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IVF - how to chose a clinic

(9 Posts)
MrsFogi Thu 07-Apr-05 16:17:23

Can anyone suggest what questions to ask when trying to chose a clinic for IVF (in London)?
+ can someone give me an idiot's guide about the timetable of events after rocking up for your appointment with the clinic
+ last question, can you usually get an appointment in a clinic fairly soon after booking or are they always booked up ages in advance?

oatcake Thu 07-Apr-05 16:56:41

no personal experience, but friend recently gave birth to a healthy daughter after her first attempt at IVF with.... can't remember but will find out. I don't think it was actually in London, but it was definitely home counties.

She chose that clinic as they had the highest success rate. But, as part of the regime, she had to drink at least 2 pints of milk a day. The staff had no idea why this helped women conceive either the first or second time, but they had the good results to go on. She could also not drink tea and coffee - only decaf coffee.

sorrel Thu 07-Apr-05 16:59:42

Hi mrs fogi, sorry can't help with the London angle but here's the usual run of events. A lot depends on whether you are paying or NHS- I have done both, and with paid treatment it usually just starts sooner after initial consultation ( this is when they usually ask for semen sample and AIDS test, also they may scan you): Then it usually goes like this:
you ring up on first day of your period and this is the day they start counting from.
Attend clinic soon after to pick up your meds. At this point you may be asked to fill in welfare of the child legal forms/form about embryo freezing and also recieve a detailed treatment schedule and teach you how to do the injections.
Start sniffing or injecting down regulatory hormone eg synarel Do this twice a day for about 3weeks( hot flushes and mood swings possible)
Then about 10-13 days of hormone injections (eg Puregon) that are designed to make you produce eggs.
Visit clinic for series of scans to check size of follicles . get confirmation of date to harvest eggs and take final egg ripening injection.( exactly 36 hours befor egg collection)
egg collection day( sore! so take the anaesthetic!!!)
day after phone embryologist to hear whether it has worked( or NOt)
next day 2-3 days after egg coleection, if all going right, embryo transfer.
THE TWO WEEK WAIT ( of hell)
Preg test.
hope this is helpful. Things which made me move to a different clinic inlude:
impossible to park so stress levels through the roof!
felt like i was on a converyor belt- never saw the same consultant twice.
did'nt feel my concerns were taken seriously by nurses( made to feel like hysteric)
general feeling of hopelessness about the place.
Have now found lovely clinic with free parking( sounds stupid , but the hormones can make you sweat the small stuff)
Lovely compassionate able to listen consultant (who has done IVF herself)
Friendly helpful communicative unflapable staff who were brilliant when huge cheque bounced!( entirely our fault)
general air of hope about the place and a collective will for everyone to succeed.
Able to give excellent advice and super support via outreach councellor( free)Wishing you the very best of Luck and lots of babydust> see TTC threads on here.
x

foxinsocks Thu 07-Apr-05 17:23:08

I have not had IVF myself but know 2 people who have been to Hammersmith hospital (privately) and both were happy with their treatment there.

I was told (by one of the people) that if you are going privately, they tend to see you fairly quickly. I suppose if that's an important consideration for you, you could always add that in to your criteria when trying to choose.

oatcake Fri 08-Apr-05 15:53:49

Saw friend whose initial IVF was successful, earlier, and she went to the Nuffield in Woking.

ladymuck Fri 08-Apr-05 16:09:19

Success rates, and better still recent success rates - a change in embryologist can make a huge difference. The HFEA stuff is way out of date, but is as good a starting place as any. But do phone round a few hospitals to get their latest brochures. The difference in rates can be staggering!

If you're just starting off with IVF and are "plain vanilla" then you have a reasonable selection of clinics. As the process goes forward you may start getting fussier (eg suspected antibody issues, repeated m/cs etc), and you may wish to hone down to one or two specific consultants, but frankly it is a small world and if you current consultant suspects a more complex issue they will often suggest that you go to the most appropriate clinic anyway - must say this took me aback as I assumed that they were all in competition with each other!

You will have a lot of visits so make sure that you can get to the place easily.

You should have an initial consultation ebfore starting down the emds regime etc. Take this opportunity to ask as much as you want. Do check whether you would see the same person throughout or not if that is important to you. I went to the Lister which can be a bit of a conveyor belt (typically 10+ women having egg collection each day), but overall a great team with excellent results (at least they were in 2000 and 2002!).

Price may also be a factor. I think that in the £/baby scale Kings came out near the top, but then again how many attempts do you want overall?

mancmum Fri 08-Apr-05 18:32:59

argc is meant to be top dog in london -- but there is a 10 week waiting list to be seen....

Portree Fri 08-Apr-05 21:22:04

The nature of your infertility is a factor too. Eg, if you have severe male factor (MF) then some clinics are better and more experienced than others. This was the driving force behind our selection of clinic as it was recommended by DH's urandrologist. We went to UCH and got lucky first go. At the time UCH were ranked no 2 after ARGC in the take home baby rate and the Lister no 3. ARGC would be a good choice if you have identified or wish to be tested for immune problems as they do IVIG.

Lady Muck gives really good advice about checking clinics recent success rates - many are now publishing their results on their websites as the HFEA stats are so out of date. But bear in mind that the stats are affected by the % of women in the different age groups and how many 3 embryo transfers have been carried out (3 now only poss if >40), etc.

Also consider the location of the clinic as you will have to make almost daily trips for bloods and scans once you start stimming.

If you go to one of the top clincis in London you are looking at about 40% chance of live birth per cycle started ..... much higher than the old fashioned way!

If you haven't found any other bulletin boards then ivfconnections.com is good and has a good info section on the process (it's a Canadian based site so some of the drugs used have different names). Fertilityfriends.co.uk is also very active and supportive. Good luck.

MrsFogi Mon 11-Apr-05 13:33:16

Thanks for all the really helpful advice.

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