Deciding to invest in fertility treatment is a huge step for couples who want to have a baby, but haven’t been able to get pregnant naturally. The thought of tests, screenings, appointments, assessments, complex procedures and, ultimately, the fear of being left disappointed will make anybody to think twice. However, the dream of having a family of your own will always trump that!
Here are 15 things you should consider when choosing a fertility clinic.
Because getting pregnant is the main objective of seeking fertility treatment, finding out what a clinic’s success rates and live birth rates are is important. A success rate of between 30% and 40% is considered to be good, but always opt for a clinic that has a slightly higher success rate than the national average.
Just keep in mind that the clinic with the highest success rate may not necessarily be the best, as figures could be boosted by factors such as a refusal to treat women above the age of 40 and inability to perform complicated procedures. Just delve a little deeper to be sure what the rates really are.
See how The Bridge Clinic’s success rates compare to other clinics in Nigeria and abroad.
2Code of Ethics
Fertility treatment is an extremely intimate process and therefore it is important to know that clinics subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are regularly audited .
Find out more about The Bridge Clinic’s quality control and code of ethics
Of course you will want to know exactly how much the treatment will cost before you commit to anything. Because costs depend greatly on individual circumstances and may vary from person to person, it’s important that you ask exactly what is included when given a quote.
The best way to do this would be to ask for a full break-down of costs, including: first and subsequent consultations, investigations, diagnostic laparoscopy, the treatment itself, and cost of drugs. It is important to ask if counselling is included, both pre and post treatment. If you are looking at going to a clinic far from home, remember that travel and accommodation will also add to your expenses.
See how The Bridge Clinic’s costs compare to other clinics in Nigeria and abroad.
4The Way Staff Treat Patients
Before making your final decision after the consideration of the statistics and costs, it’s highly recommended that you visit the clinic you’re most interested in to get a feel for its inner workings. Was the staff friendly? Did they take time to show you around? Were they happy to answer your questions? Did they look professional and tidy? These are all small things that could influence your overall experience.
Make an appointment with a The Bridge Clinic’s specialist and request a 15-minute tour of the facilities.
Choosing a fertility clinic as close to home as possible is preferable, as travelling long distances to and fro can become stressful and will definitely add to the costs of treatment.
Find out where you can find The Bridge Clinic in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt
6Treatments and Storage Facilities
If your GP or specialist has recommended that you get a certain type of treatment, it is worth establishing whether your prospective clinics offer it to patients. It is also worth finding out what type of storage facilities clinics have, should you want to freeze your embryos or eggs, and whether they have access to donors.
Find out more about The Bridge Clinic’s procedures.
7Counselling and Support
Receiving counselling from a professional counsellor before, during and after your treatment can assist in easing the emotional trauma and stress you may be feeling in your relationship. Find out whether prospective clinics have a counselling program for patients and whether it is included in the cost of treatment or not.
Peer-to-peer support can also be a great comfort to patients about to embark on or going through fertility treatment.
8How long would you have to wait for donors?
If you require sperm or egg donation, check how long you might expect to wait for the clinic to find a suitable donor. The waiting times vary considerably from one clinic to another, so it is a good idea to check a number of clinics before making a decision about where to go.
First and foremost, ask your GP which fertility clinic he/she would recommend. However, don’t be afraid to ask for opinions of those outside of the field of medicine. Ask friends, family members, your pastor, your therapist and even colleagues whether they have had any experience with fertility treatment or know someone who has, and whether they would recommend a specific clinic.
This will help you establish whether your prospective clinics have a good track record or not. Read testimonials from The Bridge Clinic patients.
Because fertility treatment is such a delicate and intimate process, patients’ right to confidentiality should be treated with the utmost respect by doctors, specialists and other staff of the preferred clinic.
Some clinics expect their patients to fall in to a rigid and standardised treatment schedule, while others try to meet you half way with a more flexible approach. Try to establish beforehand how willing a prospective clinic will be to adapt the treatment schedule to suit your specific needs.
Across the board, quality is of the utmost importance to patients undergoing fertility treatment. Don’t be shy to find out where specialists received their training; what kind of equipment the clinic uses; and whether they undergo a quality audit from an independent company.
Read about The Bridge Clinic’s quality management.
It is very important that you are 100 per cent aware of what you are letting yourself in for when undergoing fertility treatment. Be sure to opt for a clinic where doctors, nurses, specialists and counsellors will be able to speak to you in a language that you understand fully.
Good communication is essential. With clear explanations of the cause of infertility and its treatment and the opportunity to follow up with additional questions when they arise, some of the stress of fertility treatment can be relieved.