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You have decided to have fertility treatment but where do you start? If you are going privately, location and cost are a big factor. You will be going for frequent scans and procedures so you may want to choose somewhere near work or home.Cost varies hugely – on average IVF is around £3,500 but it can be more than double that. Some clinics may include consultation fees, recommended tests and counselling, others may not. Fertility drugs are usually an extra. Ask the clinic for a personalised and detailed costed treatment plan. Check out their success rates and specialisms. You can log on to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) website to make these comparisons.‘You want to know their live birth rate rather than their pregnancy rate and they should tell you their success rate specific to your situation,’ she says. ‘It’s no good going to a clinic with a 50 per cent success rate if that is only for women under 35 and you are 38.’ Find out about their embryo transfer policy, multiple birth rate, counselling and support groups and storage services.>> The essentials of fertility and infertility in women>> Learn more about Vitro Fertilisation
See what specialisms they offer, for example, blastocyst transfer. This is where the fertilised eggs are left to mature for five to six days – rather than the typical three – and the best one is transferred. This has a higher success rate so can be a good option for younger women with lots of healthy eggs, because not all will make it to the blastocyst stage in the lab. A few private UK clinics offer egg screening for genetic faults. Researchers in Oxford have found it doubles the chance of success – particularly for older women.
A study in the USA has shown that having alternative therapies alongside can boost success rates. ‘This research is supported by our own results – we found having acupuncture at our clinic pre and post embryo transfer resulted in a mean pregnancy rate per IVF cycle of 57.8%, a substantial improvement on that achieved by London IVF clinics as a whole,’ says Zita. ‘It is believed it helps blood flow and stress reduction.‘We also find psychological support is very important. Cognitive therapy and visualisation techniques can help you have a positive mental state and a sense of control. All this improves your chances.’Previous page: Considering assisted fertility?
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