Fertility services (private) in Bristol/Bath area

(24 Posts)
DotingDaisy Mon 17-Dec-18 10:55:22

Have spoken to my GP this morning about my recent bloods results (raised LH and FSH on the high side of normal) and he has advised to access fertility services asap.

We don't meet the criteria for NHS funded fertility treatment, so would be looking to access private treatment.

Has anyone accessed fertility services in the Bristol/Bath/surrounding areas and would be able to give me any information/recommendations? I'm happy if you would rather PM me than post as a reply here.

How do you go about choosing a service? Do I go for one lost local as I'm likely to need to go in quite a lot, or one that has the best outcomes for our particular mix of issues?


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Fizzy13 Mon 17-Dec-18 11:30:09

We are in the same boat as we have a son already.

We have an appointment at Bath Fertility (the Aztec West branch) in Jan so I'll let you know then!
A friend had a bad experience with Create and used the Southmead one (now closed)
Another friend used Spire and have been very happy with them and now has two beautiful boys!

I read some reviews and looked at transparency of costs etc. I think a lot will hinge on the first meeting and how I feel about the information we are given and how they speak to us.
I went with the one that was easily accessible from work too just in case we need to go a lot.

Good luck!

DotingDaisy Mon 17-Dec-18 17:01:13

Hi Fizzy, thanks for your reply.

The Spire is definitely closest for us, so good to hear your friend has had good outcomes with them.

Did you choose Bath Fertility due to proximity?

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CornishMaid1 Mon 17-Dec-18 17:03:40

I am currently with CRGW.

The main office is in Cardiff, so the egg collection and implantation is in Cardiff, but they have a satellite clinic in Bradley Stoke in Bristol which does the appointments, scans, blood tests etc.

They are really good on price, very open (we tried LWC in Bristol and they massively tried to upsell) and are just lovely.

I am due to start down-reg in two weeks. I am based in Cornwall, so travelling to Bristol was much easier and so far is the best decision.

If you have any queries please let me know or feel free to DM. Whilst I can't talk about personal success yet, as I am only just starting IVF, they have been fantastic so far.

Convenience is good (CRGW for me is the best priced and best success rates nearest to me, but it still a 3.5 hour drive away), but whilst my treatment is between Bristol and Cardiff, I am having monitoring scans down here rather than at the clinic to save the travelling and they have helped set that up.

The important thing is to find a clinic that you feel comfortable with, but if you have specific issues someone with experience in that is useful. Most private clinics have open evenings, so book in to see a few and get a feel for them.

MrsSup Mon 17-Dec-18 17:05:52

We saw Valentine Akande at the BCRM - we didn't need to progress to IVF in the end but he was absolutely lovely and very helpful.

DotingDaisy Tue 18-Dec-18 08:08:22

Wow Cornish that's some journey. I hope all goes well for you.

Did you try a couple of clinics and just get a feel for one that felt right? I'm never good at making decisions, so this feels a bit overwhelming at the moment.

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Fizzy13 Tue 18-Dec-18 10:30:58

As we're just starting out I went with the one that made things simple.

Whether we continue towards treatment with them will depend on the first meeting and how I feel about it. I think you can tell a lot once you meet people about their attitudes and whether they are just going to make you spend more money. It's much harder to assess via fancy websites.

They so far have been super helpful and by having 2 centres we have a range of possible appointment times for tests. I'll let you know in Jan what they are like face to face.
They do have open evenings when you can go and visit and have a 10min chat with someone to understand things further before booking an appointment.


CornishMaid1 Tue 18-Dec-18 17:30:10

To be fair, one of our biggest deciding factors was the cost. We had thought about treatment abroad, but it just seemed too much.

Being this far down it does make choice a lot more limiting. I looked at all the clinics from Bristol/Bath down originally, looked at who does private treatment and took out the ones I don't like or which have low success rates (at the time Exeter were about half the average!).

From the ones with good success rates I then looked at the clinics to see which I liked the look/sound of and how much they were, as if they were on the expensive end I discounted them (so that there is money in case we need a few FETs).

I felt drawn to LWC in Bristol so went for a consultation and found my feeling all wrong! It didn't feel like the right fit when I went there and the doctor tried to majorly oversell what we needed (they were after £10k to do genetic screening because DH has a low sperm count).

I was so disheartened after as we just could not afford that. I then thought that since the clinic is Bristol but the treatment is Cardiff I would look at Cardiff clinics and found CRGW.

They had an 'ask an expert' on their website so I did ask about the screening and they said it would be a waste. From that first contact I felt so comfortable with them and when we went for the first visit in Bristol it was so easy that I knew we had made the right decision.

They kept saying to go and decide and let them know if we wanted to go ahead, but we ended up going ahead on the spot. We first saw them at the end of October and since then have had a sperm freeze, treatment planning and I start my IVF cycle in about 2 weeks (it is only that long as Christmas fell in the way) so it has been really quick.

It is important that you like and trust the clinic, especially when you are giving them that much money (although for our IVF lite with sperm freeze it has only cost £3,700 all in).

It was a pain for us because we are so far away so just had to jump into initial consultations, but if you live in Bristol/Bath and are looking at clinics there then check their websites for open evenings - that way you can visit a few with no obligation and see which you feel most at ease with.

LL82 Sat 22-Dec-18 22:23:26

I’d recommend oxford fertility...I’ve been successful on my second cycle..currently 27 weeks pregnant x

Si1ver Sat 22-Dec-18 22:32:27

I couldn't find anywhere in Bristol that I was actually happy with and ended up travelling abroad. I'd also heard bad things about Create and I had issues with private blood tests at Spire.

It cut our costs to under £3k including traveling and I'm 35 weeks now.

DotingDaisy Sun 23-Dec-18 19:07:23

LL82 sorry for dumb question, but I assume they are in Oxford?

Si1ver - which services did you have a look at in Bristol? I've not heard great things about Create either.

I have provisionally booked in to speak to Mrs Gordon at the Spire, but I might need to cancel as she wants DP to have sperm analysis first and I don't think we will be able to do that in time before the appt (mid Jan).

Under 3k seems SO much less than the figures I've seen in the UK. Did you have to have some stuff done in the UK prior to going abroad? Where did you go?

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Si1ver Sun 23-Dec-18 20:03:29

We looked at Bath Fertility and Create. I wasn't blown away by either of them, certainly not enough to pay the extra for treatment here.

We had ICIS in the Czech Republic. I had some treatment over here first. My private scans were done at Mothercare in Eastgate of all places and I had some blood work and a scratch done at the Spire. The woman who did my scratch was great, but the phlebotomist blew my veins and left me with giant bruises.

LL82 Sun 23-Dec-18 22:00:49

Yes in oxford but they have several satellite clinics for the monitoring appts x

DotingDaisy Wed 02-Jan-19 17:17:04

CornishMaid thanks for the CRGW recommendation. I am going to try and go along to their next open day.

DP is going to have semen analysis done next week, and I have the provisional appointment arranged with Mrs Gordon at the Spire but I might cancel that if we decide to go to CRGW. I'm not sure what the initial appointment with Mrs Gordon would entail and what benefit it would have. That's at the end of Jan.

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DotingDaisy Fri 04-Jan-19 15:21:45

Random question - does anyone know why the Spire isn't on the HFEA website?

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DotingDaisy Mon 07-Jan-19 10:45:26

@Fizzy13 do you mind me asking what happened to your friend who had a bad experience with CREATE?

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Fizzy13 Tue 08-Jan-19 09:45:11

She didn't go into details and I didn't push but she wouldn't recommend going there so I didn't even look at them.
Sorry not to be more help!

DotingDaisy Tue 08-Jan-19 17:08:25

So I went to Create this morning. I'm having SUCH a hard time making a decision about clinics. They did a scan which she said looked ok (I'm not sure if that's just the norm - what could show up as abnormal on a scan?).

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Si1ver Tue 08-Jan-19 17:29:03

Oh, I think I lost the message I just typed.

Basically I think it's a good thing. They're not seeing anything that could cause additional problems for you. So no cysts which could react badly to the meds or a blocked tube or similar.

I think a lot of choice comes down to gut feeling and stats. Who do you feel comfortable with.

Fizzy13 Fri 11-Jan-19 13:11:52

First appointment at Bath Fertility in Bristol today.
Happy so far.
Very professional staff, listened carefully to our story, thoughts, worries. Didn't feel pushed into extra treatments, discussed risks of everything clearly.
Ultrasound to check basics done and next scan booked in a month.
Lets hope the next scan sheds some light!

DotingDaisy Sat 12-Jan-19 21:45:37

Hi @Fizzy13, glad to hear it went well yesterday.

What is the scan for in a month if you had a scan today? (Sorry if these are stupid questions! I really have no idea about anything!)

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Fizzy13 Mon 14-Jan-19 13:07:07

Don't worry I still don't know much! We're only starting out.

First one was a basic internal ultrasound to check for anything big like cysts or a messed up c-section scar (apparently mine is beautiful)
He could see both ovaries with folicles and everything was the shape it should be.
However it doesn't tell them if there is a clear route from ovary to uterus. Thats the next scan -HyCoSy.
In this one they use a speculum (like for a smear) to see where they are going and put a small tube (catheter) through the cervix and put a lot of foam in which is a contrast agent and shows up on the ultrasound. Then they can see really clearly the shape of the uterus and if all the tubes are clear.
It has its own risks as with anything invasive (although this is minimally so) and they will talk you through them when you get referred for it.

The other thing they suggested was another set of blood tests which will look at my immune response as it could be responsible for my miscarriages and be the reason that my first child did not grow properly in the womb.

One step at a time...

GG2233 Tue 15-Jan-19 01:23:06

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DotingDaisy Tue 15-Jan-19 08:39:00

@Fizzy13 thanks, that makes sense now! Fingers crossed everything goes ok with the HyCoSy for you.

I have an appointment at the Spire on Thursday. I've had a chat with the consultant there over the phone and she has been recommended by several people, so I feel better about that decision. Create have also called me to ask what I have decided! I don't think it feels right with them, but I guess I don't know that until I go to the Spire and see how it feels there!

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