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Create fertility/ natural IVF - any experiences or success stories?

(48 Posts)
closephine85 Wed 30-Dec-15 07:04:28

Does anyone have any experiences with create fertility in London? We are looking at having Ivf early next year and after quite a bit of research I'm keen to go the natural route. There are no known issues with me, however DH has quite low numbers so I'm liking the idea of natural Ivf with icsi. Has anyone done this and had success?

It doesn't have to be create - open to suggestions of other clinics but I think it would have to be somewhere willing to do natural Ivf with icsi.

Thanks (aware I'm turning into a bit of a serial thread creator on here but it's the only place I get proper advice!)

Chattycat78 Wed 30-Dec-15 07:46:52

To be honest I think natural ivf is designed for people with low ovarian reserve. If you don't have that, I'd be tempted to do regular ivf as it will give you a better chance. I think you'd only get one egg each time with natural ivf, but you could get loads with normal ivf, giving you a better chance that one would be a healthy embryo.

closephine85 Wed 30-Dec-15 09:01:41

Thanks for your response but I like the idea of no (or less) drugs. I am only 30 so time is still on our side and the natural option is cheaper too. I'd like to give it at least one shot before going down the stimulated route.

Everhopeful76 Wed 30-Dec-15 09:28:27

I was intending going with Create as I have a low ovarian reserve..... I preferred the idea of more natural IVF and was impressed with the presentation they gave at their open day..... it was very compelling, as they put forward the argument of nearly every other clinic artificially forcing an egg to the front of the race by using lots of FSH drugs, when it would never had made it otherwise, hence the naturally selected egg would be best.

However I found the Consultant I saw (on 2 occasions) really pushy and rude in trying to make me panic buy 3 cycles there and then suggesting that I had the best chance of success with that. I subsequently spoke to others who had been there who had been utterly frustrated with the amount of cancellations of treatment and with my particular set of problems/difficult fertility, I found later that my chance of success for an individual cycle to be about 8.8% so hence why they would dissuade you from ever going for that. I realise your circumstances are different and they may also suggest something very different

Also found the reception staff disorganised unwelcoming and at times off hand. My personal perception of it all, but everyone has a different feel. I would advise to definitely research other clinics as well who offer the same treatment and get a feel by going to their open days etc
Hope that helps

closephine85 Wed 30-Dec-15 10:06:05

Thank everhopeful that's all good to know and sorry it didn't work out for you there. I don't suppose you have looked into any other clinics that offer natural Ivf? I believe zita west do but they seem much more expensive.

We live offshore so will have to fly in for treatment, I don't like the sound of cancellations as we would waste valuable money on flights!

bananafish81 Thu 31-Dec-15 00:55:00

Hi closephine I don’t personally have experience of having IVF with Create (yet), but am on a board for women with low AMH where a lot of women have cycled with Create. I have low ovarian reserve, so considered mild / natural cycle IVF, so have done a fair amount of research - and hear a lot of first hand experiences from the women on my Fertility Friends group.

It struck me that their big USP of ‘natural IVF’ was perhaps a bit misleading - as from what these women described, their experience at Create wasn’t much different to other clinics

On the Create website they say

“Our approach to IVF is often described by our patients as much more easy and less stressful than conventional IVF. There are fewer fertility drugs, fewer stressful injections, fewer side-effects and therefore reduced stress. It also means that the length of treatment can be reduced from 4-6 weeks to only 2 weeks, so that it interferes less with your day-to-day life.”

Which strikes me as a little disingenous because in reality:

- the length of treatment isn’t any different to a conventional IVF short protocol in any other clinic - all they’re saying is that they don’t offer long protocol.

- they seem to have a fairly loose definition of ‘mild’ stims - several women mentioned their ‘mild’ cycles involved pretty hefty doses of stims - that even in ‘conventional’ IVF would be considered high doses. Any decent clinic tailors the dose of drugs to the patient anyway — anyone who’s at risk of hyper stimulation (e.g. who have PCOS) will be put on a very low dose as a matter of course.

- a Create cycle seems to involve the same level of monitoring & no of scans / bloods as a typical ‘conventional’ IVF cycle (unless you’re at a clinic like ARGC). Even on a natural modified cycle, you still have to come in for 2-3 tracking scans - so I’m not sure what makes a Create cycle any easier or less stressful or time consuming than having treatment anywhere else.

For me personally, I don’t feel there’s any real benefit of natural IVF - except in very specific circumstances (such as if you have v low ovarian reserve, which I do - so I may well end up trying natural IVF if I have no joy with my upcoming conventional IVF cycle).

Success rates per cycle are much much lower for natural IVF, because you’re only retrieving a couple of eggs. Which is why they sell 3-cycle packages - because on average it takes 3 natural IVF cycles to achieve the success rates of a ‘conventional’ cycle.

I personally would find natural IVF much tougher going than conventional IVF. Most of the women on my forum did their 3-cycle package over a 6-month period - so that was 6 weeks of monitoring in total, and 3 invasive procedures under sedation. I didn’t find the drugs hard going in the slightest - for me it was the cycle itself that was way more stressful.

That’s not to say that you should or shouldn’t go with Create - if you want a natural (or natural modified) cycle then they may be a great option! I realise this prob comes across like I’m massively down on natural IVF - it’s not intended to be. I just found that the more and more I researched it, the reality of the experience seemed to be somewhat at odds with the snazzy sales pitch, and think it’s important for us all to be able to make properly informed decisions

Phew that was an epic post!! Gosh, sorry for massive essay xxx

bananafish81 Thu 31-Dec-15 01:01:59

NB also on the 'cheaper' point - most of what I've read seems to say that although the cost per CYCLE is cheaper for natural IVF, the actual cost per BABY is generally roughly the same as conventional IVF...

bananafish81 Thu 31-Dec-15 01:15:38

Sorry, one final point then I'll shut up! I found stims a breeze - and I was on a massive dose; the drug I found most gruelling is progesterone, which for me was like full on PMT. As far as I'm aware, although natural (or nat modified) involves fewer drugs, this means lower (or no) stims or down reg drugs - I think you still have to have progesterone. So for me, the one drug I'd have happily had less of, you can't escape!!!

outputgap Thu 31-Dec-15 01:18:19

I cycled twice at Create and can only strongly support what Banana said. They don't offer long protocol, which if you're 30 and have fairly normal ovarian reserve, should be your protocol of choice. The dose of stimulation drugs which they were going to give me for my 3rd cycle was the same as the Lister gave me, so there was nothing mild about it all all. Their success rates, outside the low ovarian reserve area, are piss poor compared to places like the Lister, ARGC etc.

A lovely counsellor at Zita West told me that in her view it was much better for your health to do a proper cycle somewhere like ARGC than many many cycles somewhere like Create. It's certainly much better for your mental well being to go somewhere with ARGC success rates!

OP, check out the success rates for your age group at some other clinics and compare with Create at
guide.hfea.gov.uk/guide/HeadlineData.aspx?code=299&s=g&&gv=No%20data%20value&nav=2&rate=i&rate_sub=FSO

outputgap Thu 31-Dec-15 01:27:31

One of my friends did natural cycle at CRGH, but I'm not sure if they'd recommend it for you, given you don't have low ovarian reserve. There are mixed views about them on here. Great success rates though.

closephine85 Thu 31-Dec-15 07:59:35

Hmm thanks ladies, you've given me a lot of food for thought.

Bannafish - I don't suppose you have the link to the thread on fertility friends? I tried to find it on there but I find the forum a bit confusing to navigate.

Output - did either of your cycles or your friends cycle result in pregnancy?

Because it is less money for one cycle and our odds are good, we had been thinking of trying our luck with just one go at create because it would mean not breaking the bank and if it were successful - amazing. If not, we would have lost out, but not so much that we couldn't then move on to somewhere like lister and give it another try. Money is tight, we could fund one cycle at create ourselves and then we'd have to get a loan (either from family or bank, not sure yet as not gone far enough into exploring the options). Tough decisions ahead.

closephine85 Thu 31-Dec-15 08:01:27

Just re-read and I think that makes it sounds like I'm only interested in Create because it's cheaper. That's not the case. I have terrible health anxiety and the thought of all the drugs that go with conventional Ivf sends my anxiety into orbit!

MaybeDoctor Thu 31-Dec-15 08:13:23

Signing in. I was looking at Create having lost faith in our previous clinic.

I have v high AMH for my age group. Would that make me more or less suitable for natural cycle IVF?

eurochick Thu 31-Dec-15 08:32:00

We went with Create. I had 4 cycles there (2 natural, 2 mild) to get our baby (I also miscarried from our first cycle). I went down that route because I hated the idea of loads of drugs, plus we started a long protocol NHS cycle and the downregging drugs had an awful effect on me (the Pill does the same, so it wasn't a huge surprise) - we walked away from that cycle and looked for a more natural alternative.

Create certainly has its faults but it was right for us. I liked the more relaxed approach. The intensity of somewhere like ARGC would have sent my stress levels through the roof. I had no hard sell to buy a three cycle package at all. However I do recall them coming round after our first cycle and recommending icsi (never mentioned before) as the sperm sample wasn't as good as expected. I was quite annoyed about that as I was still groggy from egg collection and I felt like it was sprung on us to pay for something else when we were particularly vulnerable. Anyway, we refused icsi and I did get pg (although miscarried).

We were planning to move to another clinic after the third cycle when at the last minute I thought about squeezing in one last cycle at Create before Christmas. That cycle worked out.

We were unexplained, btw.

Good luck with whatever you decide.

outputgap Thu 31-Dec-15 09:36:53

Banana, I got pregnant at the Lister and not at Create. My friend got pregnant first time at CRGH. I have another friend who did three or four cycles at Create unsuccessfully and then went to ARGC and got pregnant first time there. She was too polite to tell me to stop wasting my time but she was relieved when I moved clinic!

I was also very attracted by the low drugs thing, but for me it was a red herring. Going to the Lister was actually much less anxiety provoking because it felt like a professional, ordered and proper place! Egg collection was much better for me than being in some weird converted office with handwritten notices all over the wall. And similarly to Banana, I had no problem with any of the drugs. I had a bit of bloating at the very end of stims, but nothing else. No headaches, no crazy hormones, nothing.

closephine85 Thu 31-Dec-15 13:26:35

Thanks for all these replies.

Maybe I'm afraid I don't know enough about it to answer your question, perhaps someone else can. I am 30 and my amh is 16.6 which appears to be at the lower end of the satisfactory range.

Eurochick - thanks for your reply, good to hear something positive as I've definitely not ruled them out yet. Great to hear you had success! Would you mind me asking how much you paid for the three cycles and then for the individual successful one? Trying to work out if it would be better to try one cycle or to go for the three if we went with them. I was slightly confused by their prices for the three cycles as they said it only includes one egg transfer? But then I didn't get a straight answer about the separate cost of an egg transfer.

Output thanks also - I've had a couple of emails with lister. I think we may book a consultation with both in the new year and decide for sure based on how they go. How much did you pay for one cycle at lister if you don't mind me asking?

outputgap Thu 31-Dec-15 14:00:58

I can't actually remember how much it was at the Lister but they publish their price list very clearly on their website. I know by the time I'd arsed around at Create and done one (successful) cycle at the Lister I'd spent around £18k. It would obviously have been cheaper to go to the Lister from the start...

I will, of course, be sending the resulting child out to t'mines or on several newspaper rounds to recoup the costs.

Everhopeful76 Thu 31-Dec-15 17:15:21

Hi Closephine, am afraid I was only aware of the clinics that have been mentioned in other posts on this thread. I believe there are not many clinics that offer natural ivf, if they offer anything else its still the slight modified cycle. I also found with Create that the costs were completely misleading. You think you re getting a good deal, obviously the drugs are on top in all cases, but then so too were the many many scans and blood tests needed to monitor cycles naturally so it bumped the costs up no end.

I am going with a clinic in Bristol that gives high stimms and she doesn't believe in natural ivf. She reckons its my best chance so am going to do just 1 round and see how I respond and go from there. For me I find this Consultant far more holistic and less impersonal but I am paying a fee to ensure most of my appts are with her - it is also attached to the Bristol NHS fertility unit, so therefore I know I d get good care from the hospital when I have EC and transfers. Its a bit a of a hassle in one way because I no longer live in Bristol but I didn't want to change all my Drs over to where I am currently living due to ongoing health difficulties with endometriosis. I understand you would have same problem with being overseas, its kind of a commitment to being over here for 3 or 4 weeks at a time really if natural ivf, less so with conventional ivf
If this fails I ll probably end up going with a London or Leicester clinic
Good luck, and happy new year!!

eurochick Thu 31-Dec-15 19:47:54

We didn't buy a package of three cycles. We paid for each cycle individually. It was whatever the list price was plus the drugs. And for the 4th cycle I had an endometrial scratch and the embryoscope, which were extra. Our cycles were between January and December 2013 so the prices have probably changed a bit anyway.

I'm a bit puzzled by the "egg collection in an office" reference above. Mine were all in a proper medical suite - it looked like a small theatre or consulting room. My facilities complaint would be around the recovery room. It was very cramped and you were only separated by curtains so you could hear some quite tricky or personal conversations between the Drs and other patients. I also remember getting ragey when I was still fasting waiting for my egg collection and the woman in the next cubicle was making loud yummy noises about the biscuits she was eating. I had a headache from fasting and felt dreadful. I could have punched her!

It definitely has its pros and cons. It has its faults but it was right for me.

eurochick Thu 31-Dec-15 19:52:24

I don't think you'd need to be here for 3-4 weeks if your cycles are fairly regular. My scans usually started on day 6 and I had them every other day until I reached trigger size. I think I had 3 or 4 per cycle. Some Drs also wanted blood tests - it depended on who you saw. Then EC 36hrs after trigger. Then transfer on day 2-3 (going to blasto is unlikely with natural IVF). So maybe 2 weeks?

outputgap Thu 31-Dec-15 19:58:41

Eurochick, my cycles were a few years ago now, so hopefully there are nicer facilities. Is it near Wimbledon still? Recovery was in chairs rather than beds, and as you say, with just curtains between.

sparechange Thu 31-Dec-15 20:08:21

I've had 2 collection rounds and 5 frozen transfers with Create, roughly half and half between their Wimbledon and St Paul's clinic.
Like you, we had male factor issues, so needed ICSI, and like you, i did lots of research on clinics before deciding on Create. Our second choice was Lister, but I heard terrible things about their admin side.

Of the 5 embryo transfers, I have had 2 pregnancies, so slightly better than their stated stats for my age, but I sadly miscarried both - nothing to do with the IVF, and both babies were chromosomally-normal, which is significant...

I wouldn't get too focused on a natural cycle when mild stimulation might suit you better. Natural cycle is great for women with low ovarian reserve, who can't respond to stimulation, but there is really nothing to be feared by a mild stimulation round.

There are definitely other clinics copying the Create mild stim protocols now, but I think the others offer it as one of a number of options. Where as Create believes that a cycle that aims to collect 10+ eggs is fundamentally flawed. I'm therefore wary of the other clinics who offer mild stim alongside high stim options.

The rationale for only aiming for 4-8 eggs is that by 30, around 1 in 4 eggs in the ovaries are chromosomally abbormal and therefore unable to produce a normal pregnancy.
It is believed the body is good at selecting the normal ones and will prioritise those for ovulation but when you are given high dose stims, the body doesn't get a chance to select the good ones, and any old crap gets collected alongside the good ones.
With mild stims, your body still prioritises the good quality eggs...

The good points - All the scans are done by a consultant and not a nurse, and you see the same one or two docs for the whole cycle so get great continuity of care.
When the rounds didn't work, we had real compassion and empathy in the follow up appointments and a clear action plan for the next round. Prof Campbell and Prof Nargund were always on hand for their opinion as well.

Their embryologists are world class. This is often overlooked, but especially when you will have ICSI, it is crucial. Look at the biography of Martin on their page... We had a lot of confidence in him and his team, as well as the consultants.

The bad: the admin is disorganised and appointments run late. I was juggling my treatment around work so it was frustrating to be kept waiting by half an hour when I was having scans on my lunch break, but i haven't seen a review of any clinic where this isn't flagged as a problem.

Aware that this is a huge tome so feel free to PM me if you have any other questions...

bananafish81 Fri 01-Jan-16 12:57:46

No problem to dig out the FF links for you closephine, although as they’re in the section for women with diminished ovarian reserve, I’m not sure how relevant they’ll be if you don’t have low AMH - there are some Create cycle buddies threads in the London section which might be more useful for you?

Can totally understand anxiety about drugs, the only thing I can say is that for me on a short protocol, the drugs were a walk in the park. This time I’m doing long protocol because of lining issues last time, and the down regging drugs have made me a bit hormonal - but nothing massive.

But that’s a protocol thing - it’s not a conventional vs natural IVF thing. Although long protocol tends to be the best first line option for most women, it’s perfectly possible to have ‘conventional’ IVF without down regulating or going on the pill.

Worth also noting that from what I can tell (eurochick will be much better placed to advise however!) most natural cycles at Create seem to be natural modified - so you’re still taking the same drugs as on a conventional short protocol, you’re just taking them at a lower dose and for fewer days

From what the ladies I’ve spoken to who cycled at Create described, their mild cycles were pretty much identical to a standard short protocol, except that some stimmed with a few days of Clomid before adding in FSH injections. And as I mentioned before, these doses can often be pretty high!

They all seem generally happy with their experiences of Create from what I can tell - especially the lady who got her BFP a few weeks ago! (3 cycle package - 2 banking cycles and one transfer on the 3rd cycle)

That said I was pretty horrified by the account a MN poster on another thread gave of her cycle at Create — obv this is only one person’s POV and I’m only reporting this second hand, so take it with a pinch of salt.

She had PCOS and liked their promise that their mild approach was gentler and minimised the risk of OHSS. Except that they massively over-stimmed her, refused to drop the dose or coast her (despite her begging them to because she was in so much discomfort and feeling so unwell). She ended up hyper stimulating and had to freeze-all because a fresh transfer would have been too dangerous, because of the risk it’d trigger full blown OHSS.

From what she described, her frozen transfer cycle a few months later sounded really stressful. She had a natural FET, but (she claims) they insisted there was no need to scan her, and told her to use OPKs and call them when she had her surge. She claims she repeatedly told them that OPKs don’t work for her because of her PCOS, but they kept insisting she didn’t need a scan and just to use OPKs. I remember being appalled when she posted in tears about calling reception begging to speak to a Dr, as she was terrified of missing her surge and was desperate to book in for a scan - but from what she said, was basically fobbed off and told to stop bothering them. She did eventually manage to catch her surge and had her transfer, but the whole experience sounded unnecessarily stressful and really quite unkind. And this wasn’t an NHS cycle - she was paying for this!!

In any clinic there are always going to be individuals who have poor experiences, so by no means saying this is representative. But to end up hyper stimulating at the ‘gentle, low drugs’ clinic seemed pretty appalling. By comparison, a friend of mine - who also has PCOS - recently cycled with NHS Hammersmith, and her supposedly ‘conventional’ IVF cycle seemed a hell of a lot gentler than the ‘mild’ cycle this MN poster described. My friend was started on a much lower dose of stims, she was monitored incredibly closely and her doses were dropped accordingly (and coasted for her few days until her oestrogen levels fell), to make absolutely sure she didn’t hyper stimulate. Needless to say, she sailed through without a hitch, felt great - and very happily got her BFP 9 days after her fresh transfer.

As I say, these are two isolated examples, so wouldn’t read too much into them. My very longwinded point is, I guess, that the notion of ’conventional IVF’ vs ‘create IVF’ seems to be somewhat of a false dichotomy…

closephine85 Fri 01-Jan-16 19:19:17

Thanks everyone, some really in depth replies here so thank you! I'm a bit jaded after a late night last night so struggling to digest all the information properly today. I'll have a proper read tomorrow and get back to you all with any questions I might have. Thanks again smile

basejump Sat 02-Jan-16 15:24:42

Hi, I had a "modified natural" cycle then a "mild" cycle at Create in 2012. On the modified natural cycle I only had one egg which they couldn't access for egg collection, (apparently my ovary was in an awkward position) so it was converted to an IUI cycle which didn't work.

On the "mild" cycle I had pretty much the same amount of stimulating drugs as I had at a subsequent 'normal' cycle at the Lister in 2013, so I'm not really sure what was "mild" about it.

Overall I wasn't that impressed with Create. The nurses were lovely but I think the lab at the Lister is better (this is the bit that really matters in my view) and it was the furthest we ever got (2 day 5 blasts and a 6 week pregnancy).

Best of luck with whatever you decide.

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