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The Agora Clinic in Hove, or The Esperance in Eastbourne?

(36 Posts)
CareBear1 Mon 26-Mar-12 22:16:09

Has anyone had any experiences with either of these fertility clinics and if so would you recommend them?

Thanks. X

missbrightside Tue 27-Mar-12 09:12:37

Hello CareBear

I've been lurking on the IVF thread (as I'm due to start treatment myself shortly) so am sorry to you for your news.

I'll be watching this thread with great interest as the Esperance and the Agora were the two clinics offered to us for our NHS cycles. We picked the Agora but now I'm wondering if we've made the right choice ... !

All my concerns are unbelievably petty (and will be totally irrelevant if the treatment works) but - if I'm quite frank - so far I've found them a bit slack. I'm hoping that they aren't so slack when it comes to treatment ..... ! (I'm sure they aren't).

When it comes to administrative matters it's very much like the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. They are very keen to sell the fact that they have no waiting list - but when I tried to make a 'booking in' appointment with a nurse the earliest date they could give me was 6 weeks away. Really ? Just to be shown how to do injections ? My initial thoughts have been that if we were paying we probably would be looking around a bit more.

I don't know if you are familiar with the area but it is minutes away from Hove Station (handy if you are travelling by train) in a souless modern office block. There are some comments on Fertility Friends that it is like a 'spa'. Sorry to offend anyone but it's not like any spa I've ever been to ... ! I didn't particularly find it a nice environment (but then again, is any clinic ??)

Anyhow, hopefully someone who has actually had treatment at one of these will be along to give far more constructive comments ...... !

Take care xx

missbrightside Tue 27-Mar-12 14:01:13

Hello again !

I'm now feeling bad that I've been a bit negative to you about the Agora. The truth is that I have nothing else to compare it to - so possibly I was expecting something a bit more in terms of service than I should be. As I say I haven't even started treatment there which is of course the deciding factor .... !

(possibly I just need to chill out a bit !)

Should have said that it's a satellite/sister clinic to the Lister in London (so can't all be bad !!)

xx

CareBear1 Tue 27-Mar-12 19:41:32

Hi there missbrightside, thanks so much for your reply. No need to be sorry for voicing your opinion! Hope their service improves for you and your treatment goes well. You must be a West Sussex person also - I had been at the Bridge clinic in london but it seems west sussex pct have changed their contract of fertility clinic. After 2 goes at the Bridge I'm not sorry to give somewhere else a whirl, though i had no complaints about the Bridge. I think we've done really well in the postcode lottery compared with some other parts of the country.

I had already been thinking about the esperance as its a bit more of a convenient location. I rang both clinics yesterday to ask a question, and the esperance answered the phone and answered straight away, whereas with the agora i got a voicemail and they only got back to me late on today. So that coupled with your comments and the nice pictures of the esperance on the web i'm going to go there! How fickle, I'm sure I should be looking at statistics or something.

And yes, regarding your second post, hopefully they just prioritise everyone who is already in treatment so to speak so they get the best service. Best of luck with it. I found the fear and worry of the treatment a lot worse than the actual drug taking and procedures - in fact i had no side effects at all - easier said than done but try not to worry and get a zita west meditation cd. Having Zita whispering in your ear telling you everything will be alright is really supportive. Also I found doing acupuncture alongside really helpful - do you have this?

missbrightside Tue 27-Mar-12 22:49:33

Hello - I'm along the coast from you in East Sussex. Hove (just a stones throw away from the Agora in fact). So my reasons for picking it over the Esperance were even more fickle than yours - I can walk there !! I work in London so that would have been a viable option for us if we had had had a free choice. As you say, it's a postcode lottery and I can't really complain with mine. East Sussex give you two fresh cycles and two frozen cycles which seems to be much better than some PCT's. And - although I'm winging about waiting 6 weeks for an appointment - it's significantly less than some areas !

Yes - phones always going through to answerphone and speed in returning calls is already one of my annoyances with them .... ! (I'm glad it isn't just me who has picked up on it though !!)

Thank you for your words of advice. I've currently got a meditation CD winging it's way from Amazon. I went to get the Zita West one but had a last minute change of plan and went for the Helen McPherson one (no idea why to be honest !) I'm not particularly good at relaxing at the best of times so will see how it goes ! Have half heartedly had a few sessions of accupunture in the past - but think I will now book a few sessions to be geared at IVF. The Agora has an 'in house' bloke (Richard Mundie ?) who also practices independently in a clinic in Brighton - so will give him a go.

Anyhow, best of luck back to you too on this rollercoaster of a ride. I'd be really interested to hear back what you think of the Esperance when you go there.

Take care xx

CareBear1 Wed 28-Mar-12 18:02:24

Hi Bright side - Well I decided that it would be more sensible to look at statistics after all, and I know they don't mean everything but the agora and lister combined are well above average, and well above the esperance so we've decided to go with the agora after all.

Fyi I rang them today (got straight through) to ask if they do NK cell testing and treatment as part of cycles and they do. (I assume that you'd have to pay extra but good to know this could be done and managed inhouse). They don't really do the chromosome testing thing that some other people on these threads are having done.

I haven't heard of the Helen McPherson one is it any good?

I'll be really interested in your experiences at the agora as I'll probably be a few weeks behind you in treatment. x x x

missbrightside Wed 28-Mar-12 22:24:14

Excellent - a clinic buddy !! grin

Thank you very much for the NK information - much appreciated. I think I really do need to stop self diagnosing and step away from Dr Google for a bit - but I will ask the Consultant more about it when I see him.

(Although in the meantime I will just secretly order the Dr Beer book that people have recommended. For research purposes of course .... !)

I have a baseline scan in a couple of weeks - so will let you know how it goes there. I then have an appointment with the consultant and a nurse on 1st May - so assuming that will start after that. Incidently, we are with Mr Kelada (who we have previously seen for fertililty investigations as he is also a consultant at the Royal Sussex). Nice man - good beside manner !

Well, my CD doesn't seem to have arrived from Amazon today so no idea if it is any good !! No idea why I went for that one instead of the one that everyone recommends ... ! (Think there was a review on Amazon that swayed me !)

Will keep in touch !

x

missbrightside Tue 01-May-12 18:15:20

Hello Carebear

Hope that your immune testing has gone (is going ?) well.

I wondered if you had been to the Agora yet - and if so how you think it compares to your previous clinic ?

I've now had a couple of appointments there and have really mixed feelings about it. At the first I had a baseline scan (nurse who did it was great) followed by a repeat blood test (different nurse who did it faffed around so much I nearly did it myself ... !)

Today we saw the consultant (I've seen him before as he also work for the Royal Sussex). I asked him about immunes (given that it is his specialist area !) and he said he saw no reason no to go ahead with at least one cycle of IVF and "see what happens". But - if the IVF is successful - he would recommend (private) immune testing as part of the recurrent miscarriage investigations I would need if I have another miscarriage (given that I would then have had 3) .... hmm. Admittedly we agreed with this course of action but didn't leave feeling totally assured of our decision ...... !

Then saw a nurse for all the nurse bits. She was only young (I know we all have to start somewhere) but her inexperience came accoss. Lets just say I've learnt more from mumsnet and youtube ...... ! DP and I had a bit of an argument about it afterwards as (when I moaned about her on the way home !) he thought I was being unreasonable as she was "really nice". She was really nice - just would have preferred to have gone through it all with someone who I had a bit more confidence in .... !

Anyhow, I do think I'm being a bit unreasonable by moaning as I'm sure every clinic is dependent on what person you deal with. But I do think the Agora is hit and miss. I just can't wait to start getting on with it now (I'll start taking the pill on my next cycle aiming for egg collection in mid June) as I'm spending far too much time thinking about things !!

Anyhow, please don't feel the need to reply to this. I'm just starting to warble on now .... !

x

missbrightside Tue 01-May-12 18:17:08

Sorry - he said 'If the IVF is successful but ends in a miscarriage' !

CareBear1 Tue 01-May-12 22:11:01

Hi Missbrightside, hmm i agree with you i wouldn't want to hear anything about what they'd recommend if you miscarried again, just what they can do to prevent that from happening! Did you have confidence in what the consultant was saying otherwise? At the bridge i found sometimes the nurses gave different opinions, but they always rang back at the end of the day after having conferred with a consultant and gave a definitive response. I did have one nurse who stabbed around at my veins repeatedly and i ended up really sore. i think all your emotions and responses are so heightened during it all anyway that it really helps to have extra reassurance about things. If you've still got any questions, it might be worth giving them a call tomorrow to one of the nurses and chatting it through?

To be honest since my GP referred me which is now about 5 weeks ago i haven't heard diddly squat from them - i've tried ringing a number of times and no-one seems to answer the phone, and i've left messages and no-one's got back to me. So not very impressed so far! At least at the Bridge you couldn't fault their service. I think at the moment I'm distracted anyway as i'm doing a 'super ovluation' round and waiting for my immune test results, and probably need a few months break anyway before another ivf.

Have you been going to acupuncture? x

missbrightside Wed 02-May-12 21:59:32

Hello. No, haven't quite got round to booking any accupuncture ..... ! I did have a couple of sessions a while ago now but am not particularly fond of things that involve 'relaxing' and didn't really give it a fair go !!! I did intend to book some sessions leading up to IVF but lo and behold I haven't managed to get round to it yet (where does the time go to ??!!) I sort of think I should give it a go (based on lots of good reports on here !) but also sort of think that I'm going a bit bonkers in wanting to pursue everything and a line has to be drawn somewhere ........ !

Anyhow, will keep my fingers crossed for your immune results.

Take care xx

CareBear1 Wed 02-May-12 22:45:33

I've pm'd you the detail of my acu lady just in case you're interested. x

randomimposter Thu 03-May-12 12:22:50

hello - only just seen this.

FWIW I have had recurrent MC testing at the Agora, they were a bit slack on the admin side (invoicing errors and some incorrect details registered). And I did have to repeat a blood teat that got messed up (not sure if them or the lab).

BUT I know several women who have had successful pregnancies after IVF and ICSI treatments there.

I hope you both get the results you are after. I know of a great female acupuncturist (Brighton based) who specialises in fertility. Can PM details if anyone wants them.

missbrightside Thu 03-May-12 13:57:34

Thanks for taking the time to post Jollster ! It's good to hear something more positive about them.

Carebear has very kindly given details of an accupuncture lady - but if it's not too much trouble perhaps I could have details of yours too. Thank you in advance.

xx

MrsSifB Mon 12-Nov-12 11:43:32

Hi All

I wonder if anyone can give me an idea of timescales from referral through to treatment starting at the agora clinic? We were referred to our local fertility service incorrectly by our GP on 24th September and are still waiting for our appointment at the end of the month, although I have been told that when we get his appointment with the local service we wil be referred straight to Agora. We are not sure yet but think it is most likely we will be referred for ICSI treatment. If anyone has information of the process that the could share too that would be great.

I would be really grateful for any help. Many thanks and I hope all of your treatments went well there earlier this year. xx

missbrightside Tue 13-Nov-12 23:09:39

Hello MrsSB

Assuming you are based in East Sussex then our timeline went a bit like this :

Referred by GP to the Royal Sussex for further investigations (AMH reading, HSG, scan) in about October 2011. Had an initial consultation at the Royal Sussex in November 2011 and all investigations were completed by January 2012. Referred by the Royal Sussex to the Agora in February 2012 and had first consultation with them around 6 weeks later. Started treatment (IVF) in May 2012.

All the best of luck to you xx

Daisrais Sat 25-Mar-17 07:41:58

Know this is a really old thread but am about to be referred and have to choose between Agora or Eastbourne. Have chosen Agora, hoping that was the right decision! X

Madgwick Sun 26-Mar-17 09:28:45

Hi Daisrais,

Ok, this is a bit of a long reply but I thought some of my experience my be useful. I'm at the Agora at the moment. We were referred via West Sussex. Been through two fresh cycles of ICSI with them plus one failed frozen transfer in between as the embryo didn't survive thawing. We got our bfp from the second fresh round and I'm just over 5 wks pg!
I can't fault them on the actual surgical bits of egg collection and embryo transfer and for my second fresh cycle they did try altering doses to get better results. During the stimming injections they seem quite good at monitoring closely with scans and blood tests. I have PCOS so they were a bit worried about overreacting to the meds.

What I haven't liked is that the information that the nurses give you can be a bit patchy at times. I found that I had to check things a lot and write things down but that might just be me....lol. I found the information they gave me at the beginning was quite often missing bits which would have made life easier. Like the fact that the Gonal-F and Menopur can be left out of the fridge once you start injecting them! (This was explained on the second round and would have saved lots of faffing getting them out early to warm up before injecting).

Our first transferred failed and I bled a few days before the test date. I was on the progesterone pessaries (all I can say is buy lots of panty liners). On the second transfer I queried whether my progesterone levels had been high enough due to the early bleed but they wouldn't do any tests to check. They did offer progesterone injections for this cycle and they eventually offered me Lubion which you can inject easily yourself rather than the Gestone injections which go into muscle. I think the pessaries are ok for many people but I got the impression that they try them first and if there is a problem, they'll then look at injections.
Although I'm still worried about Progesterone levels (now 5wks pg) and will try to get more information from them.

We had 14 eggs collected on our last round, 10 fertilised and we waited until they were 5 day blastocysts. On transfer day we were a bit shocked to find out that we only had one average grade embryo (which we had transferred) and one slightly lesser grade that they decided wouldn't survive being frozen. Of the other 8 we never really got a straight answer other than one had a possible genetic abnormality so they discarded it. They seemed to suggest that the other 7 hadn't developed well enough to be viable but it was all so quick I still don't feel they took enough time to explain everything. Although you could argue that I should have made them write it all down as my head wasn't really focussed enough to take it all in. So if there is something you don't feel happy about make sure you push the point with them until you are happy they've answered you.

It can sometimes be difficult to speak to a Nurse. It often goes through to answerphone but they do ring you back mostly by the end of that day.

I'm sorry this is such a mix of good and not so great. I think clinically they are very good and I felt the egg collection process was faultless both times. Just ask lots and lots of questions and don't assume or let them assume anything. Sending you lots of luck and best wishes for your treatment xxx

Daisrais Mon 27-Mar-17 20:34:15

Madgwick thank you so so much for replying I really appreciate it! The info is great, I had no idea what to expect so have been trying to read up as much as possible. Had all of the tests and the results came back as unexplained fertility, I've been seeing DR kelada at the hospital and when he mentioned IVF I just cried. Couldn't imagine it actually coming to this. Don't feel like I want to tell anyone so just keeping it between husband and I for now.
Thank you again and congratulations!! Sending lots of positive baby wishes your way. X

Madgwick Mon 27-Mar-17 21:26:08

Awww thank you, I wish you lots of luck xx.

I felt the same. We kept hoping the Clomid would work. We were really rubbish at reading up in advance about IVF. I'm not sure I even realised I'd have to do injections for the stimming drugs. Once you get the first one out of the way it isn't too bad. The needles are really small and they write you out a sheet with all the doses. I found it helped to cross each one off when I had done them.

See how you feel once you get further into the treatment but I found it really helped that close family and friends knew what we were going through. I won't sugar coat it, it can be tough at times and the support is good but equally there were moments where I felt really proud of what we were coping with too (especially after the first injection).

Keep strong xx

Daisrais Tue 28-Mar-17 07:23:22

Thank you xx

Sorry one more question are there lots of appointments? Does it affect work etc with the amount of time you are in and out of clinic? Know that's a minor factor in it but just keep thinking of all of these things! X

Madgwick Tue 28-Mar-17 07:58:54

There do seem to be lots of appointments available. We thought after referral that we were booked in quite quickly. There are some early appointments (they open at 8:30) but I have ended up booking quite a lot of medical appointment leave from work but so far they have been very understanding. It didn't help for us that the clinic was a forty minute drive away but I think for most of the visits we were in and out within an hour. Monday mornings always seemed really busy. The worst week for disruption is towards the end of the injections in the run up to egg collection. You'll have about four or five scans and blood tests and there is a week or so where you might go Fri/Mon/Wed/Fri and then possibly back again on the Monday while hormone and follicle development is monitored and egg collection day decided. The egg collection is done really well with an anesthetist but you can't drive for twenty four hours after. I felt ok the next day the first time around but they only collected five. The second time there were fourteen and I was quite achy for a few days after and needed to work from home for two days. Embryo transfer isn't any worse than a smear test and your Husband can go in and sit with you during the transfer. I booked a few days holiday after transfer to rest and generally recover from the manic-ness of it all xx

millievt Fri 21-Apr-17 10:08:25

Hi there, hope it's OK to join this discussion. We've just been referred by Doctor Kelada and have chosen the Agora clinic too. I wondered if you could give a brief timeline from your referral to treatment, Madgewick? I'm worried that I won't be able to take the time off work that I'll need to. Are they flexible with when to start treatment? I feel totally unprepared for all this, have literally just been referred (20th April) and haven't read enough on IVF and what it will entail. Plan to start reading now! Thank for any help or advice you can offer xx

Daisrais Fri 21-Apr-17 14:09:02

Hi,

Taking time off work really worries me too! Did you accept the referral straight away millievt? He said we could go back in 2 months (1 month now) which I said ok to but now worrying we've just slowed ourselves down.

How is everything with you Madgwick?
xxx

millievt Fri 21-Apr-17 15:59:40

Hi Daisrais,

Yes we accepted the IVF straight away as he said that was the only option other than continue to try so just thought we'd go for it, but I totally understand wanting to wait for a bit and be sure about it - that sounds sensible! I'm worried about the time off I'll need but hope that work will be understanding - although I don't really want to tell them anything about this treatment! Xx

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