Fertility treatment is a big investment, both emotionally and financially, so it’s very important to do your research carefully, before committing to a clinic and treatment plan. There is so much more to it than affordability, or going for the clinic with the best reputation. It’s about finding a clinic that can give you the optimum chance of being able to conceive at your age and with your personal medical history. The clinic may be local to where you live, or you may decide to travel within the UK or abroad for your treatment.
You will need to understand your diagnosis first and find out about possible treatment options that may help you to conceive. You can then search for clinics where the staff are trained and experienced in that area and have had a good success rate with patients with a similar age and diagnosis.
Factors to consider, include the cost, location, treatment available, success rates (for patients of your age with a similar medical history) level of care, reputation, experience, quality control measures, insurance, accountability and the regulations and laws in place.
When considering affordability, you will need to factor in the possibility that you may need more than one cycle of treatment before conceiving and that no clinic can guarantee IVF success.
Trusting your gut instinct is important here, as well as making fair comparisons when it comes to recommendations, ratings, reviews and statistics.
Here are some factors to consider:
- Are the staff quailed and experienced enough to treat your individual needs?
- How do the staff come across? Are they interested, helpful, positive and supportive? Do they take the time to listen to your needs and to answer any questions that you might have?
- Is there a transparent pricing system, so that you know immediately what is and isn’t included within the price of the package?
- Is the clinic well-organised and efficient?
- Can you easily access the information that you need?
- Will emotional support be offered, as well as medical treatment?
- If your treatment involves frozen eggs or sperm, or if you might decide to freeze any unused embryos, are there back up measures to protect them in case of power failure?
- What is the staff turnover rate? Consistent staff can indicate a team who are happy, committed and work well together.
- Are you able to afford the cost of having your needs met?
By choosing to stay locally, within the UK for treatment, it can minimise travel costs and the potential need for overnight accommodation.
Being local means that you will be able to fit treatment in more easily around your work commitments.
There are no language barriers, so there is less chance of mis-understandings between you and the clinic in terms of cost, treatment and care.
The HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority) regulate fertility clinics in the UK and they also provide information and guidance about UK clinics and treatment.
Treatment overseas can work out cheaper than UK treatment. However, when budgeting and comparing costs, you will also have to factor in extras, like travel, accommodation, insurance and the additional time commitment.
In the UK, surrogacy agreements are not legally binding and a parental order cannot be issued until the baby has been born. This means that there is a risk that the surrogate may decide to keep the baby and she is legally allowed to do so under UK law. In some other countries, a surrogacy agreement is legally binding, so single men, members of the LGBTQ+ community and couples who need a surrogate, may feel more secure with going overseas for treatment.
Note: Some treatments that are not fully approved yet in the UK may be used abroad, so checking the safety and regulations that apply to the clinics is important. Also, some countries have laws against homosexuality, so it’s important to be aware of that too.
Here at The IVF Network, we understand the challenges that infertility and treatment can create. That’s why we provide a wide range of information, through our dedicated channel of experts, our website and our blog posts, to help you to make informed choices on your personal fertility journey.