You spend months and months agonising over not being able to conceive, with hours upon hours of googling ways to get pregnant and tips for conceiving, but when we visit the Doctor to get a referral to a fertility clinic, often we just go along with the place they choose. Certainly when it came time to choose a fertility clinic, this was my experience.
I was really lucky in that I actually LOVE my fertility clinic, but I’ve certainly heard of many people who feel a bit bleh.
This is your life people! I really think that if you hear something from your fertility clinic you’re not happy with, or just feeling so so about, then you can absolutely get a second opinion. Don’t give up!
For those of you who are just looking now at where you might go, here are my recommendations on how to choose a fertility clinic, based on my experience.
Honestly, before you start going to a fertility clinic, you can’t imagine how much time you’ll spend there. It’s insane, and you really want to go somewhere that is close to home, or on the way to work. Just somewhere that will be easy to get to and from, especially from work… because let’s face it, you’ll most likely be late to work a few times anyway, so if you can minimise that stress and travel time, that’s a total bonus.
You’re there to get pregnant. Honestly, almost nothing else matters, but getting you pregnant, so a good place to start when researching clinics, look at their success rates, and also look at what might be excluded in those rates too, like how they count a pregnancy, what age range the success rates measure and how many cycles that is for. Going to a fertility clinic and seeing a specialist is such an emotional decision, and while I would never base my decision on finances, the sooner you fall pregnant, the easier it will be on your hip pocket too.
How/when the bloods are collected
Some fertility clinics allow you to go to blood collection centre like Western Diagnostic or Clinipath, while others require you to go into their clinic. Sometimes though, you need to check the times to check they’re suitable for you and fit in with your schedule. At some clinics, if you arrive early, you have to put your name on a list and then go and sit in your car while you wait for your allotted time… which just feels really lonely to me.
What time/process is used for blood test results
Some clinics call you, some clinics require you to call them, some clinics send out the results via email and some send them via SMS. For some people, having to receive a phone call at a particular time range might be really inconvenient or embarrassing (especially if you work in an open plan office), so that is definitely something to take into consideration when thinking about how to choose a fertility clinic.
Are retrievals and ultrasounds conducted in the same building
At some places, they are, but at other places, you have to head down the road or to a nearby hospital. Knowing what to expect is really important, and the facilities available at your clinic may be important to you.
What is the wait for an appointment at the clinic
No doubt, you’ve been waiting for what feels like an eternity to fall pregnant and you’re done waiting. I totally get that. So, you might look at the location and the success rates and find that somewhere comparable has a shorter waiting time to get in to see a specialist, and choose that. You’d be surprised at how long the waiting lists are for appointments at some places.
Now that I’ve been down that road, I know what to expect and what kind of things are different between clinics. Some of the things on this list are important to me, and others I know I can handle, but knowledge is power, and these are some great questions to ask a fertility clinic when trying to make a decision as to where you’ll go. You’ll spend a lot of time and money there, so it helps to make an informed decision.
And… if you want to change later, then go for it!