January 14, 2019

January 2019 – Choosing a fertility clinic.

6 sheet – pram

With over 90 fertility clinics in the UK, it can be overwhelming to know where to start and what to look for, when choosing the right one for you. Top help answer your questions, we have written this guide to help you start your journey. 

Location

Find out about all the clinics that are nearest to you, thats what Google’s for!  Bear in mind that treatment can be time consuming and you’ll need to be available for appointments, possibly at short notice, so a convenient clinic can make a big difference.  Consider also how you will get there. Is it easy and affordable to park, does a familiar bus route pass by the clinic. You may choose one close to your place of work or closer to home, depending on your personal circumstances.  Look out for clinics that are particularly flexible with their appointments outside the 9-5pm, these can really help maintain a sense of normality or enable you to keep your treatment discreet from work colleagues.

“If you would like to understand more about the tests and treatments which are available to you, we will be holding an Open Day on Saturday 2 February”Sarah Walt

The People

If you ask people who have undergone fertility treatment what was most important to them, and certainly from our own surveys, we’ve found that the relationship with the whole team is really really important.  Take note of every member of staff you encounter and how the clinic environment makes you feel.  Treatment will be much more successful when you are relaxed, calm and confident about the team that will hold your hand throughout your unique journey.  Ask the clinic about the relationship between the team and the patient and the ways in which you can get support and your questions answered during treatment.  Some clinics will provide mobile phone access to a fertility specialist 27/4 during treatment, which can be incredibly reassuring.

The Expertise and Technology

Although success rates can vary, this may be more due to differences in clients (age, medical conditions etc.) than the actual ability of each clinic.  However, it is reassuring to look into the expertise of the team, perhaps starting with the consultants and embryologists, look at the level of their experience, their length of time at the clinic.  You could also look within the laboratory and see what is unique to that lab.  For example, some clinics offer time lapse incubation, which allow eggs to be viewed on a continuous cycle by photographing developing cells inside the incubator, without every being disturbed.

Holistic Care

Fertility treatment can be a time of anxiety and uncertainty. For many, extra support in the form of holistic care options can make a real difference to both the experience and the outcome of your treatment.  Find out what extra support is available at each clinic and whether there is a charge.  For example, are there any complementary therapies like counselling or acupuncture available?  Are patients encouraged to share and support each other?  Can you receive lifestyle advice and nutrition and exercise?

 Successful couples

It can be very heart breaking to see pregnant women and babies everywhere when it’s the one thing you want so much.  However, hearing about a clinic’s success stories can really boost your morale and also allow you find out so much more about whether it’s the right clinic for you.  Great clinics will have lots f very happy Mums who would be happy to share their experiences.  The easiest place to look is on their website or on their Facebook pages but it may also be possible to ask to speak to previous client directly if you ask. 

The cost

Whilst it is not recommended that you choose a fertility clinic based on cost alone, for many, it is an extremely practical and important part of the decision making process.  Do remember that many clinics manage the cost of fertility treatment differently so it is not always easy to make a direct comparison.  Some may include all necessary drugs, or counselling for example, others may not.  The right clinic should detail all the costs involved in your complete treatment from the outset.  Do remember that many clinics now offer some degree of certainty on the financial side, when clinical outcomes cannot be guaranteed (multicycle programmes – an agreed numbers of rounds of treatments for a fixed fee or a lump sum charge with full refund if treatment is unsuccessful).  Some  

The Initial Assessment

Once you have decided to commence with fertility treatment, the first step is to understand what your individual issues are and how treatment may be used to overcome them.  There will be many variables within this, from the age of your eggs, the strength of a partners sperm to any pre-existing medical conditions. Remember egg and sperm donors are also available and becoming a donor yourself (by sharing eggs or donating sperm) may significantly reduce the cost of fertility treatment.  Having a clear picture is the first step in a well planned and informed journey.  Most clinics now offer a full assessment, including a detailed consultation which will provide you with all the tests and the prognosis to enable all your questions and concerns to be answered, before making any big decisions.  You should not feel pressured at any point and you should not need to pay more than £500 for this comprehensive information.

If your plans for 2019 include trying to have a baby and you need some help to conceive, please remember that support is just a phone call away.

For more information we have two open evening events per month and if you would like a more personal approach we also offer a free one to one appointment with one of our fertility experts who can discuss in details the options available to you and personalise the advice according to your own personal circumstances.