12th Jan, 2017
Tips for choosing a Fertility Clinic
When choosing a fertility clinic, there are some important factors consider:
1. What services are offered at the clinic
Research the services the clinic offers and ensure the treatment options suit your requirements. Some clinics offer a full range of services and other clinics offer a limited amount of services. Some clinics offer additional services such as counselling, nutrition advice etc., if these services are important to you, ensure the clinic offers these and enquire about costs. Some clinic will offer these services at additional costs while others offer them free of charge.
2. What are the Success Rates
It is important to research the success rates of the clinic and how successful are they treating people in your age category. It is important to understand the data presented when comparing 'success rates' between clinics. Often pregnancy rates can be quoted and these will always be higher than live birth rates. 'Live birth ' rate is the number or percentage of live births that resulted from the total number of successful embryo transfers. Because live births can be calculated as a percentage of cycles started, egg collections or embryo transfers, it is very important to compare like with like when reviewing results.
Reporting of annual statistics is mandatory in the USA and UK and unfortunately there is no requirement by Irish law to report annual statistics. You can benchmark the success rates of an Irish clinics to those in the UK and USA and compare the industry average. Success rates can be found on the clinics website, if they are not available you need to ask why they are not published.
3. How convenient is the clinic to where you work/live?
It is important that the fertility clinic you attend is accessible to where you work/live as you may require a number of appointments (approx. 6 per IVF cycle). Choosing an accessible clinic will reduce your travel times, cost of travel, leave from work and stress. As fertility treatment can be a stressful journey it is important to ensure you make the process as streamlined and stress free as possible. Also, be aware of the clinics opening times. Can you receive treatment early morning/week-end’s. A clinic offering a seven day service with extended opening hours can reduce stress, absence from work etc.
4. Patient testimonials
Are the patient testimonials available to read? These can normally be viewed on the company website. Visit fertility chat rooms and reputable blogging sites and ask people of their experience with the clinic and get a feel for what others are saying about the clinic. Ask the clinic do they have a former patient who is willing to talk to you about their experience. Also, if you know someone who has been through the journey, ask them about their experience.
5. Is the clinic routinely inspected by an authorized body?
Has the clinic been regulated and audited by the HPRA (The Health Products Regulatory Body)? What standards does the clinic adhere to? How often are internal and external audits carried out?
6. First Impressions
Did you speak to a member of staff at a clinic or meet them in person. What was your impression? Does the clinic offer a personal service focused on your needs? It is important you feel comfortable with the clinic and team prior to embarking on the journey. Ensure the clinic offers support via email/phone etc. should you have any questions during your treatment. You want to feel that you are important to the clinic and they are with you every step of the way.
7. Equipment and Facility
How dynamic is the clinic? Is their equipment up-to-date and are staff trained with latest techniques? What research and development is being conducted at the clinic or what studies/trials are being done?
Before choosing a clinic, it is important to be aware of the full cost of treatment. Some clinics have additional costs or add-ons such as blood tests and these can all add up to be quite expensive. Ensure that the clinic will only carry out necessary tests and treatment and will not perform or recommend unnecessary expensive tests. As this is both an emotional and financial journey it is important to be aware of costs so there are not any surprises.