What do you need to look for in a fertility clinic or doctor?

How do you choose your clinic?

How do you interpret IVF success rates?

How are you best to support yourself during fertility treatment?

We interview Denise Donati from Fertility Solutions in Queensland, Australia to answer these key questions. Watch our video interview here

(Sorry Denise’s sound quality is a little poor at one stage but the information is too good not to share with you!)

Fertility treatment is not the same the world over. In fact, it’s not the same from clinic to clinic. So it’s important when choosing where to go and going through your fertility treatment to know your options and to seek the best care possible.

Here are some of the top factors you should be looking at to get the best out of your fertility treatment:

1. What to look for in a fertility clinic

  • Look for a clinic that offers choice in your care – it’s important to have options available even if they’re not what you need right now
  • Look at the specialisations of the doctors at the clinic – Some doctors specialise in male-factor infertility, PCOS, endometriosis or pregnancy loss. If you have a specific diagnosis, seek out a doctor who specialises in this area if possible
  • Access to tiered levels of treatment – not a one-size-fits-all approach
  • Location – It’s important to consider journey time to the clinic as you can be attending daily at times during your treatment. This is to be taken into consideration and weighed up against other factors
  • Seek recommendations or reviews from others but don’t be too swayed by them. Everyone goes through treatment in an individual way so any reviews need to be treated cautiously as it doesn’t necessarily mean your treatment and outcomes will be the same as that person
  • View success rates carefully – Some clinics publish one overall success rate, however, success of fertility treatments varies massively based on age so investigate any success rates in more detail. It’s also important to see if the success rates are of pregnancies or live births too.

2. How to get the best out of your fertility clinic

  • Make sure you are receiving ‘personalised care’. You don’t want to feel like a number (Tune into our Podcast on this topic for more strategies to deal with this)
  • Don’t be passive – it’s so important to be engaged and active in your fertility treatment. Of course, you need to trust your doctor and their recommendations but it’s also important to trust in yourself and your instincts. Do your own research, ask lots of questions, query anything that doesn’t feel right. This is an area many people regret not being more active in earlier so don’t be one of those and take an active role.
  • Seek second opinions – It’s ok to change clinics or seek a second opinion. In fact, this has been a massive turning point in many people’s fertility treatment. Having a baby is too important to you! So seek out another opinion if you feel something isn’t right or want more answers. You might not find anything different but that in itself can be a huge comfort to you. For inspiration on this, listen to Priya’s fertility journey in our podcast here and how taking the reins of her fertility journey finally gave her her babies!
  • Develop a good relationship with the staff – You don’t need any additional stress going through treatment so develop a good rapport with your nurse or caregiver and if it doesn’t feel right, know it’s ok to ask for someone else or make a change
  • If you’re really not happy, make a complaint so others don’t have the same experience as you. In Australia, you can contact your State Ombudsman for Health. In the UK, the HFEA is the government’s independent regulator.

3. How best to support yourself through fertility treatment

  • Seek support – don’t go it alone! Often clinics have access to a counsellor which is a hugely under-utilised resource. Often people feel talking about it won’t affect the outcome, but it can be incredibly powerful in helping you cope, decide on next steps and deal with the stresses and strains of treatments like IVF, IUI and ICSI
  • Online and in-person support – There is a wealth of fertility support online. Your clinic might have a private Facebook group you can join like the one at Fertility Solutions where you can chat and meet face-to-face with other women going through treatments at the same clinic. You can also join support groups online (like our Fertility Toolbox group) or in your local area, become a #ttcsister on Instagram or book fertility coaching with someone who is specialised in working with you on your fertility journey.

Support for your fertility journey

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  • Relationship support – We’re all individuals and go through fertility treatment differently. It’s important to get some support for you and your partner and know that it’s ok to do so. You can’t always be everything for each other at this tough time
  • It’s ok to take a break – Taking time out can sometimes be a really positive move to help you get back to life outside of infertility and back to you as a couple
  • Take it one step at a time – When you’re going through fertility treatment it’s easy to mentally pace forward but this can sometimes cause more worry than good and things can easily change in your treatment. Try taking everything one day and one step at a time
  • Maintain cautious optimism – On the infertility roller coaster, sometimes you can feel so low and negative and others as high as a kite. Try find the middle ground where you are realistic about your treatment and remaining hopeful and optimistic about a successful outcome. This isn’t easy so check out some of the resources in our Toolbox about fertility mindset.
  • Watch your language – No not swearing! We’re talking about some of the very medical and often negative language that’s used in fertility circles e.g. failure. Try using other words or in this case making the distinction between treatment failure and ‘your failure’. It may sound a bit silly, but choosing more positive wording can actually affect how you feel

Hopefully, that’s given you some tips on maximising your fertility treatments. Remember to join our free Toolbox for more insider tips, interviews and free resources every month.