How to choose a clinic?

I'm just at the start of my IVF journey & have been asked to choose a clinic from a list (I'm very lucky & am NHS funded - for now). There's quite a few to choose from & I'm feeling completely lost about what I should be looking for/what makes a good clinic etc. I've looked at success rates, but they are all broadly similar.

Any advice would be much appreciated!

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Whereabouts in the country are you? We are not allowed to discuss clinics in the main boards but someone might be able to PM you with personal feedback?

General stats for your age group/problem being similar (there are some quite in depth stats on the hfea website) then I would look at how far away the clinics are and what their opening hours are like. You have to do some stuff at quite short notice so being closer to home/your work place decreases stress and also the amount of time it takes out of your life! Same goes for ease of parking! Sounds minor but small things seem stressful when you're on those ivf drugs...

You could also look at prices if you think you might go for a private round after your nhs round if the nhs one fails (hopefully won't be necessary but worth considering).

I would also ring and ask them how long their waiting lists are and how soon you would be likely to start treatment if you don't already have this info. You might also want to ask how long on average people wait for a follow up appointment at the end of an unsuccessful cycle because I know some people on here have had to wait a long time after a bfn.

Hope that's helpful x

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Thank you - that is really helpful!

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All good advice from @Lizzielizzielizzie Also, you could go to visit the clinics in your area for a free 1 to 1 information session. It gives you a feel for the place and how they are organised. X

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Thank you. I'll definitely see if I can visit some on my shortlist. :)

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Good advice from lizzie, make sure they will offer you ICSI on your first attempt, and they do all the proper blood tests first - including a Thyroid Function Test. My private clinic said I needed ICSI (where the inject the sperm into the egg) but my NHS clinic (being free) wouldn't offer it to me and I think that played a large part. When I returned to my private clinic to pay, they said "what a waste of your time. No wonder it didn't work". I'm just saying, any treatment is emotionally and physically draining so try and get the best possible 'chance'.

Also, with the 'Thyroid Function Test'. I paid for mine, but it was only done after I had 3 weeks of ivf drugs, Endo scratch under sedation and was just a few days before embryo transfer. My 'cycle' was stopped as my results were too high. Please ask for this test first. I wouldn't want you to 'waste' an attempt like I did. Best wishes x

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Thank you. That's so helpful. It's really overwhelming not even knowing what questions to ask, let alone what you want the answer to be! Really appreciate the advice 😊

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It is overwhelming. This is only my experience/ suggestions based on what I've had. I've been to 2 clinics. Had 5 tries - but I'm quite old now so don't worry about that lol:)

Look at results for each clinic and compare (most I would imagine are similar). Ask what tests they do first - ensure they do a Thyroid Function Test. Some say it's not necessary, but if you do fall pregnant you can have complications before 12 weeks including miscarriage etc which happened to me. Even if it's to 'rule it out' that you're fine.

1) Go for ICSI rather than IUI if possible

2) Try and insist on an Endo scratch before implantation - it's supposed to help implantation. Even if you have to pay for this it's worth it.

3) If you have any eggs, or embryos make sure they can freeze them.

4) Find out, if your first cycle should 'fail' and they can use any frozen embryos after that - would that 'still be included in your first cycle, or would that be you're second?) Hope that makes sense.

Relax, think positive vibes and look after your health. You'll do fine xx

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