ARGC and CRGH(31 Posts)
Having just had our first failed cycle of IVF with the NHS we are looking for a new clinic. We're looking into ARGC and CRGH and I was wondering if any of you have used them and what your thoughts were?
We've had a mini consultation with CRGH and they sent us the price list. It says just over £8k for basic IVF and just over £9k for ICSI - plus extras. I'm keen to know if anyone has had experience of these 'extras' as we're trying to work out how much we can save.
Any general experiences of either clinic you'd care to share are most welcome - thanks in advance.
Great experience of ARGC. It's a total hardcore boot camp, almost impossible to work at the same time, esp if you live out of London.
The attention to detail is remarkable. Out of the 7 women I met whilst cycling, 3 of us got pg the first round (despite multiple tries elsewhere) and one more got pg on her 2nd round. Beware - 3/4 of us are having twins....
It cost us £12-13 k and that was without immune treatment and my GP taking on post pregnancy medication and blood testing costs.
The most expensive round of ivf is the one that doesn't work...
I had pretty miserable NHS treatment at Homerton and then went on to CRGH as a private patient. It's really hard to judge how much to budget. Even with low dose stims my first fresh IVF there was over £9k when all the extra blood tests and pre-cycle tests were added in. It worked first time there though so no complaints.
Second fresh cycle there last year ended up costing nearer £12k for a bunch of reasons. They recommended ICSI based on my previous fertilisation rate them I had some expensive delays in starting due to them wanting hormone profile/lining etc to be perfect. Then when we did cycle they gave me OHSS so I needed to freeze all and have a FET couple of months later. The actual FET was free because of their possible negligence in giving me OHSS but all the associated blood tests and monitoring were charged which I hadn't budgeted for. So we needed to find a lot of extra unbudgeted funds. This was despite doing as much of the pre-cycle testing through GP for free. Ouch!
I really can't complain though as both cycles have resulted in successful pregnancies and at 38 with a complicated fertility history my chances weren't great.
It was a total bootcamp though with daily blood tests during the stims phases and scans every other day. Appointments were never quick in and out jobs as they always seemed overbooked. Also, I know it's all about success rates but I felt a distinct lack of softer skills/ supportive caring attitudes there in this more recent cycle. The staff just seemed overworked to breaking point and quite blunt/snappy at times. But I've heard that ARGC is similar in this respect.
With CRGH what you are really paying for is the expertise of the embryologists who are world leaders
My treatment didn't include any immune system stuff either btw. That could have added ££££
Echo what Scooby has said about ARGC - they are utterly incredible but it's very hardcore. Am currently 27 weeks with an ARGC baby after 2 failed NHS cycles. They can seem chaotic - they never turn anyone away as far as I can tell (though are fusyy about when they let you cycle, bloods etc have to be all in line) so they are always crazily busy. I had about as much immune treatment as you can get - looks like that has been my main issue previously. It can get VERY expensive. I think we are at about £27,000 (yes, not a typo!!) for one cycle. I have to say I also found ARGC very very caring and lovely - not everyone does I don't think, but they were amazing with me and saying goodbye at my final (6th) IVIG last month was very emotional, sounds twee but got to know some of the nurses quite well and they were almost more like friends. Feel free to message me if you'd like to, or I can give more of my experience on this thread. Oh just to add, I've been lucky that my lovely GP has been prescribing my drugs since about 12 weeks - Clexane is standard protocol until about 34 weeks and is pricey, so we have probably saved another £2,000 ish there.
I'm at CRGH and currently waiting to find out if it worked. I am vomitous and spotty, which I hope are good signs...
It is expensive. I think on basic IVF price ARGC looks cheaper and some of their extras (eg hysteroscopy) are cheaper too but I think that in practice CRGH generally works out cheaper because they don't routinely do immunes. I think in total, excluding basic initial tests and hysteroscopy it has been around £9k or £10k. That includes assisted hatching (£600) blastocyst culture (£500) and freezing my 3 spares (another £500? I haven't checked). The hysteroscopy was £1800 but I didn't need a separate scratch or dummy transfer, and it was better than having a saline scan with "technical difficulties" (which had happened to me at a different clinic before) and needing to pay for a hysteroscopy on top! So all in I guess around £13k including initial tests (ORT, two consults, SA, DH's HIV test etc).
From what I've read ARGC's approach involves calling patients to tell them to take drug x in 22 minutes and to come in for a blood test in 3 hours. CRGH is more predictable - I had bloods and /or scans booked in for first thing in the morning during stimming and then they called me every afternoon to tell me what dose of the drugs to take that evening. It was tailored, but not unpredictable and I was able to fit it around s demanding client facing job.
I suspect both clinics use a lot of drugs. I was on two stimulation meds, growth hormone and cetrotide (so up to 4 jabs per day). I am now on clexane and progesterone which, if I get pregnant go on for weeks. Drugs have so far been about £2k of the above total, and I was on low doses to start. I got my drugs from Healthcare at Home with whom CRGH have a contract. I suspect you could save money on the drugs if you had time to shop around (and a nearby ASDA or Tesco pharmacy).
All of my appointments have run on time and calls returned promptly. I saw complaints about that side of things before I started and I was worried but they seem to have sorted any issues out.
Sorry to jump in but Betty what was your experience at the homerton?
Thanks for taking the time to respond - it's really helpful! Looks like we're going to have to reign in our spending and get saving.
Scooby that's a lot of twins! I noticed from their success rates they have a lot of multiple births. I'm under 35 and thought clinics weren't allowed to put more than one embryo back - do you know if this is the case with ARGC?
Betty that sounds like a lot of appointments - do you know if they do early morning/ evening?
Cheapredwine £27k for cycle - ouch! The dr we spoke to at CRGH asked if we were on Clexane with our NHS cycle (we weren't). Is this standard?
NotSpartacus fingers crossed for you. Was the hysteroscopy part of the routine tests? As we've already had a failed cycle it may be worth me asking for one.
I think they'd recommend a saline scan usually, which is cheaper, but a hysteroscopy is the "gold standard" for finding out what's happening inside the uterus and they can deal with any little polyps/ scar tissue etc and do an endometrial scratch at the same time. They do them under GA and give plenty of the good drugs, so it was pretty easy for me! I guess whether they would recommend it will depend on what investigations you've had before /whether anything else has happened in the meantime (I'd had a MC since my previous hysteroscopy). If you don't have a hysteroscopy and needed investigations I think you'd have a saline scan and scratch (and maybe a dummy embryo transfer ) separately.
OP just to jump in! I think ARGC have a lot of multiples because it's a clinic of last resort for many of the patients, hence they tend to be older and can have more than 1 put back. i had 3, of which 2 implanted but the smaller twin died at about 8 weeks. Clexane is completely standard at ARGC but definitely not everywhere and certainly not NHS, it's expensive AFAIK (Fragmin is cheaper) Hysteroscopy also standard and expected, takes 15 minutes, lovely sedation drugs! Main reasons being 1. To measure uterus so they know for transfer as they do it by sight / feel not using ultrasound 2. To make sure no fibroids, polyps etc 3. To do a scratch / cut to help implantation. I was drinking tea about 15 minutes after theatre and was out
and erm went shopping, on my own about 45 minutes later. Yes our cycle was insanely expensive, but the amount we spent is the exception, much of it was immune treatment and Chicago blood retests and most people don't need 6 IVIGs etc. But it will almost certainly be around the £12,000 mark, minimum, especially if it works.
Oh and I definitely don't recommend having a scratch fully conscious BTW, not painful as such just feels vile though maybe I was just unlucky. And sorry for not reading spartacus's reply on hysto before wading in!
Thanks so much for your replies! Really helpful in deciding our next steps and given us a good idea of how much we need to save.
We had our consultation with ARGC and I am confused and disappointed....they did not give us a treatment plan as I expected all they said is that they have to do the monitoring cycle and once they do that and the immunology blood test then they will decide what to do....i think the issue is thin lining and i asked what they would do for that and even then her answers were vague.
Is this how they were at your first consultation? We need to make a decision as to which of the 2 clinics to go with (ARGC or CAre London) and I was always convinced we would go with ARGC but now i Just dont know. the other clinic we saw gave us a detailed treatment plan and it covered thin lining etc
Myself and my husband had an appointment with CRGH on the 24th January 2017 with intention to discuss surrogacy.
Upon entering the room our previous 5 failed IVF attempts were discussed to gain background information on ourselves.
Our sole intention of this meeting was to discuss surrogacy which myself and husband stated numerous points throughout the consultation and when booking the appointment, this was totally dismissed.
The consultant advised we had to have PGS/ chromosome, numerous other testing on top of another round of IVF before we could contemplate surrogacy. We advised we were not willing to go ahead with further testing and did not have the £12,000 required. In addition to the funds I also advised I was not willing to put myself through the emotional rollercoaster again. This was dismissed and the hard sell on the above products continued. After this I stated I was not willing to proceed as I have seen the panorama programme with no evidence or backing behind these "investigations" and also done lots of research myself but according to CRGH we are unable to proceed with surrogacy until all these further tests are done, the only way to go ahead without these tests is if I had a medical issue such as born without a womb!
Since leaving the clinic I have called numerous surrogacy agencies who have advised the above is incorrect and I can go through surrogacy at any point I feel ready.
The clinic made myself and husband feel very vulnerable in the consultation (which I burst into tears) and I came out feeling incredibly down and upset. We have been through 4 years of hell and finally had some good news of my sister offering to be a surrogate enabling us to move on and you dismissed it. We trusted in CRGH as “doctors” for guidance and FACTUAL advice not their in-house protocols. I feel hurt and disgusted.
I will be taking the a lot further to prevent this from happening to anyone else
Nothing but positive things to say about CRGH here. I had previously grumbled about their crappy admin and delayed appointments but they seem to have sorted that out with the move from Eastman to Portland Street. Can't comment on costs because my one cycle was NHS funded (I needed PIGD) but the outcome of that cycle is currently snoring contentedly in his Moses basket! I still have a frozen embie at CRGH and will be going back without hesitation.
Good luck OP.
I'm going for my first consultancy at ARGC in a few weeks and due to my endometriosis and 2 previous failed IVFs (first one being horrendous) I really want to see Dr Taranissi. Has anyone actually seen him? He is supposed to be looking at everyone's files but any way of actually having him do the consultancy?
Has anyone ever taken frozen eggs from a different clinic to either of these clinics for a FET?xx
Hi Belle82 yes I sent frozen embryos from Hammersmith to ARGC, they recommended a courier and it was relatively straightforward to arrange (albeit surreal!)
Hi Dannygirl, thank you for coming back to my question, do you mind me asking how much it was?x
Belle82 I checked me emails and it was around £60-70 at the time (around 4 years ago). This was the chap email@example.com
I was massively sceptical but both clinics seemed to think it was pretty standard. Wishing you all the best of luck
yeota1980 I was at ARGC and occasionally saw the famous Mr Taranissi on the stairs. I believe it is possible to get a consultation with him but you have to book many many months in advance, personally I would say it's not worth holding up your treatment. The doctors did assure me that he reviews every decision every day and by the look of all the files being carted around that building everyday I do believe that. Wishing you all the very best
I had an initial consultation at Argc last week. The doctor Ranieri was pretty good to explain me what to do during the monitoring. But he said that my grass pollen vaccination might be a days of implant failure. So he suggested immune tests but I am quite skeptical. Do you have any experience on immune treatment at Argc?
I also have an initial consultation at CRGH next week. Do you know whether they are obsessed with immune therapy? @Montys TiredMummy
Hi I can only give you my experience on ARGC as this is the only clinic after NHS that I went to.
After failed IUIs and IVF at Barts we went with ARGC in 2009 (10 years ago) after a friend had a single pregnancy from there. I was youngish- 31 years old and the first IVF retrieved about 12 mature eggs. We were pretty much forced to have ICSI even though we said no - they still kept on saying just in case the sperm sample was bad so all 13 eggs might not fertilise. They took 5 eggs for ICSI and we payed extra and 3 fertilised and the rest of 7 for IVF. 5 fertilised so we had 8 embryos- we just wanted one! Mr Taranissi himself put the embryo back on day 5 and it worked! We froze 5 day 5 and day 6 embryos which were the best.
3 years later we went to try for a sibling. We tried In 2013, 2014 then had a break then re-tried in 2016 and 2018. The embryos were getting old and so were we. We were devasted that after 5 potential siblings and 4 FET all were BFN. We kept asking to see Mr Taranissi but he was nowhere to be seen. I don’t believe he is there anymore. The only consultants are Dr Sapna and Dr Raniera- I think they are making the decisions between them so it’s not consistent. I don’t think that data is up- to-date because my transfers did not work.
I’ve had IVIG the third time for FET as I received the first few times and Dr Taranissi never asked me to have immune system when I declined in 2009. They are usually if you have miscarriages. But mine have always been negative. But now Mr Ranieri or Dr Sapna review the notes I was made to feel I had to have it- warning IVIG is a blood product pooled from many people. I have ended up reacting to it and come up with hives- every day I now take a antihistamine as I itch all over - it’s in my blood- how do I remove that? I think it is a dangerous practice. It works for some people but there is no evidence and I think it’s most likely just a coincidence.
Anyway- end of last year, 2018 we tried a fresh cycle as Dr Sapna said that worked the first time for us and maybe FET just doesn’t work. This time I was 41 and I only got 3 eggs. Again I was forced to have ICSI and payed for it. This time two fertilised. But they called me back on day 2 for transfer. I argued that last time I had a day 5 transfer and I don’t understand. The embryologist made up some spiel that it’s better embryo grows inside of you. There’s is evidence that day 2 embryos are less likely to survive in the body if they can’t survive outside. Needless to say 2 weeks of painful daily progesterone shots and all the rest it was BFN. I’m still devasted by the result few months later.
I put all my trust in ARGC. But it isn’t the same place that it was 8-10 years ago. When Mr Taranissi was there. He doesn’t run the show. I wouldn’t believe it and I wouldn’t trust them now. They should hav elet my embryos grow to day 5 and of it didn’t work then we cancel the cycle. But of course they wouldn’t get the extra £4000. They have employed far too much staff now and it definitely isn’t as busy as 10 years ago. People are realising it’s not that good and the data is all wrong- not up to date and all made up! This is only my opinion as I know that some IVF / IVSi still work. But that’s possibly form uounger women and it’s all a coincidence. From my stats it’s worked 1 out of 6 times. Back to the drawing board to find a good clinic that’s is more up to date and own honest.
Sorry about typos- we didn’t have ivig first few times. Also this has ended up costing us a small fortune. Probably a second mortgage. I don’t like to think about it.
Hi @Londoner3029, thank you very much for sharing your story. It is very helpful for me to hear this. I had your same impression about the ARGC and Mr Ranieri. He pushed me for this immune therapy only because I have a grass pollen allergy, which is not an immune disease! And then, he didn't take seriously my hubby's severe oligospermia. So he said that sperm is not so relevant as eggs. That was ridiculous!
So we went to an initial consultation to CRGH with the medical director Serhal. He was so good to explain everything to us.
He told me that immune therapy is not a priority for us. On our previous cycle we produced not good embryos, transferred on day 2. So the doctor said there is no reason to think about immune system when the previous horrible clinic called Concept Fertility didn't make me any proper monitoring and blood tests. So dr Serhal said we need to work on produce better eggs and sperm. He strongly suggested frozen embryo transfer.
I think that we will choose this clinic.
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