‘The Infertile Midwife’ on Instagram, imparts her research for those trying to conceive. If you’re looking for help with fertility and working out how to choose a fertility clinic and fertility specialist, then read on. Sophie’s advice is based on personal experience, having done it twice herself. See what she thinks regarding fertility clinics and narrowing them down to best suit your needs.
Over to Sophie…
www.theinfertilemidwife.com | @theinfertilemidwife
I’m Sophie – more commonly known as ‘The Infertile Midwife’ and as the name suggests, I’m a practicing midwife. We started trying to conceive over three years ago. Our first round of IVF was successful, and I became pregnant with identical twins. Sadly at 21 weeks, I went into labour and we had to say goodbye to our sons Cecil & Wilfred. After our 2nd round of IVF failed, we felt like we needed to explore the options of other fertility clinics, as we felt our original clinic no longer suited our needs. The process of choosing a fertility clinic can seem overwhelming at first, but if you break it down and take your time, it can also be enjoyable to see what other clinics can offer you.
Whether you’re new to fertility treatments, or you’re looking to try somewhere new, how you choose your fertility clinic is one of the most important decisions in your TTC journey. It can feel an incredibly daunting task, and it can be difficult to know where to start. The wealth of information available may be overwhelming, so read on to hear my guide to help you with choosing a fertility clinic and making sure they are the right fit for you.
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This is the government regulator of fertility clinics in the UK. Clinics can be clever at manipulating the statistics they display on their websites, but the HFEA website enables you to compare IVF success rates between the clinics. They also inspect clinics to ensure they are operating in a safe manner. Many clinics will list their pregnancy rate on the website, but the live birth rate is a better indicator of you chances or taking home a baby.
Related Article – IVF Success Rates – Measuring Yours and Your Clinic’s
2. How Far are you Willing to Travel?
During a cycle of IVF, you may be visiting your clinic daily, or alternate days. Factor in the travel times, and how this will impact your life during this time. If you are going to be completely exhausted travelling between your home, your clinic and your place of work, it might be better to consider somewhere closer. Undergoing a treatment cycle can be exhausting, both on a physical and emotional level, so make sure you aren’t burning the candle at both ends.
3. Most Clinics offer Open Evenings
These are opportunities to meet staff from the clinic / your potential fertility specialist, and get a feel for the place. Although you won’t be able to ask questions about your personal situation, it is a great way to have a look round and find out more about the fertility clinic.
4. Ask Others about their Experience
If you know someone else who has treatment at a clinic, it can be helpful to ask questions about their experience. I would always take this with a pinch of salt, as you don’t want someone else’s opinion of a clinic to sway you in a particular direction, but personal experiences can be helpful. General questions such as: What is it like to be a patient there? Were the staff kind? What was the communication like? Try not to ask about the specifics of the treatment, as they may have a different infertility diagnosis to you.
Related Article – Four Reasons to Go Abroad for Fertility Treatment in 2020
5. Have a Consultation
Although most clinics charge for a consultation, some will do a free session – especially at the moment (virtually), due to Covid-19. This will be an appointment with a fertility specialist, who can look at any results you have and talk through a fertility treatment plan. This doesn’t mean you have to commit to a clinic, but it does allow you to get down to the finer details about your individual case. Bring as much information as you can from previous rounds – you can request your notes from your clinic. I always come armed with a list of questions, and will write down as much as I can from the consultation, so I can reflect on it at a later time.
6. Look at the Price List
Sadly, as NHS provision of IVF and fertility treatments is limited, cost is a factor to consider. Ask the clinic whether there are any added extras, for example some clinics charge extra for a blastocyst culture. Many clinics will let you shop around for your medication, as it may be cheaper to buy it separately than from the pharmacy at the clinic.
Related Article – Fertility Treatment Costs – The Ultimate Breakdown
7. Choose a specific Fertility Specialist
One thing that I found particularly helpful was not only selecting the clinics, but also specifying which fertility specialist at that clinic we wished to speak to. For many this may seem like an exhausting task, but even at the same clinics, doctors may have very different viewpoints on how to treat a condition. Each clinic will have a small bio about the staff, explaining their background and their particular interests. It makes little sense to see a doctor who specialises in PCOS, if your problem is low ovarian reserve and vice versa.
8. Take your Time
Write a list of pros and cons. This is an important decision so don’t rush it. Talk it over with your partner, or someone you trust.
9. Go with your Gut
I really do believe that choosing a clinic is a bit like buying a house. It has to feel like home when you walk through the door. It may tick all the boxes on your spreadsheet, but if you find yourself hesitating, ask yourself why.
Related Article – What is PCOS? By The Women’s Wellness Centre
Hopefully you have found this IVF blog on how to choose a fertility clinic helpful and you now know the things to consider when picking. We wish you the best of luck with your search and IVF success.