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With So Much Choice, How Do I Choose An IVF Clinic Abroad?

A blog by Caroline Phillips, April 10, 2014

Whilst traveling abroad for fertility treatment may not be the ideal situation, for many it is the only option available to fulfill their dream of becoming parents. If this is the next step on your fertility journey, then choosing an IVF clinic abroad is no easy task because of the choice available to you. Within Europe, the Czech Republic, Spain, Greece and Bulgaria are popular destinations to seek IVF treatment. This is usually because the cost of treatment can be cheaper; there are usually no waiting lists; and the IVF laws in some countries may allow types of treatment not available at home.

With so much choice, you may want to consider the following to help choose the right IVF clinic for you:

  1. Find out about the laws relating to fertility treatment in the countries you are considering. Are they suitable for you based on your circumstances? For example, some countries in Europe don’t allow surrogacy, whilst others do. A good resource for checking out the laws in Europe is the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) website.
  2. Look at travel to that country of choice. Is it easy to fly to a particular city? Having complex travel arrangements whilst undergoing fertility treatment can lead to more anxiety and stress.
  3. Research IVF clinics which are experienced at treating people from abroad. These clinics will usually have staff whose role is solely to coordinate your treatment. They will be fluent in your language and be able to answer a lot of your questions. Urgent queries will be channeled to the right place. Some patients find that they form a real bond with their IVF coordinator. Finding a clinic with these resources in place will make the whole IVF process easier.
  4. Listen to what others have to say about a clinic on your final list of choices. Are all the reviews mostly negative? Mostly there will be a mix of views. But it is valuable research as it may provide insight into how the clinic operates.
  5. Communicate with the clinics on your final list. This will provide you with information on how organised and responsive they are. Having to chase for a reply is not a good sign.

What about IVF success rates? These are difficult to assess unless you compare like with like. Some clinics will provide live birth rates; others will use clinical pregnancy rates. You also need to take into account how many embryos are being transferred. A success rate resulting from transferring multiple embryos per transfer cannot be compared with a clinic which usually transfers one or two.

Going abroad for treatment does not suit everyone. But if this is an option, then being comfortable with your choice of clinic will go a long way to making your IVF journey a little easier.

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