Choosing a Clinic
How to choose a Clinic
Choosing a fertility clinic is a very personal decision and the criteria that matter to you will depend on your circumstances. When choosing the best clinic for your needs, you may want to consider the following:
Does the clinic offer the treatment that is best for you? What about other services you may want such as a support group or free counselling?
Location and opening times
How convenient is the location? If you choose a clinic that is further away, you may be able to have certain treatments at a local hospital (known as a satellite or transport centre). This will save you travelling to the clinic for every test and treatment, making it more convenient.
You may also want to choose a clinic which has opening times that are most convenient for you – for example, a clinic which offers early morning appointments.
When you contact or visit the clinic, think about how you feel there and about the way staff treat you. Ask lots of questions so you feel fully informed about the treatment they are recommending. If possible, talk to other patients to hear their personal experiences of the clinic.
Cycles of treatment attempted
Find out how many cycles (rounds of treatment) are attempted before trying another approach or stopping treatment altogether.
Embryo transfer policy
Clinics may replace up to two embryos in women under 40 and a maximum of three in women aged 40 or over. Transferring more than one embryo increases the risks of multiple births, the single biggest risk of fertility treatment, so you may want to consider the following:
What is the rate of multiple births for the clinic?
How do you feel about this and the risks associated with multiple births?
How does the clinic minimise the risk of multiple births?
Support groups and counselling
Having emotional support is very important when going through fertility treatment.
Some clinics offer this service free while others charge for it. When researching clinics, you may want to ask about this and whether they have any support groups you can join.
Faith and language issues
Does the clinic provide services in a way which fits in with your religious or cultural beliefs? If needed, you may also want to find out if the clinic offers interpreters and/or translation services.
It’s only natural for you to want to know your chances of success. Choose a Fertility Clinic provides data on success rates for every licensed clinic, showing the number of treatments carried out in a particular year and the number of pregnancies and births that resulted. These success rates should be used only as a general guide. You should not use them as a personal prediction of your own chance of success.
Directly comparing the success rates of clinics is not useful because:
clinics treat patients with different diagnoses, which affects the average success rates
most clinics carry out too few cycles each year to reliably predict a patient’s future chance of success
the live birth success rates relate to a period of treatment from about two years ago and may not be a good indication of success rates at the same clinic today.
Why do success rates differ between clinics?
Success rates can be affected by:
the type of patients a clinic treats (age/diagnosis)
the type of treatment a clinic carries out
a clinic’s treatment practices
A clinic that treats proportionately more patients with complicated diagnoses may have a lower average success rate than a clinic that treats more patients with common fertility issues.
How can I see success rates relevant to me?
When choosing a clinic, look out for the type of patients each clinic treats, including their age and diagnosis and how long they have been infertile. This may help you identify clinics that treat patients with similar needs to you and also puts the success rates for that clinic in context.
Success rates are broken down by treatment. With IVF and ICSI, we also show separate outcomes for fresh or frozen embryos.
Clinical pregnancy rates
Where an ultrasound scan has shown at least one heartbeat, this is a clinical pregnancy.
Clinical pregnancy rates can give you more recent data. This information is also available on the clinic’s page on Choose a Fertility Clinic under ‘Take a closer look’. However, as not all clinical pregnancies will develop into live births, these rates do not offer a complete picture.