Finding out you need IVF treatment to start, or add to, your family can be a very overwhelming experience and undergoing fertility treatment can be difficult. Choosing the best fertility clinic for you will have a big impact on your overall experience.
At CREATE Fertility, we believe every woman deserves the opportunity to become a mother and that you have a right to receive accurate and honest information, regardless of which clinic you decide to go to.
If you are looking to undergo treatment, here is what you should consider when choosing the best fertility clinic for you:
What are the costs?
Most fertility clinics focus on offering conventional IVF, which requires high amounts of stimulatory drugs and lengthy protocols. Combined with additional costly interventions, the cost per cycle often rockets to tens of thousands.
Following the investigation carried out by BBC Panorama, it was brought to light that many clinics are also recommending unproven add-ons, such as reproductive immunology, which can add thousands of pounds to the cost without any proven benefit. It’s no surprise there are women who end up paying up to £70,000 in their pursuit of becoming a mother.
CREATE’s approach to fertility treatment, is very different. We only offer Natural and Mild IVF, focusing on protocols which do not need unnecessary drugs and add-ons without compromising success rates. Our milder approach reduces the cost compared to conventional fertility treatment, due to the reduction in drugs. Our fertility clinics have consistently been some of the lowest cost in the UK.
What treatments are offered?
We place an emphasis on quality rather than quantity to achieve the best result in IVF treatment. We use advanced ultrasound scanning, to give a comprehensive overview of a woman’s fertility. This enables us to make sure that any treatment we give is personalised to your needs, and that we can avoid unnecessary drugs and treatment.
Natural Cycle IVF and Modified Natural IVF are carried out with the aim to collect one egg that has been naturally selected and matured. This focus is aimed at trying to collect a healthy, high quality egg and is most useful in women who have low ovarian reserve. This means that they don’t have lots of high quality eggs, and so aiming for quality rather than quantity is our way to produce a better result. We have some of the best results with low ovarian reserve patients in the UK.
With Mild IVF we give low doses of stimulation in order to achieve a mild response, with the aim of collect a small cohort of high quality eggs. Using this approach, we have achieved excellent success rates, which are some of the best in the UK.
Most other fertility clinics offer conventional IVF, which is an approach based on quantity. This is achieved with lots of stimulatory drugs, with the aim of collecting 15 eggs. We believe that this approach is old-fashioned and unnecessary, as not only does it cost more, present more side-effects and result in longer treatment, but also, when compared like for like with Mild IVF, doesn’t produce better results.
For patients with fertilisation issues, such as male factor infertility, we offer the treatment Intra-Cytoplasmic Injection (ICSI). In IVF, sperm and egg fertilise through natural selection; with ICSI, one of our embryologists selects a sperm and injects this into the egg. This helps to give a better chance of normal fertilisation in those with a fertilisation issue.
For patients wishing to have the least invasive form of treatment possible intra-uterine insemination, or IUI, is a good option. It can be carried out within your normal cycle without the need for medication or any invasive procedure. IUI involves directly inserting specially washed sperm into a woman’s womb at the most fertile point in the cycle.
We also have access to fresh and frozen donor sperm and eggs for patients who need the help of donors to conceive.
Understanding success rates
When choosing an IVF clinic, we understand that patients consider success rates as a very important factor. The presentation of success rates can often be misleading and it is necessary to be very careful in interpreting whether they are relevant for you.
The first thing to consider is what treatment type is being examined as every patient is unique and requires an individualised treatment. For example, stimulated IVF and natural cycles are two different types of treatment for different patients groups; their success rates should be measured separately. Then, you need to look at exactly what is being measured; are they looking at clinical pregnancy (foetal heartbeat) or live births, are they measuring success per cycle, per patient or per embryo transfer? Factors such as these can have a huge impact on the ultimate meaning of the figures.
In addition, the figures for each clinic depend heavily on the cohort of patients treated in terms of age group, ovarian reserve and any other prognostic factors. While the NHS and most clinics have selection criteria for their patients, often turning away older women, women with low AMH levels or high FSH results, at CREATE we take pride in not having any selection criteria. Notwithstanding our cohort, we have a strong set of success rates. Here are some of our success rates:
Over stimulation and down regulation?
High stimulation IVF, offered by most clinics, involves suppressing your natural menstrual cycle, boosting you ovaries to produce more eggs than they naturally would and helping them to mature; each step involves high doses of drugs and medication. The medication can cause menopausal symptoms, headaches and Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (nausea, vomiting, free fluid, short breathing, and difficulty to pass urine).
Our patients often describe our approach to IVF as easier as and less stressful than the type described above. Our milder stimulation protocols involve fewer fertility drugs, fewer stressful injections, and fewer side-effects and therefore reduced stress. It also means that the length of treatment can be reduced from 4-6 weeks to only 2 weeks.
The common misconception is that more eggs mean more embryos and therefore better chances for a baby. However there is considerable scientific evidence to show that embryos produced from IVF cycles with lower stimulation are of higher quality than those produced in conventional IVF. The old adage that quality is more important than quantity applies in IVF.
It is also very important to bear in mind that Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS) is a common, potentially serious complication of fertility treatment. OHSS is caused by fertility medication used to stimulate egg growth and in severe cases it can result in serious illness and death. Our fertility clinics have made a commitment to minimise the incidence of OHSS and other complications of IVF. At CREATE, we are very proud to say that we have never had any cases of severe OHSS and with our mild approaches, have been able to maintain a record of safety and success.
Lastly, we understand that when it comes to fertility time is of the essence, so if you decide to see us you can do so right away; we do not have waiting lists. At our clinic you do not have to wait at all, we will simply work within your natural menstrual cycle. This means that most women are able to start treatment as soon as their next cycle!
If you’d like to see one of our consultants, just give us a call on 0333 240 7300 or come along to a free open evening.