NHS v Private(6 Posts)
DH and I have TTC for 2.5 years, had all the NHS tests, we're eligible for one round of IVF on the NHS but success rates in our area are really low compared to the national rates - asked the fertility nurse and she said it's down to staff turnover.
We don't seem to have had many tests before being told unexplained infertility: is that normal? We're wondering if we went private whether we'd have extra tests if we went to one of the private clinics in London with double the success rates.
We've agreed that we'll throw everything at one go, whether successful or not, and then just have to resign ourselves to being childless - time isn't on our side unfortunately.
Would a private clinic repeat all the NHS tests or just take the results that have already been done? Does anyone know how long the entire IVF procedure takes?
The NHS will test sperm count, womb structure, and hormone profile, and may investigate if endo or pcos is really obvious. Everything else is unexplained. It is up to your clinic to explain your infertility (or try to).
Do the NHS round of IVF then see what happens, IMO private is better-I had 1 self funded cycle of IVF through an NHS clinic then went private which worked out more or less the same-the BHS were painfully slow whereas the private clinic moved as fast as your body was ready to.
Oh btw the private clinic will look at the NHS results and take them into account but many of their tests are included in the price anyway
A first IVF cycle is quite often a trial and error exercise - it's difficult to predict how you will respond to drugs for example. So throwing everything at one cycle and stopping there might not be a good idea as you then have more info to improve success of subsequent cycles. NICE guidelines are that 3 cycles should be offered for this reason, though I realise this is now rarely offered by trusts. I can understand why you would want to set a line in the sand after which you would stop, but I feel that you might be setting it too early.
The first cycle might work of course, and does in many cases.
My experience is that I had an NHS cycle (only one offered in my area) then had a second (and third) successful cycle privately. The NHS put me on the contraceptive pill for a few weeks so that I could fit into their schedule whereas the private clinic worked with my own cycle. I obtained a copy of my file from the NHS and provided this to the private clinic who then tweaked the protocol, drugs and doses based on my prior response. There were a number of tests that did not need to be repeated so that saved a bit of money (approx £500 each for me and my husband if I recall correctly) but they also offered additional tests and procedures that NHS didn't offer. We didn't have unexplained infertility but there were more complications found once we got started i.e. we were referred to IVF (ICSI) for male factor infertility but the failed cycle showed that there was also an issue with my egg quality.
In terms of timings, I was on a long protocol so the following schedule:
NHS - first appointment 2 months after referral
Mid April - Started contraceptive pill straightaway as I was in the right point in my cycle but I could have had to wait a month.
Mid May - Started down regulating
Early June - Started stimulating
Mid June - Egg collection
5 days later embryo transfer
Private - first appointment within days (December, but decided to wait until following cycle in January to start)
End January - started down regulating
Mid Feb - started stimulating
End Feb - egg collection
Early March - embryo transfer 5 days later
You don't say how old you are, but I understand the pressures of the ticking clock!
Aside from feeling you don't have time, is there a reason why you're limiting yourself at one go? Agree with pp that statistically three goes is what is recommended.
Are all your NHS funded clinic options the same in terms of success rates?
Also there's a difference between privately funded and NHS funded money wise but a lot of the clinics do both (ours is prob one of the London clinics you reference and were lucky to have had it as one of our NHS funded choices).
I'd always take advantage of an NHS funded option first if you are lucky to have one. It gives a lot of information about stuff even if it doesn't work, which can then help you with higher chance of success on your next (self funded) cycle. Our clinic didn't drag it out, we cracked on as soon as we could, so maybe that reflects between clinic differences? I guess one hesitation is if there's a time you have to wait for referral to the clinic in the first place (can take ages), but once you're finally at the clinic, it's a not a massively long process.
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