Top 10 questions to ask your IVF clinic – Dr Geeta Nargund

IVF questions to ask your doctor or fertility clinic

This is a guest post by Professor Dr Geeta Nargund, Medical Director, CREATE Fertility Clinic in Birmingham.

When embarking on the IVF journey the sheer number of clinics and the wide range of treatment options available can be confusing when trying to decide what is best for you.

In taking the first steps towards choosing a clinic there are a number of important questions you need to ask; not only about the treatments on offer but also about how the clinic will go about catering to your specific needs. Here are my ten essential IVF questions you should always ask a prospective clinic before agreeing to treatment.

10 IVF questions to ask your fertility clinic

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1. What are the differences between your clinic and others?

Most IVF clinics offer different types of treatment depending on the expertise of their staff and the resources available. It is important to note that not all of the registered IVF clinics in the UK provide every kind of treatment, so make sure you visit a few to get options. If you already know what type of treatment you are looking for (perhaps due to a pre-existing condition), then you will need to find out whether a prospective clinic can meet your needs and whether you are happy with their experience and success rates for someone in your situation.

2. Is the IVF treatment personalised to my needs?

Different clinics operate in different ways. Many will offer a one-size-fits-all blanket IVF treatment, which may not be right for you. Women who suffer from conditions such as low ovarian reserve, endometriosis or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) will need specialised treatment and you will need to check that your preferred clinic offers this.

3. How do you decide which treatment is best for me?

Treatment programmes will differ person to person, and factors such as your individual history, existing conditions, test results, past experiences (if you have previously had IVF treatment) and also the clinic’s specialist areas will determine their recommendations.

4. What types of treatment exist other than conventional IVF?
Dr Geeta Nargund, CREATE fertility clinic Birmingham

Dr Geeta Nargund

There are now a number of different types of IVF available following growing awareness that the traditional method is not always the most effective or safest for many women. Other lower, or no drug, treatments are now offered by some clinics, and include:

Natural Cycle IVF: which aims to collect the one egg that has been naturally selected by the body, and is carried out without the use of any fertility drugs.

Modified Natural Cycle IVF: a form of Natural Cycle IVF where medication is given to the woman for just 3-4 days in order to block spontaneous ovulation. A small dose of stimulation hormone is also given in order to keep the follicles healthy and growing.

Mild Stimulation IVF: takes place within the natural menstrual cycle using a minimal amount of fertility drugs. For just 5-9 days stimulating medication is given, compared to 4-5 weeks of medication in traditional IVF.

In Vitro Maturation (IVM): includes the collection of immature eggs from the ovaries, which are then matured in the lab before being fertilised. This treatment retains the benefits of IVF, but gives an opportunity for multiple embryos to be created and frozen for later use.

5. What tests do you recommend before treatment?

Before you begin fertility treatment, a clinic should carry out thorough tests on both you and your partner. These tests can be crucial in identifying any fertility problems or issues you may have before treatments are decided or take place. Alternatively, they may discover that you may not need fertility treatment, and that you just need advice to help you conceive naturally. A fertility MOT is a simple process that can help to identify cases of infertility and may mean less invasive and more affordable fertility treatments are suitable.

6. Would you advise any tests during the IVF treatment?

During treatment, clinics will usually offer vaginal ultrasound scans to monitor your ovaries, as well as blood tests. Clinics may offer ‘state of the art’ tests or imaging systems, which are not always necessary for the success of the treatment, but can add to the cost. It is always worth discussing with your consultant whether such tests are necessary and what costs are attached, then determining whether you need or can afford them.

7. What are my success rates at your clinic?

It is important to remember that not all clinics measure fertility success rates in the same way – some may only accept patients with a good prognosis in order to improve their results. Make sure you know how your prospective clinic measures success rates, particularly relating to your individual circumstances…

In summary; treat IVF success rates with caution, and always ask for a specific success rate for someone in your situation.

IVF Questions to ask your doctor

Image source

8. Do you provide treatment to women who have low egg reserve and high FSH or low AMH?

Clinics may turn away women whose prospects for successful IVF treatment under their current programme are low, and would therefore lower their overall success rates. It is important to ask your clinic this upfront if you know that you are affected by low egg reserve, low AMH or any other issues.

9. Are there often complications in treatments from the clinic? Have any patients been admitted to hospital?

Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS) is a condition that affects the ovaries of some women who undergo high stimulation IVF treatment. Most cases are mild and can include symptoms such as nausea, vomiting and abdominal bloating, but in rare cases the condition can become severe and lead to serious illness or death. It is possible to entirely avoid incidences of OHSS by using more patient-friendly lower drug IVF treatments, so if a clinic has had patients admitted to hospital with OHSS then it may be an indication that they favour a high drug approach and you should consider if this approach is right for you.

10. How much is a full cycle and are there any other costs involved?

IVF is an expensive process and the cost of treatment is a deciding factor for many couples. Generally, clinics will charge blood tests, supplementary tests and medication as additions to your treatment, so it is important to check with your clinic for information on how they charge and what the overall cost of your cycle will be.

Are you considering or have you had fertility treatment? Would you add any further IVF questions to this list?Questions to ask your IVF clinic

Disclosure: This is a collaborative post



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12 Comment

  1. Reply
    Silly Mummy
    January 27, 2016 at 11:16 pm

    This is really interesting, and I’m sure will be very useful guidance for anyone looking at the IVF route – I imagine it can be quite overwhelming. #WAYWOW
    Silly Mummy recently posted…Slogans for World War Terrible TwosMy Profile

    1. Reply
      Mum in Brum
      February 4, 2016 at 10:32 pm

      I had no idea there was so many options to consider to be honest. Hopefully it will help others to consider the best route for them.

  2. Reply
    January 28, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    This is an amazingly useful post for those looking to seek out IVF treatment. Thanks so much for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely!
    Talya recently posted…Revealing the parental leave policy of the UK’s top 50 companiesMy Profile

  3. Reply
    Kelly Robinson
    January 29, 2016 at 10:19 am

    Brilliant and extremely helpful post for anyone who is looking into IVF. I imagine it can be a very daunting and scary process. It’s great that people can come and read blogs and feel a bit happier that others have or are going through the same thing #PicknMix

    1. Reply
      Mum in Brum
      February 4, 2016 at 10:31 pm

      Thanks Kelly, I hope others considering an IVF journey will find it helpful x

  4. Reply
    Nikki Frank-Hamilton
    January 30, 2016 at 3:37 am

    Natalie, this is such a great piece, I have passed the age of baby having, but I am going to pin this so that others who need some answers or some encouragement can find you and this piece. It was really interesting to read, I love learning more and I love that families are made here, and broken hearts are mended!

    1. Reply
      Mum in Brum
      January 30, 2016 at 4:19 pm

      It really is super useful isn’t it? We were fortunate in that we didn’t have to go down the IVF route, but I had no idea that there was so much to know about it and so much to consider. Thank you for pinning, I hope that others find it useful x

  5. Reply
    Stephanie Couch
    February 4, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Very helpful post for many I’m sure lovely, I was very lucky with both of my boys not to ave to go the IVF route, but hopefully this helps those who do to feel more in control of the process.

    Thanks for linking up to #Picknmix

    Stevie x
    Stephanie Couch recently posted…Monthly Bucket List – February 2016My Profile

  6. Reply
    February 23, 2016 at 9:04 pm

    Great interview/questions. I am sure they have answered alot for those looking into IVF. It’s always great to share and spread experiences. I know if I wanted to do ivf blogs are where I would start to find answers. Good for you for sharing. Thanks for linking up to Share With Me. I hope to see you again tomorrow for another great roundup! #sharewithme
    Jenny recently posted…Baking, half term, and the kids’ first apronsMy Profile

  7. Reply
    Trying for a baby - 6 things to consider before treatment
    July 7, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    […] treatment of some sort somewhere along their journey to start a family. Others have gone down the IVF route – thankfully with great success. I think on the whole fertility worries are a lot more […]

  8. Reply
    August 10, 2016 at 8:29 am

    Hi, very useful questions and from Professor Nargund herself. My husband and I are considering Create having been to one of their open days and having had full blown IVF (unsuccessful) last year. I like their philosophies and enthusiasm. It would be nice to hear if there are any reviews about the clinic. Anyway, thank you.

    1. Reply
      Natalie Mudd
      August 19, 2016 at 3:45 pm

      Thanks so much for stopping by Milly and I’m glad you found the post useful. Good luck with your journey whatever you decide to do.

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