reading newspapers reviews and comparing stats. After my research, we decided to write down our expectations from a clinic and the criterial which helped us decide on the clinic to go with:

I don’t want you to go through the same problem so I have compiled a list of 10 questions to asked yourself and the clinic before you choose:

  1. How to search: know what you want from a clinic. It is important that you know what you want and which clinic is good at it. I know you want to be pregnant and have a baby, any clinic has some success rate. But what is your diagnosis and which clinic is best suited to dealing with that? As mentioned above, get up to speed with fertility information.

    Read, read, read, by so doing, you will come across a wealth of information which will help you decide on a clinic. I came across my clinic while searching for the top 10 IVF clinic in the UK, with this search I was able to review the 10 top clinics and decided on the one I eventually used.

  2. Your first port of call: Every clinic has an overview page, which gives detailed information about what the clinics offer, their success rates by age, the treatment they administer and weather they are involved in any research. crucially the price is there somewhere. This page will also provide information on staffs, facility and the location enabling you to make the best decisions based on what you have read in comparison to other clinics.
  3. What’s on offer: what services does the clinic offer in addition to the treatment cycle? do they offer support group where you can be part of during the process? Do they also offer counselling as part of the package? I was a total mess after my first 2 failed experience, some counselling would have gone a long way to help ease the pain, but the clinic offered no such services and did not suggest it. I was shoved out of the door and told better luck next time. my support system where my husband and strength from God.
  4. High up on my list was the support system of the clinic. Soon after my initial consultation, immediately I joined their online forums where we supported each other and gained valuable information about the clinic and certain other procedures. Some clinic offer counselling services to talk you through before you begin, it can be part of the cost or may not be. Find out at your initial consultation, what is offered and if it is included in the overall price.

  5. Location and opening times: This was important for us as my husband and I both worked full time. It was important the clinics offered appointments which were flexible enough to fit within our time. Check if they have early and late openings appointments.

    Also, factor the cost of hotel, taxi trips, if you happen to find a clinic which ticks all the box but not local. My clinic was nowhere near where we live but luckily it was near my office so it was a case of popping out during lunch breaks for tests and scans.

  6. Find out the treatment on offer: Given my pre-existing health conditions I wanted a clinic which offered more than the basic test and treatment, but one that understands how autoimmunity affects fertility.  my research lead me to believe that the clinic we choose offered more than the basic IVF which was reassuring. The More I read about them the more convinced I was about using them. So, it is important to know what clinic is good for what. If you are over 40”, you may want to select the clinic with the highest success rate amongst over 40.

Other questions to ask during your first appointments:

  1. Number of cycles offered by the clinic: Find out the number of cycles they offer and the what stage they choose to stop, if you don’t fall pregnant. I was told at my previous clinic that they won’t offer another treatment as there was nothing they different they will do. This was very devastating news, see related post Surviving Treatment Not only could they not explain why I had such bad results, I was turned down for another treatment without explanation.  It is therefore important to know how far the clinic is willing to go, especially if you are over 40.
  2. Their inspection report: every clinic have an inspection report, what does it say about them? They should have it visible or on their website: go through it and see what it says about how they perform and operate. If it’s not visible ask them for one.
  3. Success rates: it is only natural for you to want to know your chances: what are their success rate per age group.

    Choose a clinic which has data on the number of treatment carried out yearly and the number of successful treatments leading to live births. This should be a guide not as an indication that you will be pregnant. It is good to know as it is reassuring. I was reassured to find out that my clinic was consistently top. Also, compare their success rate to the national average;

  4. Waiting times: regardless of your age you do not want to be waiting endlessly for an appointment, during your research find out the waiting times before your initial appointment. Depending on the popularity of the clinic waiting times can be from 1-6 months. So, ask them during your telephone conversation, to have an indication of how long before your first appointment.
  5.  First impressions matter. How did your initial contact with the clinic went:  where they professional? did you feel welcome? Did you feel like this is the place you should be having treatments? Are the staff courteous, polite, friendly and helpful?

I don’t want you to go through the same problems we faced, which is why I have written this piece. I hope that you have found it helpful, and hope that you will find place where you can have a treatment which will result in what your hearts desires. Please share and leave comment if you have found this helpful.

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Pregnancy and infant loss awareness day: 16 October 2016

I couldn’t write anything on that day. I wanted to write something to encourage those who have suffered loss of any kind but I couldn’t find the words.. then I received this in my inbox and refused to look at it, I felt really down and wondered how those babies I lost would have looked liked had they lived…

I decided to share this article as it blessed me so much. You can subscribe to received daily encouragements from the www. SarahLaughter.com. 
Happy reading 

 Today is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. It is a day set aside to honor and remember your babies–so very loved–lost to miscarriage or stillbirth. Sarah’s Laughter joins you in honoring and remembering all babies loved and lost. Those miscarried a a few days after a positive pregnancy test. Those carried full term but not carried home. Those conceived in embryology labs but never survived to transfer. If you loved and lost your baby–no matter the timeline–we remember them with you.

Tears are frequent companions along the road you travel. They appear at the most inconvenient times and refuse to be silenced. Your heart is heavy from the burden you bear, and life insults you by continuing on. 

You have an appointment, and it is one your heart will want to keep. Facing the loss of precious babies, appointments with doctors become something that we tend to fear or dread. We grow weary of bad reports and worse realities. Many times the appointments raise more questions than ever, and they all remain unanswered. But there is an appointment set for you with the One who holds every answer to every question your heart has ever asked. You have an appointment with God. 

 One day, you will stand face to face with the God who chose to allow you to suffer through the unbelievable sorrow of the death of your babies. One day, you will look into the eyes of Love Himself and finally have a conversation with the only One who knows the reasons why. What will God do? The answer is found in Revelation 21:3-5:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, say, “Behold, the tabernacle of God 
is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain;

 the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

 Your tears will come to an end that day. The same hand that formed the first man, the same hand that stretched out over raging waters and calmed a storm, the same hand that had a nail driven through it, the same hand that formed your babies in your womb, will one day reach out to you again, and wipe the tears from your face. He’ll lock eyes with you and touch your face. Your tears and your hurt will vanish, never to take residence in your heart again. With compassion unmatched through time and eternity, your Heavenly Father will make all things new, and will banish sorrow and mourning from your heart. No more death. No more pain. No more prematurity. No more separation. All things will be made new.

Until that day, weep when you need to. The same Lord who will wipe your tears away takes note of those same tears today, and He keeps them in a bottle. He promises to be near to you when you are brokenhearted. He must be close today.  

 So grieve as you need to. Just don’t grieve as those who have no hope. Your tears will end one day, and you’ll see your babies again. It’s an appointment I know you’ll want to keep.  

 

I love hearing from you. Please email me at

beth@sarahs-laughter.com and tell me your story.
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The “age” thing

make-dreams-happenI get excited about the news of my friends becoming pregnant or anyone who has tried for a while becomes a parent, especially if they’re over 40.

I believe women have it tough with our biological clock and all… so the story of a 40 something year old becoming a mum excites me…I am not sure why I get excited this way, maybe it’s something to do with the miracle of a child developing through the stages in a woman’s body.

So the news of Janet Jackson expecting her first child at the age of 50, was sweet music to my ears. I don’t know her story, I don’t know if she tried to conceive several times or not, I am not sure. But here’s what I do know, to be pregnant at 50 is medically classed as high risk, almost impossible. Being married to a medical doctor I know my husband constantly reminded me of the facts of having babies beyond 40 while we were trying.

Medically as a woman ages, it takes longer to conceive and the risk of not being able to get pregnant increases. Also, the risk of miscarriages, complications in pregnancy and childbirth, increases.
Starting at about age 32, a woman’s chances of conceiving decrease gradually but significantly, from age 35, the fertility decline speeds up. By age 40, fertility has fallen by half. At 30, the chances of conceiving each month is about 20%. At 40 it is around 5%.
 This post details when to seek help. Infertility: When to seek help

Hence my excitement at the news of any woman who becomes pregnant at any age above 35 especially age 40 and above…. it is nothing short of a miracle….

The stats are there: facts not fictions, however, there is hope for anyone who is over 35 onwards, as the stats also shows that., for the first time in decades ‘older mothers’ I.e. over 35s are now more than under 35s.

If you really have a desire to be a parent, woe betide me or anyone else who tries to quench the fire of your hopes and dreams. The desire to become a mum or dad is God given and unless he takes that desire away, never ever give up hope to believe against all odds, that you will become a parent.

I don’t know Janet’s story, did she try for a long time? Did she had any miscarriages? Maybe she did, maybe she didn’t, regardless she’s an expectant mum at 50… that’s encouraging. 

If you are out there reading this post, be encouraged by it, fuel your zeal with faith, don’t give up on your quest towards becoming a parent , no matter what, try, try. Try, again…

 

Your partner in Hope

D’Ebi

 

Related article: Causes Of Infertility In Women 

The Adoption Process

 

I have huge respect and applaud anyone who has made room in their heart and home to parent a child. Adoption is a unique act, one that is selfless and giving. Although I have not adopted a child, I know it is a hugely rewarding and transforming experiences for both the child and parent.

I started exploring this option after my Eureka moment read it here:Exploring Other Options

In UK, several agencies are involved in the adoption process, these are social services, the Local authority, the courts, and other adoption agencies.

This post will explain the process here in the UK…

Adoption is a way of providing a permanent home and family to a child who can’t be bought up by their birth family.

Why adopt? For me it was not because I was unable to have a child of my own, the moment I realised I can bequeath love to another human and give a child a home and make them feel love, it became irrelevant the method of getting being a parent.

If I can love a child of my own, I can equally love the child birthed by another. Being a parent, is all encompassing, it involves, showing and giving love, passing on life’s values and raising up kids who will be outstanding, decent citizens, this I believe should not be restricted to birth parents only.

Of course I arrived at this decision following my experience with infertility, but for me it was all about loving. Adoption process is not a smooth road. having closely observed a friend during the adoption of her child, I realised it can be both exciting and draining at the same time.

Statistics: Each year in England there are 4000 children waiting to be adopted, the majority are older children,as well as sibling groups who need to be placed together or children with disabilities.

Process: The adoption process involved working with different groups of people as mentioned above. It is the job of these people to ensure that prospective adopters are the best possible parents for the children.

Stages:

Pre-stage one exploration: invokes knowing more about the process. Often includes reading background information and speaking with experts

Initial checks and registration: involves locating an agency you are comfortable with and commencing the process which involves formal evaluation, taking references and conducting  background checks. This stage  typically takes 2 months.

Ttraining and assessment: Usually involves a social worker who is assigned to work with your family. They will assess your strengths and produce a report to the adoption panel. This stage usually takes 4 months

Matching with the child: This is where the adoption agency works with the local authorities to find the right child for you. They will discuss the Child with you in order to determine the suitability you. The final decision is usually made by the adoption panel

Moving in: Once a match has been made, there will be a period of time to get to know the child, this will involve a series of visits and short stays. After which you apply to the court to be the legal parent.

I learnt from my friend that the process is very invasive as very detailed and personal questions are asked, no area is left out, job, housing arrangement and your extended family is also looked at. I acted as a reference for my friend, and I am so glad to see their daughter thriving and turning into a vibrant young woman.

So the wait was worth it  as their little girl who came to be with them a few years ago has brought so much such a joy, fulfillment and a sweetness to the home.

If you are considering adopting, make inquires in your local area and don’t delay any longer… Soon you will be we on your way to welcoming your child home.

We would love to Hear your story, send us a private message if it’s so personal to you. Or leave it as a comment.

Wishing much success on your fertility journey..

Your partner in hope