Fertility Network UK

Local NHS vs London private clinic

Hey ladies! For those of you who've had IVF, really interested to get your thoughts on this dilemma.

Today we went to see a private clinic in London with amazing results, and if we wanted to we could start next cycle. We live in Suffolk so I'll need to be travelling here before and after work (I work in Canary Wharf, but on the other side of London).

We are also on the list for NHS treatment at a clinic 10 miles away from our home but I've had no info on when we could start. The results at this clinic are in line with the UK average but much lower than the London clinic.

So my dilemma is which clinic. Pay for the London one now but get very tired with all the travelling - they want daily or sometimes twice daily bloods. Or go with the local clinic, but have to wait possibly a long time before we can start?

14 Replies

Hi Sparkly. I think (cruelly) NHS or private comes down to age, affordability and patience. I had all my tests done on the NHS at 34 and was naive at the the time as to the guidelines. It took nearly a year to get to the point of 'unexplained fertility' then to be told 'you're on your own' as hubby as a child from a previous relationship! Therefore we had no choice other than to go private.

I too am with a private clinic in London and I know it's now easy for me to say but wish I'd gone private from the very start! (Maybe we will even meet one day!)

People will have awesome experiences of the NHS but I unfortunately didn't. Too much work, not enough people, I got the impression I was just another number and that didn't make me feel great in the circumstances. Also as I said it took a year.

Ultimately Hun you know you lol. What do you want. Do you have good doctors, clinics and communication on the NHS and the patience to potentially wait a year or more or do you want to crack on and hopefully have the opportunity to have a baby sooner rather than later.

Wishing you lots of luck Hun. This forum is always here for good advice. We each have different opinions & advice we throw out to one another which will then hopefully able you to make the right choices for you. Xxx


What is the price range in this clinic ,,,, am going private @ St barts but yet to get an appointment, am really fed up as i am now 42yrs


Hi Anncor. The clinic I'm with in London is approximately £3500-£4000 which I think is reasonable in comparison to others. Let me know if you want to chat anymore about it and I'll give you my email Hun.

I got an appointment straight away & haven't been waiting around for anything. Xx


Thanks for taking the time to reply. Sounds as if you made the right choice to go private I might PM you to ask the name of you clinic if that's ok?

My experience of the NHS is pretty bad - took 2 years to find my endometriosis, lost my husband sperm results, filled in all the wrong forms for IVF. So not sure why I'm even considering it other than the NHS route for us is also a private clinic so I'm hoping things are better there.


Hi Sparkly,

I had to go private due to my age (40 at the time of referral) and my local CCG cut off age was 39. I naively thought that all hospitals adhered to NICE guidelines. Also if I did qualify for funding I would have been given 1 cycle of IVF, so paying for 1 cycle of IVF would have been okay, but I am now awaiting to start my FET in March after 2 failed IVF cycles . Oh I am not complaining, this is my journey and my choice to pay £ to have a child.

You have probably already thought of this but, If you go private now, can you then claim your free 1? cycle on the NHS later if you need to?. IVF treatment is such a lottery, you may be successful the first time or it may take a few more goes.

Good luck with everything!



Hey, yep we qualify for 3 rounds on the NHS and for every private round we do they knock off an NHS round if that makes sense.

One of the big things swaying me to private is the fact they'll implant 2 eggs. My ideal would be to have twins and then I can sort out my endo once and for all and not have to go through the hell of IVF all over again. Hmmmm so much to think about!


If you can find out the waiting times you could use the NHS as a "practice" run and give all your hospital notes to your private clinic. Then at least you will have a base line for them. I took a copy of my file to a private clinic after mine went disastrously. It helped loads and eliminated the need to retest some things which kept costs down a little.


If you can find out the waiting times you could use the NHS as a "practice" run and give all your hospital notes to your private clinic. Then at least you will have a base line for them. I took a copy of my file to a private clinic after mine went disastrously. It helped loads and eliminated the need to retest some things which kept costs down a little.


SparklyT I would agree with film girl. Of course it depends on your age but at least with a free NHS cycle you can get a practice run (assuming it doesn't work and remember every chance it will). Private treatment especially in London isn't cheap and I can guess which clinic you are referring to by how intense the blood test, scans are and good success rate. They all mount up and could cost 9-15K and still not work! But the first cycle is always a test one, because regardless of all your test results they really have no idea how you will respond to drugs.

My first ICSI was NHS and I stupidly stayed with same hospital for self funded ICSI cycle for 2nd go which considering I was 40 was a big mistake because there stats regardless of age were below national average. we are now going private which we should have done for 2nd go.

Also two embryo transfer doesn't guarantee twins, good luck with what ever you decide.

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How far through the nhs ivf referral are you?

I know every area CCG is different, but we were told we would hear back from the clinic directly within two weeks of the referral paperwork being sent to them.

We got our acceptance letter and had an initial consultation 3 weeks later. That was on 5th November and next week is looking to be our collection date :-)

Personally for us, we decided to go the nhs route first and if we then need to go private after, we've got some experience and further info behind us. Just bear in mind that you are likely not to get ivf funding if you have kids from natural or private ivf attempts and getting 3 nhs cycles funded is amazing!

Have you looked on the hfea website to see what it says about both the clinics you are looking at? They should also outline the private/nhs waiting times.

Have you checked to see if the NHS clinic is holding an open day for you to have a look around?

Don't be scared to ring up the people who sent your referral off to see what the turnaround time normally is and you could always ring the clinic to ask them if your referral has been received.

The less stress during ivf the better... be it financial, working, travelling etc

I've been pretty tired with the medication and haven't really suffered with many side effects. I know people do travel further afield, but I'm so grateful that our clinic is relatively local to home which allows me to inject at home, take minimum time off work for appointments, allows my husband to attend the appointments as well and I can fit in other things like acupuncture.

Sadly it's a difficult decision to make and only you/partner can make that final decision which you have to be happy with.

Good luck with what you decide x

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Thanks for all that information, really useful.

My GP has sent the referral to our local hospital which apparently has to 'approve' the application before it's sent to the clinic. This happened about 10 days ago, so I'm being very impatient! Unfortunately my GP is worse than useless so they haven't been able it give me any info on timings, but the NHS clinic have said that as soon as they receive our application, we're good to go!

I'm think I'm veering towards the NHS route or at least a clinic that is nearer to my work. I have a pretty full on job in London and there is a clinic quite close to my work which would make my life easier.

Good luck for your collection! Xx


If your job is full on will you be considering taking time off around certain points of the ivf? Just another thing to think about incase you are then having to travel into London just to go to the clinic when you are off....

Did your gp send you a copy of the final referral paperwork that has been sent off? Ours did, but I don't know if that is the norm...they said that way we would have an idea of when the two weeks start.

On our ivf form we only had a choice of 3 clinics near home, so I don't know if you'll be able to transfer it to use in london?


Hey, sorry didn't make myself very clear. If we went to a London clinic we'll have to pay privately!

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hi I think it depends on waiting times, your ages and costs. Ours was neally 10K as partner needed a SSR which was another 2 K+ then I needed highest drugs with having a very low AMH... however it worked so it was worth it.

Just a thought with the 2 implants and twins statement. I opted for only one (at blastocyst stage) to be implanted because the risk of miscarriage which was quoted to be 1 in 6 doubles with twins plus all the other complications I didn't think it was worth the risk compared to one health baby.. good luck with whatever you decide.


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