Trying to figure out which clinic to have your treatment in is a big deal
After all, IVF is not cheap, and nothing could be bigger than the search to help find a team of amazing, trusted people who are going to help you make your dream of starting a family come true.
But where do you begin?
How do you make sure you are choosing the right clinic? And what questions should you be asking a clinic when you finally choose one that looks right for you?
In order to help you put together a shortlist, take a look through this checklist. We have listed key points to consider and questions to ask before you commit to anything.
Before you start. Understand your diagnosis
Before you embark on the search for the right clinic or fertility service, make sure you have had the relevant tests and understand your diagnosis from either your GP or gynecologist. If you do your homework and learn about the different kinds of treatment available, your search will be a lot easier.
You also need to bear in mind that clinics have a set of criteria for patients including age and BMI.
If your BMI is over 30, why not connect with one of our nutritionists, or speak to your GP about a plan to help you get to healthy body weight.
What is your diagnosis?
What is your partner’s diagnosis?
Do you know what treatment you will need?
Are you a healthy weight to start IVF?
Location. A clinic at home or abroad?
There are many factors to take into consideration when choosing to have treatment at a clinic at home or abroad. Cost is a key factor, and IVF is considerably cheaper abroad. However, there are many things to think about before you delve any deeper.
Once you have chosen a location, you can start by putting together a shortlist of clinics. It is SO important to make sure that they are reputable and registered with the country’s IVF regulatory body. You can check this by heading to HFEA, SART or ESHRE websites.
Where do you want to have your treatment?
Is fertility treatment regulated in that country?
How frequently and at what stages of treatment would you be required to travel to the clinic? (Think about how much time you would need to take off work)
Do you need to quarantine before or after travel if choosing abroad?
Cost. How much is this going to cost?
IVF is expensive and the cost will vary from country to country. Please do not immediately jump to the cheapest! Costs are sometimes hidden, so you need to do some digging.
Budget IVF clinics use low-dose hormone stimulation protocols, mainly natural cycles or enhanced natural cycles. These protocols use minimal or no drugs, which lower the cost since medication is almost 25-30% of the IVF cost. In addition, they use fewer lab resources. Those options are only suited to younger patients with minor fertility issues who can generate a small number of eggs with minimal or no medication.
Clinics will sometimes only advertise the cost of treatment, not the medication. However, medication is very expensive, so make sure you look into the real cost.
How much is one round of IVF?
Is medication a separate cost?
Are there tests I might need that are an extra cost?
Is there an extra cost for freezing and storage?
How many rounds am I likely to need?
Does your clinic offer a shared risk/refund plan?
Next, you want to look at the clinic’s success rates
The success rates of a clinic is an important factor, but you need to explore them carefully – you need to ensure that the clinic’s success rates are comparable to the national average. You can check a country’s success rates by looking at the regularity boards SART, HFEA, or ESHRE.
What is the clinic’s live birth rate?
Have you checked with the country’s regulatory board to check that the success rates are consistent with the national average?
Does the clinic offer the treatment you require?
Not every clinic will offer what you need, so head to their website and look at the treatments they offer. If in any doubt, give them a call and request an initial consultation.
What are the waiting times for donor eggs or sperm?
Natural Killer Cells testing
Once you have chosen a shortlist of clinics in your location of choice, request an initial conversation
This initial conversation does not mean that you are suddenly committed. It simply allows you to ask any questions to help you decide if the clinic is right for you. If you are happy that your questions have been answered and you want to go on to the next stage, then you can book a consultation.
If you are unsure as to what to ask, we have put together a list of questions that you might find useful: (It is not necessary to ask all of these questions)
How long following a consultation can I start treatment?
What is your clinic particularly known for?
What is the cost of a round of IVF? What does this include? Is medication included?
Does your clinic offer a shared risk programme/refund schemes?
Where can people see your success rates?
What is your policy on embryo transfers?
What are your opening times/are you open for retrievals and transfers on weekends?
Do you do your own testing or have others handle them?
Do you prefer fresh or frozen embryo transfers (FET), and why?
Is there always someone that a patient can call 24/7?
What support do you offer patients whilst they are going through IVF?
What support do you offer patients after a failed round of IVF?
Do you have an age limit at your clinic?
How does someone go about booking an initial consultation with you? Is there a waiting list? Is there a cost?
Requesting a consultation
Make sure you ask if and what the cost of the consultation is. Your consultation can be done via Zoom or in person.
We have put together checklists with the help of leading experts that you can download to help you through this process.
We have also collated a directory of clinics and fertility services on fertilitybook.com where you can find and connect with all things fertility around the globe to save you time and money trawling on the internet.