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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