Narrowing down your choices

After you've tracked down your local clinics and assessed the services they offer, you may find that one clinic appeals more than the others. Or you may still be undecided. Either way, before you make your final decision ensure that you consider the following specific issues:

^ One-stop shops: Most clinics are one-stop shops, so that you complete your whole treatment cycle under the one roof. This means that you go to the one place for all your blood tests, ultrasound examinations, egg collection, embryo transfer and appointments with doctors, nurses and counsellors. However, at some smaller clinics you may need to travel to different locations to get everything done. If you have the option, you may prefer a one-stop shop.

^ Success rates: The ultimate success of IVF treatment and its related procedures is the birth of a healthy baby at term. The facts and figures about clinics' success rates at IVF treatment can be difficult to follow because clinics don't always measure the same things.

For example, Australian statistics show that if 100 women start a stimulated IVF cycle (treatment with hormone injections to stimulate egg production) approximately:

• 90 have eggs collected

• 80 have embryos available for transfer

• 25 have a positive pregnancy test

Using these statistics, a clinic that quotes its success rate as the number of pregnancies (including those that later miscarry) per embryo transfer gives its success rate as 31 per cent (25 ■ 80), whereas a clinic that measures its success as the number of live births per started treatment cycle gives the figure as 20 per cent (20 ■ 100) — quite a big difference for the same end result. When you compare clinics you need to make sure that you compare like with like.

I discuss how to get a realistic picture of your own chance of having a baby, considering your circumstances, in Chapter 8.

^ Travel to and from the clinic: You'll make many trips to the IVF clinic over the course of your treatment, so you need to consider travelling time to the clinic, transport options and parking facilities. If you don't drive or have access to a car, then the clinic that's serviced by public transport may be best for you. If time is important to you, find out which clinic is easiest to get to.

^ Treatment options: Large clinics usually provide a full range of treatments but smaller clinics may be limited in the services they offer. Treatments that may not be available in smaller clinics include

• Blastocyst transfer, whereby embryos are cultured for up to five days before being transferred to the uterus (see Chapter 7)

• Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), whereby embryos are genetically tested before they are transferred (see Chapter 16)

• Treatments involving donor eggs, sperm or embryos (see Chapter 13)

ii Some large clinics have smaller satellite clinics spread out geographically for the convenience of their clients. If you attend a satellite clinic that doesn't offer a type of treatment you need, chances are you can have that part of the treatment at the large main clinic.

100 Pregnancy Tips

100 Pregnancy Tips

Prior to planning pregnancy, you should learn more about the things involved in getting pregnant. It involves carrying a baby inside you for nine months, caring for a child for a number of years, and many more. Consider these things, so that you can properly assess if you are ready for pregnancy. Get all these very important tips about pregnancy that you need to know.

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