Firstly, the clinic should be transparent about its success rates and costs. If you can’t find this information out or the clinic seems hesitant in giving you full facts then I would avoid it. It only takes an email to request the information. Their response will give you confidence in going forward.
Deciphering what all the results mean and costs can be tricky. We have provided an IVF Cost Calculator which may help you with costs. With success rates, you need to focus on clinical pregnancy rates. This is when there is a heartbeat found on the scan at six weeks gestation. A chemical pregnancy rate is sometimes quoted by clinics and this reflects the fact that a blood test has indicated that hormone levels are rising indicating that an embryo has implanted. This rate is always higher than a clinical pregnancy rate because, unfortunately, many pregnancies will terminate before 6 weeks. It is also beneficial to find out how many embryos are routinely transferred at transfer. A clinic which puts many embryos back will almost certainly have a better pregnancy rate but at the risk of a multiple pregnancy.
The clinic should also have staff in place to help and assist people coming from abroad. Most of the clinics have an international team whose job it is to coordinate treatment. These teams usually have staff that is multilingual. They will help you plan your treatment and even accommodation.
The clinic should have excellent communication channels. When questions crop up, you want to be able to get in touch quickly with the staff. Find out about out-of-hours communication. Who will you speak to in an emergency?
Find out what other IVF travellers have to say about the clinic. There are lots of forums with boards which discuss individual fertility clinics abroad e.g. Fertility Friends, Fertility Zone. Comments on these boards may give you confidence but it is always good to go with your gut instinct. The best way to find out about a clinic is to visit it yourself but of course this isn’t always practical.
Choosing the right clinic is not easy. I am a great believer that if something doesn’t feel right then it isn’t. If this is you too then your gut instinct from your research will lead you to the right clinic.
By Caroline Phillips
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