What is the best way to choose a fertility clinic?
You might think that the most sensible decision is to choose the clinic with the best success rates. This is not as easy as it sounds. You could go to every clinic’s website and look at their published figures. Unfortunately you will find that every single one says that they are above average; this is mathematically impossible. Better to go to the regulator, the HFEA? Yes, but they state that the results for all clinics are the same with any headline variations explained by statistical variation, patient selection criteria, treatments offered, patient mix, etc. So if you choose the clinic whose website impresses the most, you are probably just choosing the one with the most expensive advertising budget.
Fertility Clinic Location and opening times?
You are likely to have to travel to the clinic several times. You would have a consultation & investigations, then you may prefer to try a gentle treatment with a low success rate two or three times before trying anything more invasive. And within each treatment you will usually need to come in for monitoring scans several times. Choose a clinic where this best suits your schedule.
Do you prefer a large clinic or a small one? By its very nature infertility is personal and usually stressful. Do you prefer to “disappear into the machine” or see a small team of familiar faces? Also, do you prefer to go to a clinic that is part of a commercial group or one that is independently run by your doctor? Remember, the statistics noted above state that the success rates of a clinic are not influenced by its size. Concept is a small, independent clinic.
Did you get a good/bad feeling when you ‘phoned your clinic? Many clinics, including Concept Fertility, hold free monthly Open Mornings where you can see the clinic and hear the doctor speak about the treatments offered. We also hold monthly Patient Support Groups where patients in treatment can meet others in a similar position. Trust your own judgement.
Have you got a friend who has experience of a fertility clinic? One in six couples has got such experience so there is a good chance that you do have such a friend. Some people consider it a private matter whilst others share. It’s worth listening to such a friend or your GP if they are willing to give you advice.
Check the websites, ask around, but at the end of the day there is no right answer; it is your decision so trust your own judgement.