Tips on how to choose an IVF clinic
If you’re hoping to have a baby through infertility treatment such as IVF, it can be hard to decide which fertility clinic is the right one to choose for your treatment.
Whether you are aiming to secure treatment via the NHS, or are researching private IVF clinics in the North West, Cheshire and Manchester, it can be difficult to decide which clinic is right for you when you are bombarded with success rates, brochures and fees to navigate and understand.
So what points should you consider?
Some clinics only choose publish selected success rates on their websites, for which they have the best results. But these figures may not be relevant to you – they could be for women who are significantly younger, or for a specific type of treatment. It’s important that you get clinic results that are relevant to your age group so you can see a true picture. Remember all licensed clinics have to report their statistics (pregnancy and live birth rates) to the HFEA so check here to get the official report. The figures should always be treated as an indication only of how successful the clinic is. Don’t be tempted to go for the one with the highest figures, it doesn’t give any kind of guarantee of success – you will have your own individual circumstances and history. Read our blog here about success rates and the use of comparison tables.
A clinic’s pregnancy rate is not the same as live birth rate. Make sure you find out how many babies have actually been born via the clinic’s treatment. At Manchester Fertility we only record pregnancy rates once a heartbeat has been detected through ultrasound. This is known as a 'clinical pregnancy'. Some clinics may instead report their 'biochemical pregnancy' rates and this simply means the numbers of positive pregnancy tests reported by patients. It does not confirm a viable pregnancy. Read more here about biochemical and clinical pregnancy rates.
Many clinics will happily tell you what a typical cycle of IVF costs, but beware if one clinic seems much cheaper than others. This will mostly be because they won’t include all the associated costs you have to pay, such as consultations, screening fees, tests and drugs. Make sure you get a good idea of all inclusive costs, so you know what to expect to pay in total. At Manchester Fertility our Prices are transparent and inclusive so you know from the outset what your treatment will cost, with no ‘hidden’ extras.
Counselling and support
All licensed clinics are required by law to offer counselling, but does the clinic have an experienced in-house team to help you whenever you need it? At Manchester Fertility we have an experienced team of in-house counsellors for all of our patients, who specialise in all the issues associated with infertility treatment to ensure you are supported throughout your whole journey. Our nursing team are also here whenever you need them, even if you just need someone to talk to.
Does the clinic have a waiting list if you need treatment with donor sperm, IVF, ICSI, ovulation induction and IUI? At Manchester Fertility, we have a strong sperm donor programme and thanks to our egg-sharing programme and rise in altruistic donors, we currently have no waiting lists for treatment with a donor egg or donor sperm.
Check whether the clinic has the right expertise to help with your diagnosis. At Manchester Fertility many of our fertility consultants have specific specialisms, ranging from male fertility problems and Surgical Sperm Retrieval techniques, to ovulatory disorders and recurrent miscarriage. They are leaders in the field, widely-skilled and recognised for their expertise.
Is the clinic abreast of latest developments and reproductive technology techniques? At Manchester Fertility we have a proven approach to the treatment we offer. We use the latest techniques and technologies to help you conceive, including time-lapse EmbryoScope monitoring and EmbryoGlue, but only recommend those which have proven, evidence-based success. We do not offer treatments that are considered ‘experimental’ and unproven within the scientific community.
Are you expected to pay more if, for example, you need a blastocyst culture and transfer? Make sure you check if these types of services are included or classed as an extra option which you have to pay for. At Manchester Fertility we don’t charge extra if you need blastocyst transfers and we don’t charge for using innovative new products such as ‘EmbryoGlue’ which helps embryos to implant.
Embryo transfer policy
Do you get a say in how many embryos are transferred in your treatment? The HFEA recently removed the multiple birth rate limit from the conditions imposed on a clinic as part of their licence. What this means is that clinics can now transfer two or three embryos per treatment cycle. At Manchester Fertility we will continue to follow the HFEA-advised Single Embryo Transfer policy, where only one embryo is transferred to help reduce the risk of multiple births in patients which have a good prognosis. We do this in consultation with you. Single Embryo Transfer may not suit everyone as it is dependent on circumstances such as age or medical history, and so in some cases multiple embryo transfer may still be the best option.
Good fertility clinics will welcome you to their facility so you can tour it and get a feel for the staff and the team who will be helping you through your treatment and beyond. At Manchester Fertility you can book in for one of our informal ‘one to one’ open events so you can find out more about how we can help you and ask any questions you have.
Remember that undergoing fertility treatment will involve regular appointments at your chosen clinic, so how far you have to travel may be a factor you want to consider. However, many of our patients here at Manchester Fertility travel considerable distance for treatment with us, with some travelling from as far away as London, right up to the Calder Valley in Yorkshire, Stoke on Trent in Staffordshire, Derbyshire and beyond, to access our expert team of specialists and consultants, many of whom are leaders in their field.
Whichever clinic you choose, we wish you the very best as you embark on your fertility journey. If you need further advice, we’d be happy to help. Read more about our best practice reassurance and Our Promise.
Want to find out the cost of your fertility treatment?
Try our simple online Cost Calculator now
You might also be interested in…
Thank you for the best Christmas present we could ever wish for.See more Sara and Austin