How to choose a fertility clinic
Some advice for comparing clinics and finding the right one for you
Step 1: Compare like-for-like
We recommend that you begin by looking at each clinic’s success rates and what they are considering to be a “success”. Each clinic should clearly show the pregnancy rate and live birth rate (the number of babies born) for each age group. Some fertility clinics can exaggerate their success rates by highlighting certain statistics (like “positive test”) or very particular age groups or for a very small time window (e.g. six months a few years ago).
If you are comparing two clinics, make sure that the success rates they offer are the same (especially what they mean by “pregnancy” – do they mean a positive pregnancy test, or a heart beat on the ultrasound at 8 weeks?) If the clinic you are considering doesn’t have their live birth rate on their site, as them for it. A baby born is the ultimate measure of success.
Step 2: What experience does the medical team have?
Not all doctors have the same experience. Choose a clinic that only employs doctors and other medical staff with long, proven records in fertility medicine. You want to be treated by a medical team that is passionate about fertility and have dedicated their lives to treating patients in this area.
Step 3: Ask about the clinic’s laboratory
Not all laboratories are the same either. Embryos are incredibly delicate and must be treated with the upmost care. You want a clinic that will have an outstanding laboratory with the latest equipment. Clinics that invest in their equipment are investing in their patients. Following from this, while a clinic might have top of the range equipment, they need to match that with the staff that knows how to use it. Clinics that have scientists and technicians that are experienced and highly trained will absolutely achieve better results.
Step 4: Avoid any clinic that puts you under pressure
Fertility treatment is private healthcare and clinics that are not independent and run by large multinationals do have sales targets: they have teams to maximise revenue from patients. It is important to judge for yourself if a clinic is driven by profit or care. Never go with a clinic that will – even subtly – pressure you into anything.
Step 5: Talk about the cost
Always discuss costs: you are paying for your treatment and should never be embarrased to bring it up. Are the costs clear? Is everything included? If a cost sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Fertility treatment can be expensive and you cannot plan if the clinic you are with is not up front about the cost, or suggests expensive add-on investigations. Make sure you are given a realistic picture of what you will have to pay and when.
Step 6: Investigate the clinic’s R&D programme
One of the best ways of judging a clinic is to review its track record and if it also engages in scientific research and development (R&D). Is the clinic interested in continuous improvement? Does it push boundaries? Clinics that invest in research tend to have better results and will be more concerned with your care than their bottom line.
Step 7: Seek clear information and free advice
Can you understand what the clinics are saying to you? Any good clinic will offer advice that is simple, honest and clear. As these are complicated procedures, you want to make sure you know what’s happening at every point and are comfortable asking questions: will this clinic support you through your journey? Do they have supports in place to make the journey easy for you? In the end, it’s important to choose a clinic that will provide results, but that will also care for you.