Finding out that you have a problem with your fertility can feel overwhelming.
Working out whether IVF should be your next step is difficult. Many women struggle to imagine how they would cope with the side effects associated with conventional IVF. Evaluating competing clinics’ claims on success rates and treatment options can be complex and stressful, and all the while you are conscious that time is ticking away.
If you do decide to go ahead, choosing a fertility clinic that will respond to you as an individual and offer the treatment that is right for you is really important.
At CREATE Fertility, we believe every woman deserves the opportunity to become a biological mother. We believe that you have a right to accurate and honest information about the treatment options open to you, and your likely chance of success. And we have proved that successful IVF is possible with lower doses of medication or no medication at all, and fewer of the side effects and health risks typically seen in conventional IVF.
Selecting the right clinic is one of the most important decisions you will ever have to make. There’s so much to consider. Here we run through some of the key factors to weigh up:
What treatments are offered?
Conventional IVF uses drug protocols that shut down your normal menstrual cycle through a process called ‘down-regulation’ and boost your ovaries to produce more eggs than they would naturally. Patients take medication for around four weeks, often via daily injections. The focus is on maximising the quantity of eggs collected before implantation. The medication can cause menopause-like symptoms, and in some cases ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome (with symptoms including nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, or difficulty passing urine).
CREATE specialises in Natural and Mild IVF. In Natural and Modified Natural IVF we collect eggs that your body has naturally selected and matured. Natural IVF requires no medication and Modified Natural, just three to four days of injections or tablets. This treatment is most useful in women who have low ovarian reserve and those who are older. We aim for quality rather than quantity in terms of eggs and embryos, which allows us to achieve results as good as or above the national average for IVF for this group of women, but without the associated side effects and health risks. We have some of the best results with low ovarian reserve patients in the UK.
For Mild IVF we give stimulation in order to achieve a mild response, with the aim of collecting a small number of high-quality eggs. There’s no down-regulation, shorter treatment time (up to two weeks rather than three to four weeks) and significantly reduced side effects, compared to conventional IVF.
There’s a common belief that collecting more eggs will mean more embryos, and therefore a better chance of a successful pregnancy. In fact, there is considerable scientific evidence to show that embryos produced from IVF cycles with lower stimulation can be of higher quality than those produced from conventional IVF, and that a high proportion of embryos created in conventional IVF can have chromosomal abnormalities.
Your health and well-being are at the heart of our approach. We use advanced ultrasound scanning to give a comprehensive overview of your fertility so we can personalise treatment to your needs, and avoid unnecessary drugs.
It’s important to know that the clinic you choose can offer all the fertility options you might need.
We cover the full range of treatments for patients with fertilisation issues, such as male factor infertility, including Intra-Cytoplasmic Injection (ICSI) where our embryologists select an individual sperm and inject it into the egg, rather than relying on natural selection. We also offer intra-uterine insemination (IUI), the least invasive form of treatment, which is carried out within your normal cycle and involves directly inserting specially washed sperm into your womb when you are most fertile.
For women who need it, we have access to fresh and frozen donor sperm, and eggs for patients who need the help of donors to conceive.
Understanding success rates
Quite rightly, you want to be sure that the clinic you choose has a successful track record, but it can be difficult to analyse and compare the data that different providers publish.
Is the clinic, for example, recording pregnancies or live births, success per cycle, per patient, per embryo transfer or even per embryo transferred. Are you comparing the results for the same type of treatment? Are the results verified by the HFEA? It’s also important to think about the selection of patients – including their age and ovarian reserve. Many clinics will turn away older women or those with low egg reserves (factors which affect success rates), but we do not apply criteria like these.
We are proud of our results and try to make it as easy as possible for you to understand and evaluate what we achieve. Our results are verified by the HFEA and even though we do not use selection criteria to choose our patients, we achieve success rates equivalent to or better than the national average across every age group. [Link to success rates]
If you are struggling to make sense of the data, it may be reassuring to know that the HFEA advises that most clinics are broadly as successful as each other, and differences between success rates are usually down to the types of patients treated. Once you have established that the clinics you are considering have success rates in line with the national average – the key is finding the one that offers treatments that suit you as an individual and will put your health and wellbeing first.
What are the costs?
With some clinics, it can be difficult to understand at the start of the process how much your treatment will end up costing.
Unfortunately, many clinics have been found recommending unproven add-ons, such as reproductive immunology, which can add thousands of pounds to the cost but have no scientifically proven benefit and carry health risks for women.
Because we specialise in Mild and Natural IVF that do not rely on unnecessary drugs and add-ons, our approach is unique. We do our best to offer clear pricing information from the outset, and detail on the costs of the treatment that is most suitable for you on the basis of an individual consultation.
We understand that when it comes to your fertility, time is of the essence. We do not have waiting lists and can see you whenever you are ready. We will simply work with your natural menstrual cycle and 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.