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Best ivf clinics London?

(30 Posts)
knoxy1 Thu 29-Jun-17 13:35:42

Dear all,
My partner and I have unexplained infertility and over the last 3 years I've been through 3 ICSI rounds at Homerton and haven't had success yet and I'm now trying to work out what to do and where to go next. I'm very keen to try the ARGC clinic but my partner doesn't trust them and thinks that they are using unproven techniques/treatments and is worried that the HFEA have concerns about how they practice..
guide.hfea.gov.uk/guide/ShowPDF.aspx?ID=6062&merge=1
He is currently saying he doesn't even want to have a consultation with them, I am panicking, as I had my heart set on trying them and I have 2 friends who have gone there and both have fallen pregnant after having previously given up hope. I have 3 embryos frozen at Homerton and am keen to try a different clinic with different approaches.
The reason I am attracted to the ARGC clinic is I would be keen to try immune testing and I am also really drawn to the amount of daily monitoring they offer. I understand its a big commitment and quite full-on but I feel that level of observing and adjusting could be just what I need and could even help with how much I always totally stress out when you're left alone to 'wait and see' in the 2ww.
Has anyone got any indoor facts that may help to convince my DP that they are worth a try, or any thoughts on other London clinics who offer a similar daily monitoring and immune testing. I don't really want to try Zita West.
I am also curious about chromosomal testing, does anyone know whether I could test on the embryos I have stored and if so can I still use them or is there a risk that they become destroyed from the tests.
Lots of questions sorry. We've had 5 years in total of ttc and I'm feeling exhausted and desperate (I'm now 39 and my DP is 50)
Thanks so much. Love and luck to all of you xxxxx

depp1020 Thu 29-Jun-17 17:21:20

Hi

I have sent you a PM.

laurelstar Thu 29-Jun-17 20:13:22

Hi knoxy, you can absolutely test the frozen embryos you have for chromosomal abnormalities, although there is a risk they won't survive the thaw and biopsy. We've had great care so far from the One By One team at the Bridge Clinic and can recommend them highly. We had all our embryos tested with them, before they were frozen. Two were inconclusive and we've been told these can be thawed and retested later.

laurelstar Thu 29-Jun-17 20:14:58

Good luck! Xx

Teakind Fri 30-Jun-17 00:05:36

Hello, we went to the Lister and they were great. Has your husband had the sperm DNA fragmentation test?

Eggplantsundays Fri 30-Jun-17 00:20:19

Your partner needs to look at the stats for ARGC. Their results are consistently high, over years and years, and over very large patient populations, who have often not had successes at other clinics. There's the proof. Some of Taranissi's methods are genuinely unusual but his results are amazing. And you're paying for the result not the method.

Eggplantsundays Fri 30-Jun-17 00:21:18

(Three successes upstairs asleep!)

knoxy1 Fri 30-Jun-17 07:48:04

Thanks everyone, thanks dep1020 for lovely message- really helpful. Laurelstar is that one by one clinc focussed on only putting one embryo back at a time (as the name suggests?) I was thinking of trying 2 this time as we only put one back last time and now I'm regretting it. I'm terrified about the idea of twins but this seems unlikely going by my past experiences/ failed attempts. Teakind no he's never had that particular sperm test (only the motility and count tests.. Would that be worth doing instead of the embryo testing? As in, would it tell us the same info?
Eggplantsundays the problem is my DP doesn't trust the stats. He thinks that the reason the HFEA are wary of the ARGC is because they withhold and manipulate the results. I don't know how to get round this, it certainly seems to me that lots of people are getting pregnant there but DP will only trust the official routes like HFEA or a Dr reference and doesn't believe in hearsay. Ahh it's such a long journey all this. Really hope there is light at the end of this tunnel. Xxx

Eggplantsundays Fri 30-Jun-17 12:30:45

Going to PM you.

Teakind Fri 30-Jun-17 13:15:07

Hi knoxy, I think it could really be worth having that test. We had it done at the Lister but lots of places do it. Apparently it's a really common reason for ivf to fail. My DH's usual sperm tests were fine but his DNA fragmentation result was so high that we were told ivf wouldn't work. Not many places test for it I dont think and I'd never heard of it before my consultation at the Lister. Luckily all it took was him taking some antibiotics to really improve it. We also had IMSI instead of ICSI and I'm how holding my 5 week old daughter.

For the immune testing, I had that as I have a history of miscarriage. I think the Lister will test for NK cells too (I had mine tested elsewhere).

Best of luck!

laurelstar Fri 30-Jun-17 22:33:17

Hi knoxy yep they only transfer one embryo at a time, as they only transfer embryos that have been chromosomally tested and found to be good. Transferring two increases the risk that they won't survive.

laurelstar Fri 30-Jun-17 22:34:49

The embryo test gives much more information than the sperm test, as it can tell you that a specific embryo is healthy.

laurelstar Fri 30-Jun-17 22:36:28

...whereas the sperm test only gives an indication of the overall health of millions of sperm, which may or may not go on to fertilise your egg. About 9 out of 10 chromosome abnormalities are with the egg and not the sperm anyway, according to our doctor.

fabulous01 Fri 30-Jun-17 22:37:05

Would you consider abroad? Best decision I made was going to SERUM in Athens
I wish I hadn't done any IVF in U.K.
I am also unexplained

EarlGreyT Sat 01-Jul-17 15:00:06

Your partner needs to look at the stats for ARGC. Their results are consistently high, over years and years, and over very large patient populations, who have often not had successes at other clinics. There's the proof

I don't agree with this. The ARGC select the patients they will treat and will only take on people with the better chances of success e.g. They won't treat if FSH >10 whereas many other clinics will. The statistics don't speak for themselves as their high success rates are certainly in part due to them only taking on people with the greater chances of success. Additionally if you look at the statistics for mr Taranissi's other clinic the RGI in Weymouth street they're no better than average-if his methods really were so much better than everyone else's then this clinic would also have really high success rates and it doesn't. I think also the ARGC transfers the patients they think are less likely to be successful (i.e. The ones responding less well to stims) to the RGI for egg collection/embryo transfer so that their statistics count under the RGI rather than the ARGCs.

I realise this is not the opinion you want to hear, but I'm afraid I'm with your partner on the ARGC and the statistics have been manipulated so they don't tell the whole story.

knoxy1 Sun 02-Jul-17 09:38:18

Thanks all, really helpful range of advice esp thanks to Eggplantsunday for personal message (was really interesting to talk to my DP after reading that - he's still not totally convinced though - and to be honest I still have masses of worries and questions regarding it all!) It seems to be SO much money.
Fabulous01 you asked "Would you consider abroad? Best decision I made was going to SERUM in Athens. I wish I hadn't done any IVF in U.K." I haven't really looked into going abroad as I'm not sure where to start, does SERUM offer the same services as ARGC (immune testing etc) why did you choose there and why was it so much better, is it just a cost thing? I'm also not sure if it means staying in Athens for 3 weeks? Doesn't the travel and hotels bring the cost up?

EarlGreyT thats interesting about ARGC's other clinic results, I'm going to look into that.

Does anyone know how much an FET at ARGC is likely to cost in total (if I went for all the extras (intralipids, immune tests etc, monitoring) I'm guessing it's around £15,000 but that may be way under? It's just such a huge financial gamble and slightly terrifying.
laurelstar we currently have frozen embryos and haven't had them tested before freezing, I wonder how this would work now, would they test it before implanting and what happens if it shows up with issues do they try another?

Teakind congratulations!! How lovely xx

Lots of questions again sorry! This is so helpful being able to talk it all through though. Thanks everyone xxxxxx

laurelstar Sun 02-Jul-17 12:45:05

Hi knoxy yes they would probably defrost and test them all at the same time and then when you have your results you can decide how to proceed, hopefully saving yourself a failed cycle with an embryo that was abnormal (which many are)

Landy10 Sun 02-Jul-17 15:07:41

Hi knoxy
I've done a fresh and frozen round at argc. Pregnant after fresh but miscarriage at 9 weeks. B/G Twins from FET. I had one nhs round at kings previously and although you spend a fortune at argc I really think it's worth it.

The cost depends on immune treatment. I think up to +be pregnancy test I was about £4/5k on FET but then I carried on having IVIG (v expensive) till 16 weeks pregnant. Compared to fresh cycle it's much easier (less visits to clinic).

sparechange Thu 06-Jul-17 01:47:17

I had a fresh round at ARGC earlier this year and am now 12 weeks. Sorry in advance for the essay but I hope it will be useful..!

It was my 11th round of fresh and FET so I really don't buy the accusation that they cherry pick patients who they know will be successful... I had all my treatment in the main clinic and on paper, I wasn't going to be a success but they told me throughout they were confident they could get and keep me pregnant.

When I went through my history in the initial consult (1 late loss, 1 mmc and 9 failed transfers most of which were 2 embryos going back), plus a diagnosed thyroid issue, the Dr immediately said he was quite sure I had immune issues and wanted to test me asap.
Every other doctor at every other clinic (and I've been to both branches of Create, the Lister, and Chelsea & Westminster so have seen my fair share of docs) kept telling me it was just bad luck and there was nothing wrong.

Lo and behold, the immune results came back showing my NK cells and Cytokines were off the chart for 5 of the 7 measures.

From here on, it got expensive
£800 for the immune blood test
£800 for dose of humira (2 injections, 2 weeks apart)
£800 for an Immune retest
£1500 for IVIG the week of embryo transfer
£1500 for IVIG the week I got my Bfp
£800 for an immune retest
£1500 for IVIG at 8 weeks pregnant
£800 for an immune retest
£1500 for IVIG at 12 weeks

This is on top of all the ivf fees and drugs, plus the post-transfer support drugs of injectable and pessary progesterone plus blood thinners plus steroids which everyone gets

I'm definitely a 'worst case scenario' cost wise (although they told me one woman had to have IVIG up to 24 weeks so even if you have immune issues, it might not cost as much
For example, if you have mild immune issues, you have Intralipds instead of IVIG, at £300 a dose, and the retests aren't as important

It has financially taken us to the limit, and we have had family help

However, it has cost us less than all the unsuccessful rounds we've had.

Yes, their methods are controversial but they aren't stabs in the dark. My old clinics suggested all sorts of things - endometrial biopsy, embryo glue, intralipids - for no other reason than it was something else to try. A total stab in the dark

With ARGC, they are using licenced drugs in different ways but in a very methodical way.
They test, if the test says this, you get this this treatment
They test and if it says that, you get that treatment. They don't just throw drugs at you for the sake of it

The standard of care far exceeds everything I've known from any other clinic, where you are thrown out as soon as you've taken the pregnancy test

After getting a BFP, they monitored me weekly and there was someone to speak to most days.
When I had a huge bleed, they called me every day and altered my meds, and liaised the the EPU docs. They evaluated my scans. They genuinely cared.

Good luck with whatever you decide. Happy to provide feedback on the other clinics I went to also - PM me if you want to

Tootsiepops Thu 06-Jul-17 02:17:26

If you are using frozen embryos, I believe CRGH has the highest U.K. success rate.

EarlGreyT Thu 06-Jul-17 11:42:29

I really don't buy the accusation that they cherry pick patients who they know will be successful.

Re ARGC- they absolutely DO do this. They categorically told me that they'd monitor my FSH over 3-4 months and if it wasn't below 10 on any of these occasions they wouldn't let me have IVF there. I'd had one FSH of 11.6 and on every other occasion it was <10, but they told me in no uncertain terms they would not treat me if it wasn't below 10 on their monitoring.

At the point of going to them for a consultation I'd only had one previous round of IVF and was 36 so they were only going on FSH and the fact that I was likely to be a poor responder which they can't overcome. Sparechange they obviously thought they could overcome your immune problems, which would give you a good chance of success and therefore agreed to treat you.

sparechange Thu 06-Jul-17 12:05:16

Fair enough, earl
They didn't ever ask for or check my FSH and were happy to just take an 18 month old AMH result so I didn't see that side of the clinic
I had one monitoring cycle with them, did the immune treatment and then did the stimulated cycle

They absolutely did think they could overcome my immunity issues and were correct, when every other clinic was shrugging their shoulders and not even suggesting investigating it so I am hugely grateful to them

scoobyloobyloo Thu 06-Jul-17 21:03:48

Out of the 7 women I met whilst at ARGC, 6 have now had successful pregnancies with 3 sets of twins.

Between us we had had over 30 previous rounds of treatment elsewhere.

4 of us got pregnant first time, 2 on second attempt.

I don't think the stats are fiddled, I think the HFEA don't like their techniques or their multiple birth stats.

sparechange Thu 06-Jul-17 21:37:33

earl

Do you actually know of anyone who was transferred to RGI for collection and transfer after starting off with ARGC?

I've had quite a long look at all the ARGC threads on Fertility Friends, and I can't find anyone saying it has happened to them, although a few say they went for monitoring scans there during the cycle.

Is it just a bit of an urban myth? I would have thought there would have been more references to it (especially from people worried that they were the 'chosen ones' to be unsuccessful) if it was actually happening

EarlGreyT Thu 06-Jul-17 22:10:16

sparechange

It does happen, but I don't know anyone it has happened to, but then I didn't chat to many people while undergoing fertility treatment. Hopefully the links below work.

www.fertilityfriends.co.uk/forum/index.php?PHPSESSID=c9fed91ffcc09a8ae10e89bb59d0e6b3;topic=305813.0?thememode=mobile;?thememode=mobile

www.fertilityfriends.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=310020.0

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