Fertility Clinics - Top 20 Questions to Askby Marina Nicholas | November 27, 2006 9:42 AM
Visiting a fertility clinic for the first time can be a daunting experience. You have just come to terms with the fact that having a baby may be more difficult than you initially thought and now you have to find the right team of people to help you successfully become pregnant. With so many fertility clinics offering their services, how do you know which one to choose?
Often a doctor or gynaecologist will provide a recommendation or referral to you. This is a great place to start, however you should research all your options before making your final choice. Choosing the right team of people to help you get pregnant is one of the most important decisions you will make and therefore spending time evaluating several fertility clinics is always worthwhile.
Like any major decision in life you should look at the decision making process from all aspects. For example, when buying a house, you may look the house layout, how many bedrooms, size of the garden as well as who the neighbours are, the proximity to shops and even links to main roads. This approach should also be applied to the major decision of choosing a fertility clinic. My advice is to look at five key areas: the history of the clinic, the success rate, types of treatment, cost of treatment and service. Many people make the mistake of focusing on only one aspect. Sure, rank tables will provide a great insight into a clinic’s track record and personal recommendations are always valuable. However, is it the right clinic for you as a couple? We are all different people in different situations and what suits one couple may not suit another.
There are twenty key questions which will help narrow down your choice. You may choose to ask them over the telephone or wait until the initial consultation to ask them face to face. Either way, you will have a clearer idea of how to make a decision and progress to choosing the right clinic. These questions will help you make a logical, informed choice rather than a desperate decision based on emotions at a time when you are most vulnerable. Good Luck!
1. How long has the clinic been established?
2. How many treatments are carried out a year?
3. Are there any restrictions to treatment at the clinic? Age? Negative screening for AIDS tests, Hepatitis B and C? Overweight (BMI must be less than 30)?
4. Does the clinic offer genetic screening for Downs Syndrome, cystic fibrosis or other genetically transmitted diseases?
5. What is the live birth rate per treatment cycle started, per egg collection,
per embryo transfer?
6. How many pregnancies resulted in multiple births? Singletons? Triplets?
7. What percentage of live embryo transfers were carried out versus frozen embryo transfers?
8. What tests will I need to have before treatment is commenced?
9. Why do I need to have each test?
10. What is the process? How many days will it take?
11. How soon can I start treatment? Waiting times?
12. How many times will I need to visit the clinic? Daily? Twice a day? Take time off work?
13. Will there be any side effects from the treatment?
14. What will happen if we don’t achieve pregnancy? How long before we can try again?
15. What is the cost of treatment? Cost of drugs? Cost of tests?
16. What payment methods do you accept?
17. How often will we be billed?
18. Will we see the same doctor/ team members throughout the treatment?
19. Is the clinic open every day including weekends and Bank Holidays?
20. What counselling and/ or patient support group is available to us?
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