IVF - How to choose an IVF Clinic?(9 Posts)
As the title says really, how do we choose where to go for IVF?
A bit of background, due to my partner already having a child from a previous relationship we are not entitled to IVF on the NHS in our area so have to privately fund this. At the moment the main cause of our inability to naturally conceive appears to be my partners low sperm count. I have regular cycles, all my hormone levels appear ok and I ovulate each month, or at least the months I have had blood tests / ultrasounds! I have PCOS but do not appear to have many symptoms.
We live in Essex but work in London so potentially have a huge number of options. I have looked at the HFEA website and the various success rates for different clinics but find it difficult to really differentiate between them. We do have an appointment at the ARGC at the end of the month and are in the fortunate position that we can just about afford one cycle with them. I have however a niggling feeling that they are very expensive, and perhaps unneccesarily so, especially if our circumstances are relatively straightforward.
From my reading around it seems ARGC are pretty clinical, fairly poor on the peoples skills side of it and come across as rather chaotic, however, have one of the best success rates.
I am curious as to how you picked the clinic you used and / or what in hindsight you think you should have considered.
I did not want your post to go unanswered. We too are in the poistion of going for IVF shortly, however if all goes well we might be eligible for NHS. I also find the HFEA website a bit difficult to understand and the stats for some clinics appear out of date.
Have you looked on fertility friends forum? They seemed more geared up into fertility treatment and there is a lot on there. FYI don't read it on a bad day as it can be quite heavy.
Good luck with IVF,
The HFEA website is quite hard to use - almost too much information! It was easier for us as there are fewer clinics in our area, but the key thing is to look at their outcome statistics for people in your age group for your kind of treatment (eg if you are having IVF, ICSI etc - sounds like probably ICSI given your main issue is male factor which was the same in my case)
The other big factor for me was access to the clinic - during cycles we had many, many appointments to keep including scans and bloods at 730am every couple of days during the stimming phase. For us a clinic that was close to work was best and meant I could attend all early morning appointments without any work disruption which would have been difficult (as we did not tell anyone we were having treatment)
Sorry - I meant to add that as the stats I our area were pretty similar between clinics we went with the one that had better online comments from a 'customer care' point of view. You need somewhere where you can feel confident and comfortable with the nurses especially as you will see them A LOT, often in very intimate circumstances!! Some women feel like they are just on a production line and that the service can become very impersonal - but the personal touch makes the whole challenging journey a lot easier to cope with. Our nurses (in Nurture Nottingham) were fabulous and kind, and even squealed with delight when we finally got a BFP! If I was to do I again, i would go back to the same clinic just because our customer experience both cycles was of a good, caring and personal service.
I'd recommend ARG wholeheartedly. Haven't checked the HFEA tables for years so don't know if they still have the highest success rates in the UK, but I now have 3 DCs entirely due to them.
They may well be lacking in the hand-holding stakes, and it often does seem rather impersonal; but frankly it really isn't the point! If you only have the funds to do one cycle go to the best clinic and give yourself the best chance of success. Get some RL support to do the hand-holding and just grin and bear the conveyor belt approach.
It really is worth it. Good luck!
Having said that, I should have mentioned that if you don't work close to the clinic you may find you need to take some time off work to cope with the demanding clinic schedule. As you get closer to transfer time you often need to go to the clinic for bloods twice a day. However, it really is only for a short time (1 week or so I think - but I'm afraid my memory is fairly vague on the specifics even though it was only a few years ago!)
Another vote for ARGC. It's the fastest way to buying your own baby. We have 3 children from two cycles (inc twins!) and they monitor every step very closely. I took time off work for 3 weeks and am glad I did as its very intense but they not only got me pregnant, they made sure I stayed that way by monitoring some additional issues I had.
I can't recommend them more highly. There are places which are much more touchy-feely but they just don't get the results. Once you've had the treatment the only thing that matters is the result, so in my view stack the odds in your favour and go to ARGC.
Btw I was 38, complex immune issues and hardly an easy patient and they still got a great result for me. Good luck!
We didn't need it in the end as conceived month before starting iui but I went for the one attached to a major teaching hospital - the CRGH which is attached to UCH though is on Gray's Inn Road, in part because I had heard of the doctor and seen him on tv.
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