Your Guide to Choosing a Clinic
Your comprehensive guide to understanding and navigating advertised success rates, hidden IVF costs, and choosing a fertility clinic that is right for you and your budget. We recommend using this guide as a supplement to our Find-a-Clinic tool to shop around for clinics.
IVF success can be measured using different data metrics. These metrics paint an objective picture of a patient’s treatment cycle. But there are many metrics, and they are often confusing and misleading.
What does "births per cycle" mean?
Your chance of a live birth from starting an IVF cycle.
This metric takes into account: ovarian stimulation, egg collection, fertilisation, embryo culture and embryo transfer.
Cancelled cycles at any stage of treatment effects this success rate, making it an all-encompassing metric that shows you the chance of a baby from the point of starting IVF.
It is calculated by dividing the number of birth events by the number of treatment cycles at a clinic.
What does "births per embryo transferred" mean?
Your chance of a live birth per number of embryos transferred.
This metric takes into account: the number of embryos transferred and encourages elective single-embryo transfer- the safe practice of transferring just a single embryo back into the uterus to reduce the risks of multiple pregnancy.
Only patients that make it to the embryo transfer stage affect this metric. This means if a patient doesn’t have an embryo to transfer, this success rate will NOT be affected.
A patient may not have an embryo to transfer due to many reasons, some may be related to treatment, such as having a poor response to stimulation medication, having no eggs collected, failed fertilisation, and failed or poor embryo development.
It is calculated by dividing the number of birth events by the numbers of embryos transferred.
What does "multiple births per cycle" mean?
Your chance of a live birth of more than one baby.
Multiple births are the greatest challenge IVF treatment faces, due to the risk they pose to both the health and well-being of the mother and the babies.
Multiple birth rate is a useful metric that should be used along with the other success rates to give you an objective picture of the overall performance of a clinic. Keep in mind, having a single embryo back doesn’t mean you remove the chance of a multiple pregnancy completely. There is still a 1-3% chance that a single embryo leads to a multiple pregnancy. This happens if the embryo splits in two, giving identical twins.
It is calculated by dividing the number of multiple birth events by the total number of cycles started.
Which metric is best?
There is no right or wrong answer, it depends on what matters to you most.
These metrics tell an objective story of other people’s journeys through these clinics. Just remember, some clinics are specialised in treating certain conditions which may not reflect very well on their success rates, yet they may be better for you than other clinics with higher success rates.
How to interpret the the £ signs in the find-a-clinic tool?
£ - Less than £5,000
££ - £5,000 - £7,000
£££ - More than £7,000
The price range approximations are based on a “typical” IVF treatment cycle which includes, Monitoring scans and blood tests, IVF/ICSI procedures, blastocyst culture and freezing. Medications, add-on treatments and other procedures are not included in these estimates. The cost of medication usually ranges between £1,000-2,000 for a fresh cycle.
Our price tool was developed using each clinic’s own price list. A large number of clinics provide packages that may significantly reduce the cost of treatment or subsequent treatments, and a lot offer additional treatment options either free of charge or at a cost (such as “add-ons”). MyFertility’s price tool should be viewed, for all intents and purposes, as a guide to help manage patients' financial expectations going into treatment. We highly recommend you contact the clinics to find out more.
Why is there no live birth data for 2019 and later?
This data has not yet been published by the HFEA.
Why are there some missing clinics from the lists?
This data is from HFEA-licensed clinics in 2018 only. Newer clinics that were not yet licensed by 2018 and satellite clinics would not show on this list.
How do I choose a clinic?
We recommend using our Find a Clinic tool only as a supplement to your own research. We are merely presenting HFEA published data, and the decision to choose a clinic is based on more than just numbers. Speak to your GP, relatives or friends who have been through this process and contact the clinics themselves to make a well-rounded decision on where to undergo your IVF treatment, and make sure you ask the questions below to make sure your are comfortable and confident in your clinic.
Questions to ask clinics
1. What initial investigations should I do?
Knowing where to start is very important in gearing up for your fertility journey. This simple question lays the foundation for the next steps you have to do to get started and help you plan ahead even before your initial consultation.
2. What treatments does the clinic offer?
It is important to know what a clinic can and cannot offer in terms of treatment. Some clinics do procedures like surgical sperm retrievals at different clinics, some do not do them at all and refer you to another clinic or hospital if needed. Other procedures may not be on offer entirely such as treatments the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) call “add-on” treatments.
3. Why is this treatment recommended for me?
This question is especially useful if an “add-on” treatment is recommended to you.
4. What risks are involved with this treatment?
Fertility treatment is not risk-free. Other than the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) and multiple pregnancy, there may be other risks associated with the medication you’re taking, and other treatments you are offered.
5. Is there an instance where the clinic would not be able to treat a patient?
A clinic may not be able to treat the cause of your infertility, or they may have eligibility criteria to be able to treat you. If you do not meet their criteria, they may not be able to treat you.
6. What is your experience with treating my specific cause of infertility?
Some clinics are better at treating certain conditions than others. While this data is not readily available, asking a clinic about their experience treating your specific condition may give you increased confidence going into treatment.
7. What is my success rate at your clinic?
Asking a clinic about your chance of having a baby can give you an idea if they expect you to do better, worse or similar to their current success rates. Our find a clinic tool can guide you through the success rates of different clinics for your age.
8. When can I start?
Some patients want to start treatment ASAP, others want to wait and explore their options and plan mentally, physically and financially for their fertility journey. Check with your clinic what they would recommend.
9. How many embryos does your clinic typically transfer?
1, 2, or 3? The ideal scenario is to transfer one embryo to have a healthy baby. However, sometimes it is recommended to transfer more than one embryo (which may put you at risk of a multiple pregnancy). Ask your clinic what their policy is and why it is that.
10. Does the clinic prefer fresh or frozen embryo transfers? And why?
Some clinics are better at fresh transfers, some are better at frozen transfers. Fresh transfers mean you transfer your embryo(s) in the same cycle you have had your eggs collected and fertilised. Frozen transfers mean coming back in a later cycle to transfer the embryo(s). Frozen transfers may imply higher costs.
11. When does the clinic typically do embryo transfers?
Does the clinic only transfer at the blastocyst stage (day 5 or 6 of embryo development) or does it do earlier transfers as well? Why?
12. Are there alternatives to IVF?
Often IVF treatment is thought of as the only treatment for infertility, however, there are other less invasive approaches that can be as effective (depending on the cause of infertility).
13. What other options are available if treatment doesn’t work?
Will the clinic take a different approach to treatment? Will “add-on” treatments be considered? Should these options be considered now for this treatment cycle?
14. How many times am I expected to come into the clinic?
You may be needed to come in daily, every other day, or on occasion for blood tests and scans. Ask this so you can plan your life, time and finances around the treatment.
15. What is the timescale for treatment from start to finish?
It is always good to know how long before you can actually start treatment, and how long your treatment with the clinic will last.
16. What is the clinic’s treatment plan for me?
Will your treatment be personalised to your specific circumstance and cause of infertility or will it be more generic? For example: having standardised versus personalised stimulation protocols.
17. How often will the clinic communicate updates and results to me?
Good communication is important in IVF treatment. Communicating with your clinic keeps you on top of what’s happening and increases your confidence in the process.
18. Will the same consultant be taking care of me throughout my entire treatment?
Knowing that you will be under the care and guidance of one consultant throughout your treatment may be a source of assurance and consistency for some. This may be a bit more difficult in bigger clinics that treat higher volumes of patients.
19. Which appointments can my partner attend with me?
Clinics have restricted partners from joining patients for appointments during the COVID-19 enforced lockdown. Since the easing of restrictions, some clinics have still upheld these policies, while others have eased them for some appointments.
20. Does the clinic do procedures on weekends?
Some clinics schedule egg collections to not fall on a weekend. This is not ideal and may affect outcomes.
21. What will happen if I contract COVID-19 during my fertility treatment?
There is no evidence to suggest COVID-19 or its vaccine affects fertility treatment. However, if you were to contract COVID-19 during your treatment, it is important to know what your clinic’s policies are at the different stages of treatment.
22. Is the cost of monitoring blood tests and scans included in the price package?
Some clinics include the cost of monitoring blood tests and scans in their treatment packages, some don’t. It is important to ask to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
23. How much should I expect to pay for medications?
Medication costs are often the ones least factored for by patients when budgeting for their IVF cycle. While medication costs can vary from patient to patient, they can be quite a significant sum on an already hefty bill.
24. What are the costs of treatment?
Ask this question, then ask it again. IVF treatment is expensive. Make sure you are well informed of the costs of the individual treatment and treatment packages.
25. What other costs can arise throughout my treatment?
Surprises happen. Ask why and how may a situation arise where you may be required to make additional, unplanned payments.
26. Would I get a refund if my cycle gets cancelled?
Cycles can get cancelled for many reasons. What is your clinic’s refund policy for a cancelled or failed cycle?
27. Do you charge for blastocyst culture?
Some clinics charge extra for culturing embryos to the blastocyst stage (days 5 and 6 of embryo development) while others don’t.
28. Do you charge for time-lapse incubation?
Most clinics have time-lapse incubators to let them monitor embryos without disturbing their development. Ideally, you shouldn’t pay extra for having your embryos in these incubators. However, some clinics charge extra to use them due to limited space availability.