How to choose a fertility clinic
Step one: compare like-for-like
We recommend that you begin by looking at how each clinic you are considering calculates its success rates. Are they clearly representing pregnancy rates and live birth rates for each age group? Could they be exaggerating their success rates by choosing to highlight certain statistics and not others? If you are considering two different clinics, then make sure that you are comparing like-for-like. For example, what does a pregnancy mean? A visable sac or ectopic pregnancy or a clinical pregnancy with an actual fetal heart. Do they talk about live birth rates, if not ask.
Step two: what experience does the medical team have?
Not all doctors are equal. Choose a clinic that only employs doctors and other medical staff with long, proven records in fertility. You want to be treated by a medical team that is passionately interested in the topic and well trained.
Step three: ask about the clinic’s laboratory
Huge improvements have been made in laboratory equipment in recent years, but at a price. To offer just one example, an embryoscope plus costs over €150,000. Choose a clinic that is investing in the latest, state-of-the-art equipment and the scientists and technicians who know how to use it. All things being equal, such a clinic will achieve better results.
Step four: avoid any clinic that pressures you
Clinics run by large multinationals have sales targets. Their marketing and finance teams will be working out ways to maximise revenue. You must judge for yourself to what extent a clinic is driven by profit. But we recommend choosing a clinic that makes the cost absolutely clear from day one and which never – even subtly – pressures you into anything.
Step five: talk about the cost
You should not be embarrassed to discuss the cost. Remember, what can seem inexpensive can turn out to be more costly in the long term. One thing to watch for is ‘extras’ (such as investigations) added along the way. Make sure you are given a realistic picture of what you will have to pay and when.
Step six: investigate the clinic’s R&D programme
One of the best ways of judging a clinic is to review its track record and R&D programme. Is it interested in continuous improvement? Clinics that invest in research will be less concerned with their bottom line, and much more likely to serve your best interests.
Step seven: Seek clear information and free advice
Choose a clinic that offers easy to understand advice and information and with whom you feel comfortable.