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Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

Find the answers to the most commonly asked questions about IVF treatment

If you have a specific question not answered below please contact our experienced team who will be happy to help.

If you have a specific question not answered below please contact our experienced team who will be happy to help.

Get the answers you need

Many patients, understandably, have a lot of questions before attending a clinic appointment.

We have collated some of the most frequent of these so that you can find out as much as you wish to before coming in to the clinic.

Initial Consultation    
Do I need to come at a certain point in my cycle?

No, you do not need to come at a particular point in your menstrual cycle. You can come in for your appointment when you are on your period as long as you are comfortable.

Should I bring anything with me?

If you or your partner (if applicable) have had any previous investigations such as blood tests and semen analyses in the last 12-24 months, please bring these along to your appointment. These tests may provide the team with useful additional information about your circumstances.

Do I need to bring my partner?

It is not obligatory. However, it is likely to assist our diagnosis and treatment if they are in attendance. This is especially the case if they need to have investigations themselves e.g. semen analysis. If they are not able to attend it may be necessary to arrange a subsequent visit for your partner.

When do I receive my test results?

When you come in for your Initial Consultation you will receive your results of your scan on the day of your appointment.

If I have a coil, does this need to be removed?

If you are planning treatment and you have a coil, then you will need to have this removed prior to your treatment.

How long are my scan results valid for?

Your scan results are valid for 3 months. This is to ensure that the results and recommendations are up-to-date.

What do I do if I need donor sperm?

If you are having treatment with donor sperm from our clinic, we will help to match you to a suitable donor and help you to fill in the required consent forms. If you are using donor sperm from an outside source they will give you advice on how to transfer this over to the clinic.

What if I need an egg donor?

If you need egg donation treatment, your treatment process will progress differently to that of a non-egg donation patient. After your Initial Consultation and Scan your next step is to book an Egg Recipient Initial Consultation (ERIC) which will be with one of our specialist egg donation nurses. During this appointment you will be given donor matching forms and receive in-depth information about our egg donation services.

How can I access counselling if I decide to go ahead with treatment?

You can get contact details of an independent counsellor from your clinic team.

What’s the first step to IVF?

The first step is for you to come in for an advance scan and a consultation. These both occur in a one hour-long appointment. The first half of the appointment is the scan; this is an internal scan with an advanced 3D Doppler scanner and will help us assess the blood flow in the ovaries, follicles and womb as well as checking ovarian reserve. We perform a 3D scan to assess the cavity of the womb to rule out any problems for implantation. They will also check for obstructions such as cysts and polyps. Following straight on from the scan you will have your appointment where the doctor will go through the results and your medical history and devise a personalised treatment plan for you based on these.

Do I have to come for the scan on a particular day of my cycle?
No, you can come for the scan on any day of the cycle, including during your period if you are comfortable with this - it doesn’t make any difference from the scanning point of view.

Do I have to have the scan done again if I’ve had one elsewhere?
We request that every patient have a scan within 3 months before starting any treatment. It is at the doctor’s discretion whether they will accept a scan from another clinic; however most doctors prefer to have a scan performed at CREATE because our doctors have been highly trained in scanning methods and will be able to assess multiple aspects of your fertility. Our scanners are 3D Doppler scanners and look at the blood flow in the ovaries and womb as well as checking ovarian reserve.

Should I bring anything with me?
If you have medical notes, from previous treatment for example, you can send copies of these to us in advance to be added to your file. Otherwise you do not need to bring anything with you.

What is Natural IVF?

Natural IVF, also known as Natural Cycle IVF, is a form of IVF treatment which is significantly gentler on the body compared to conventional IVF. Natural IVF doesn’t use any stimulating drugs, and Natural Modified IVF uses just a short course of stimulating drugs. 

Natural cycle IVF works within a woman’s own natural cycle, rather than shutting down the cycle (downregulation) and re-starting it with high stimulation drugs. It aims to collect the one egg that has been naturally selected and matured by the body, and the fertilised egg/embryo is placed back into the lining of the womb. Natural IVF is therefore the closest that IVF treatment can get to natural fertilisation. This approach is based on a focus on quality rather than quantity. Natural IVF is most suitable for women with low ovarian reserve, low AMH or high FSH.

Read more about Natural IVF here.

What is Mild IVF?

Mild IVF focusses on quality rather than quantity of eggs, is conducted within a woman's natural cycle and uses lower doses of stimulating drugs. Mild IVF uses a short 5-9 day course of stimulating drugs to achieve a mild response.

Mild IVF is designed to be gentler on the body with fewer side effects. The short protocols with lower doses of drugs mean that the stress and duration of treatment and potential side effects are reduced. 

Read more about Mild IVF here.

Should I do Natural or Mild IVF?

This depends on your own set of circumstances, and the doctor will be able to tell you what’s most suitable in the Initial Scan and Consultation. At this appointment the doctor will do an internal scan with a 3D scanner, which will look at your ovaries and ovarian reserve, the womb lining and the blood flow to these. They will then go through your medical history and devise a treatment plan based on your scan and medical history.

Usually older patients or those with a low ovarian reserve will be advised to go for Natural or Natural Modified IVF. Mild Stimulation IVF works well for women with a good ovarian reserve, and it has excellent success rates.

Do you have selection criteria?

We accept any women up to the age of 50. We do not have any cut-off for AMH levels, and we will try to achieve fertility treatment for a woman with their own eggs if it is possible. We have had patients with AMH levels under 1 have healthy babies with their own eggs.

What is the process?

The first step is to come in for an Initial Scan and Consultation. At this appointment the doctor will assess your situation and devise a personalised treatment plan. After this, you will come in before the start of your period to meet with a nurse. They will talk you through your treatment, give you your medication and teach you how to take it and go through the consent forms with you. You will then call up on the first day of your period (day 1) to book in your first scan. This will probably be on day 5 or 6, but could be earlier or later depending on the advice of the doctor. After the first scan, there will be around 2 or 3 more scans, usually performed every other day. The egg collection is usually performed on around day 12; this is carried out under sedation, and is followed by the embryo transfer a few days later.

How long does it take?

After the first scan, the treatment takes approximately 2 weeks.

Is there a waiting list?

No, there is no waiting list. There are usually Initial Consultations available within a week. Starting the treatment depends on your cycle, as it will begin after your period starts. This means we can usually start at the beginning of your next cycle.

What are the success rates?

Our success rates vary depending on the age of the patient and the type of treatment.

You can find more about success rates here.

Can I improve my chance of success?

We offer a number of technologies that might improve your chances of conceiving successfully with IVF treatment. Please discuss with a consultant to check whether any of these might be beneficial to you.

IVM: In-vitro maturation (IVM) is a pioneering technology that can be used in conjunction with Natural IVF to create more embryos. Natural IVF aims to collect one mature egg, but with IVM smaller immature follicles can also be collected and matured in the lab.

IVF with donor sperm    
Who is this treatment suitable for?

IVF treatment with donor sperm is most suitable for couples with a male infertility factor, female same-sex couples and single women.

For more information, visit Treatment with Donor Sperm.

Do you have donor sperm?

We work with only recognised and licensed donor banks to provide the best quality sperm. They can give you information on their skin, eye and hair colour and educational background before helping to match you with a donor. We are happy to work with outside sperm banks if you would prefer. It is also possible to use a known donor.

What is the process of having treatment with donor sperm?

The first stage is to come into the clinic for an Initial Consultation. This will include an internal scan for the female undergoing the treatment and a consultation with the doctor for her (and her partner if applicable). This appointment allows the doctor to assess the ovaries and womb and determine the best course of treatment. The next stage will be to meet with a nurse at the nurse’s consultation. At this point the patient(s) can discuss which donor sperm is to be used and the nurse can go through our list of sperm donors with you. If you decide to purchase sperm from an external sperm bank this is perfectly fine; however you will have to arrange for the sperm to be couriered to the clinic. The treatment itself is exactly like our other types of IVF: the female patient will take a suitable combination of drugs for several days before having her eggs collected under sedation. These will then be fertilised with the donor sperm in the lab before being transferred to the woman’s womb a few days later.

If you plan to use a known donor, he will need to go through a series of stages to assess his suitability. It is best to contact us for more details on using a known donor.

IVF with donor eggs    
Do you offer treatment with donor eggs?

Yes, we offer treatment with eggs from UK donors, Spanish donors and known donors. We have our own donor bank to choose from. For people of European descent, we usually do not have a waiting list. We also liaise with a clinic in Spain, so if there are no suitable donors in our donor bank, we can find a donor from the Spanish clinic which has a large selection. If you would like treatment with donor eggs, the first step is to come into the clinic for an Initial Consultation and Scan.

For more information, please visit Egg Donation

What is the process of having treatment with donor eggs?

You will come into the clinic for an Initial Consultation and Scan where the doctor will perform an internal scan to assess your womb and the womb lining. You will then have a consultation where the doctor will go through your medical history and devise a personalised treatment plan. The next step will be to come in for a Treatment Consultation with a nurse. At this point the nurse will discuss your treatment with you and help to match you with a donor. 

Known donor: For treatment with a known donor, you and your donor will take medication for a number of weeks to synchronise your cycles and to encourage the growth of the eggs in the donor’s cycle. Both of you will also come in to the clinic for monitoring scans. The eggs will then be collected from the donor’s ovaries under sedation and mixed with the sperm in the lab. A few days later the fertilised eggs will be transferred into your womb.

UK donor: In the nurses consultation you will go through the list of available donors and the nurse will help to match you with a donor. You will then take medication to thicken the lining of the uterus and prepare it for implantation. Doctors will assess the thickness of the lining with scans every few days. Once you are ready for the embryos to be implanted, the donor eggs will be fertilised with your partner’s sperm in the lab and transferred into your womb.

Are the donors anonymous?

In the UK, a law passed in 2005 means that any donor-conceived children, once they reach the age of 18, have the right to identifying information about the donor.

What are the success rates?

The success rates for treatment with donor eggs are very good; you can read more about success rates here.

What is the Intra-Uterine Insemination (IUI) process?

The first step in IUI treatment is to come into the clinic for an Initial Consultation and Scan. At this point the doctor will perform an internal scan. You (and your partner if applicable) will then have a 30 minute consultation where the doctor will go through your medical history and devise a personalised treatment plan. It is recommended that you undergo a tubal patency test in order to ensure that your fallopian tubes are clear and the sperm is able to reach the egg. You will then come in for a number of scans following the start of your period. These will be used to monitor the growth of the follicles and track ovulation. Once the time is right to perform the IUI, the sperm sample will be washed and prepared before the procedure. The IUI procedure involves introducing the sperm to the uterus through a thin catheter at the correct time of the cycle when the egg is being released.

Do you have donor sperm available for use in IUI?

Yes, we have a bank of donor sperm at the clinic. You can select donor sperm from this bank or arrange for sperm from an external bank to be transferred to the clinic. If you would like to use a known sperm donor, this can also be arranged. 

For more information, visit IUI.

What is ICSI?

ICSI stands for intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection. This refers to when the sperm is directly injected into the egg, rather than the sperm and egg being put in a dish to spontaneously fertilise.

For more information, visit ICSI

Who is ICSI suitable for?

ICSI is generally used for patients where there is a male infertility factor or fertilisation problems.

Do you do PICSI?

Yes, we perform PICSI (Physiological Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection). This technology allows embryologists to select the most suitable sperm to inject into the egg. The sperm can be tested to see how well it binds to Hyaluronan (HA), which is a naturally occurring substance on the surface of the egg. HA can be coated onto a dish, and the embryology team will chose sperm that bind to it. It has been shown that these sperm are more likely to be mature, mobile and healthy.

Egg donation    
Do I get paid for donating my eggs?

You will receive compensation of up to £750 for each egg donation treatment cycle. This payment is to reasonably cover any financial losses you might encounter in connection with your donation.

Will donating my eggs affect my fertility?

It's very unlikely that donating your eggs will have any negative effects on your fertility.

How many times will I need to visit the clinic?

You'll need to come to the clinic between 6 - 10 times.

Does donating eggs hurt?

Taking medication may produce a little discomfort but the egg collection will not hurt.

Can a child born as a result of my donation find out who I am?

When you become an egg donor you will be asked for certain details. This information will initially be used by the clinic to assess your suitability as an egg donor. When you go on to become an egg donor that information will then be passed on to the HFEA which will keep your details on an up-to-date register. Your information will always be kept confidential and stored in line with Data Protection legislation. The HFEA will pass your details on to any individual born as a result of your donation if that person requests it.

How are my eggs collected?

This procedure is performed in theatre under sedation and takes around 45 minutes.

Egg & sperm freezing    
Why should I freeze my eggs?

Fertility in women declines from the age of 35, and for women who are concerned about ensuring that they have an option of conceiving in the future, egg freezing offers a viable solution. The earlier eggs are frozen the better the quality of the eggs. Egg freezing is suitable for anybody who wishes to preserve their fertility, whether because they wish to pursue a career, have not yet found the right partner or have medical reasons for doing so. We freeze eggs using vitrification or fast freezing, a technique pioneered by one of our Scientific Directors R C Chian.

Find out more here.

What does egg freezing involve?

The process for freezing eggs is similar to that of undergoing full IVF, except that there is no embryo transfer at the end. You will need to come in for an Initial Consultation with one of our doctors who will assess your ovarian reserve and medical history and suggest the most suitable treatment. You will then take some medication to encourage the growth of the eggs and come into the clinic for scans to monitor their growth. At the end of a week or so, you will come in for your egg collection which will be carried out in the theatre under sedation. The eggs will be frozen following this and can be thawed if you decide to go ahead with any fertility treatment.

For more information, please visit Egg Freezing

Do you do sperm freezing?

Yes. sperm freezing is a relatively simple process. Before having the sperm frozen you will need to have some screening bloods taken, for HIV, Hepatitis B Core Antibodies, Hepatitis B Surface Antigens and Hepatitis C. These can be done with your GP or we can perform them at the clinic. You will then need to come into the clinic to fill in some forms and produce a sample. Please abstain for 2-5 days before this. The sample will then be frozen by our embryologists using vitrification technology.

 For more information, please visit Sperm Freezing

Male infertility    
What is male fertility problems?

Male infertility is becoming an increasing problem in the developed world. For couples with infertility problems, male infertility is a contributing factor in up to 50% of cases. It is the sole cause in about 30% of cases.

Infertility in men can be caused by varying problems including general lifestyle issues, disorders of male (reproductive) organs and genetic disorders.

When it comes to sperm production, men’s testes are like factories. They are then stored in tightly coiled tube called epididymis, which lies on the side of the testis. Sperm are ejaculated in the semen which comes from prostate and seminal vesicles. Testes produce new sperm every 2 to 3 months. This means that a man’s lifestyle in the preceding months has an impact on the quality of the sperm sample.

The good news is that it is widely accepted that men can improve the quality of their sperm by improving general health. Before recommending more invasive treatment, it is always important to try to optimise health to achieve the best sperm quality.

What is normal parameters?

For sperm to be considered as healthy it must have a count of 15 million per millilitre of semen, have a progressive motility rate of 32% (speed of movement) and a morphology (shape of sperm) rate of 4%. Note, this means that a man can have up to 96% abnormal forms, but still have a ‘normal’ sperm sample, as long as the other parameters are met.

Lifestyle factors

The common lifestyle choices that affect the quality of sperm are:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Recreational drugs
  • Increased scrotal temperature
  • High stress levels

 By cutting out unhealthy aspects of lifestyle, it is possible to improve male fertility and the chances of conception.

Specific problems

There are specific problems that can lead to male infertility. These include issues such as undescended testis, testicular tumours, varicoceles (prominent veins), blockage of the ejaculatory ducts, sexually transmitted diseases, chemotherapy for cancer, some medications and chromosome abnormalities such as Klinefelter syndrome.

One of the most severe forms of male infertility results in azoospermia where no sperm appear in the seminal fluid. This is of two types: obstructive and non-obstructive. In the former, there is obstruction to the passage of sperm due to congenital, surgical (vasectomy) or previous infection. In the second type sperm production in the testis is impaired  or damaged. This condition may be amenable to aspiration of sperm from the testis (testicular sperm aspiration-TESA) or extracting the sperm from the testis (testicular sperm extraction-TESE). In men with obstructive azoospermia it is often possible to aspirate the sperm from the epididymis (percutaneous epididymal sperm aspiration - PESA) with a needle.

Semen Production

Some male infertility is caused by problems with semen production. Azoospermia is classed as a man having undetectable levels of sperm in his semen; it occurs in 1% of the male population. Other sperm problems include: abnormal sperm mobility (making it harder for the sperm to swim to the egg) and sperm morphology (meaning that sperm are shaped abnormally and cannot fertilise the egg).

Testicular problems:

There are also testicular problems which can lead to male infertility. For example, some men have undescended testicles, or testicles which have been affected by surgery, trauma, cancer or congenital defects. Sometimes the small tubes within the testicles are blocked so that the sperm do not make it into the ejaculate.

Hormonal problems:

If there is a hormone imbalance or levels of testosterone are low, this can affect male fertility. Hormonal imbalances have a variety of causes such as drugs/medications, congenital disorders or tumours.

Ejaculation problems:

Some men suffer from ejaculation problems, such as premature ejaculation (when ejaculation occurs too quickly) and retrograde ejaculation (when semen is ejaculated into the bladder).

Semen Analysis    
How long is the abstinence period

You must have a 2-5 day abstinence period prior to the day of your semen analysis.

Can I have a semen analysis if I've been ill?

If you have had a fever within the last week, or you are on short-term antibiotics (3-5 day therapy) you need to wait 2 weeks until you can have a semen analysis. For longer-term therapies, you should wait 1 month after completion of the medication.

Do I get my results explained to me?

If you require a detailed explanation of your results, including lifestyle advice and treatment options please make an additional consultation appointment (at an extra cost).

Payment Plans    
What is the minimum deposit?

The minimum deposit for our payment plans are 30%.

What is the maximum deposit?

The maximum deposit for our payment plans are 50%.

Will I be accepted for finance?

Whether you're accepted for finance or not depends on many different factors, before you apply please note you will only be considered if you:

  • • Are at least 18 years old
  • • Are in regular full or part-time employment (minimum 16 hours per week or £5,000 per year, unless you are retired and receiving a private/company pension or in receipt of disability allowance)
  • • Are a permanent UK resident and have lived in the UK for at least 3 years
  • • Have a good credit history with no late payments, debt relief orders, CCJs, IVAs or bankruptcies

We have partnered with Duologi who have a dedicated credit team who use their bespoke credit engine to help them reach decisions.

Can I make a joint application with my partner?

Unfortunately the loan agreement needs to be in one persons name, this can be yourself, your partner or even a parent. Contact us to discuss your options.

What's the maximum amount I can borrow?

Currently the maximum amount you can borrow is £12,000.

When will the first repayment be taken?

Your first direct debit payment will be taken about 30 days after you have started treatment. This will show on your statement as a payment to Specialist Lending Ltd. You have the right to repay all or part of the loan early at any time.

What is a credit search?

A credit search occurs when a third party investigates your credit report. They’re looking to see how you manage your credit now, and how you’ve managed it in the past. This search may then be recorded on your credit report for other third parties to see. This is useful to lenders because if you’ve made multiple applications for credit recently, it could suggest to them that you have an urgent need for credit which you may struggle to pay back.

If I change my mind can I cancel my agreement?

Of course. Please contact us and we will be more than happy to help you cancel the agreement. Please note terms and conditions apply.

Why can’t you get an exact online quote for my treatment?

Each patient is different and so is their treatment. At CREATE Fertility, we tailor treatment to you in every area, from number of bloods tests, level of medication and frequency of scans. This personal approach means you only get the treatment we believe you need to give you the best chance.

Can I reduce the cost?

We pride ourselves on offering the highest quality treatment at the best possible value to all patients.  We don’t add additional services or add on treatments that aren't scientifically proven to benefit you. We give you a clear breakdown of ALL the costs and discuss which areas are optional recommendations.

We offer a number of options to help patients reduce the cost of treatment with 0% finance options, payment plans and multi cycle discounts.

Are there extra charges I need to know about?

We are always transparent and honest about pricing at every stage of your treatment journey.  At your initial consultation we give a detailed price estimate for the treatment we recommend.  Depending on how your treatment progresses, there may be a need to review protocols based on your circumstances and in order to maintain the optimal chance for success there may need to be additional medication or scans. Any modification to your journey will be discussed in detail before anything is actioned. You will be fully aware of any potential costs.

Why is the Natural/Natural Modified IVF price less than Mild IVF?

Mild Cycle IVF requires more stimulation medication which increases to the overall cost. A point to remember when comparing, Mild IVF uses significantly less medication than some conventional high stimulation protocols and so is a lower cost.

When do we need to make the payment?

If you’re paying the full cost in one sum then you need to be able to pay this at your first treatment consultation. If you’d like to take advantage of our great finance options and spread the cost, then you'll need to put down a deposit of around 30% at your first treatment consultation.  You will then submit your application during the consultation.  

How do I pay? Can I pay by instalments?

We accept bank transfers and all major cards (except AMEX), but cannot accept cash in clinic. We also have finance options available for 12 or 24 months and are the only clinic to offer a 0% interest option. The 0% finance option is available over a 12 month period.

Do your prices change?

We do review our prices regularly against the fertility treatment market in general to be sure we are offering the very best value for money.  At your initial consultation we will give you a detailed price estimate, this price is honoured for 3 months from issue. After this date treatment will be charged at the current price level.

Why do prices vary between clinics?

We are one of the UK’s largest national providers of specialist fertility care, with clinics in many major cities across the country. We work hard to make sure our pricing is the very best value for money in each local area. This has enabled us to share savings with patients on the cost of treatment.

Why are there extra costs for using Donor Eggs?

Donor eggs come with a specific price and there are additional charges towards the complex administration of the donor process, greater number of blood tests and specialist medication. The additional costs for this service are £2000, and embryo freezing services are from £995. ICSI is needed in many cases which costs £1,000.

Can I upgrade from 1 to 3 cycles?

In special circumstances you can, but this will depend on your situation and recommendation from the Doctor.  Moving treatment types is unusual as we focus all our efforts to make sure you get the very best diagnosis and treatment journey from the start.  If agreed, patients can upgrade from 1 to 3 cycles or from 3 to 6 cycles.

If I have to cancel for some reason, including getting naturally pregnant, can I have a refund?

Yes, depending on how far into your treatment you are, we can offer at least a partial refund. We have very clear terms and conditions that cover these topics and they will be discussed thoroughly at your initial consultation.

If my IVF is unsuccessful do I need to pay for a full cycle again? Is another frozen embryo transfer included or do I have to pay again?

In most cases yes you will have to start with a new cycle from the beginning and will need to pay full costs for that.  If you have an embryo in storage you can just come for a frozen embryo transfer.

How do I find out exactly what my required additional costs will be?

All of our patients have individual treatment plans drawn up after an Initial Consultation. This means that the exact amount for each patient will vary depending on their treatment and circumstances. We have split these out in more detail below, but for an exact breakdown, you will need to have an Initial Consultation. Additional costs could include:

  • HFEA fee (£80 mandatory per cycle for all patients at all clinics)
  • Medication (varies depending on your individual requirement)
  • Blood tests (additional tests may be required throughout your treatment)
  • Sedation (required for each egg collection)