Connect with us

Features

Nicole the Fertile Chick: Choosing Your IVF Clinic

Published

 on

In a previous article, I talked about the importance of choosing the right gynaecologist for you. Also important, especially if you are opting for assisted reproduction, is your choice of clinic. In the last decade, there has been an explosion of fertility clinics in Nigeria. Even the little hospital on my parents’ street boasts of “reproductive services” on its signboard. Before choosing a clinic, it has become increasingly important to critically assess and determine which one is best for you.

There are many factors that influence one’s clinic choice. Some people would prefer to base their decision on the doctors in the clinic, opting for those who have been in the industry longest and/or have some track record. Some prefer to go with success rate, some opt for location and privacy, and some opt for comfort.

The deciding factor differs from one person to the next. I know someone who would not be caught dead in any of the bigger fertility clinics, for fear of running into someone she knew. She instead opted for an unknown clinic hidden somewhere in VI – simply because she believed she would not run into anybody there. Well… she didn’t run into anybody… but she didn’t get pregnant either.
As far as decision factors go, success rates are relative, and I don’t put too much emphasis on them. My opinion is that, whilst it’s good to know your clinic has a 95% success rate, there are no guarantees that you won’t fall into the 5%. A lot of people will argue against this rationale, but I have seen quite a number of failed cycles from hospitals with supposedly excellent statistics. And, from my experience, these hospitals tend to push the blame of failure on the couple. In my case, when my 1st cycle failed, I was told point blank that something must have been wrong with my uterus, as they (the hospital) had done everything to ensure a successful cycle. To further buttress my point, the clinic where I had my successful cycle did not (at the time) have as good statistics as the clinic where I had my failed cycle.
There are no hard and fast rules, but below are some general factors that should be given some consideration when you are choosing your clinic:

Availability & Accessibility of the Physician
While it’s one thing to choose a clinic based on the track record of a doctor, it’s another thing to commence your cycle with this clinic, and the said doctor is as elusive as a ghost…hardly ever there! In the end, you find yourself tossed from junior doctor to junior doctor. Very disappointing if the doctor is the very reason you selected this clinic in the first place. Even if the doctor is available for appointments, reaching him when you have questions or queries could be close to impossible. The difference between the clinics where I had my 1st and 2nd cycles, especially with respect to doctor accessibility, was like night and day. For my 2nd cycle, I went back to my old Ob/Gyn, who was accessible to me 24 hours a day. I could text him at 2am in the morning, and he would respond almost immediately. Yes, this might not be a realistic expectation, but it’s nice to at least have a doctor who is available to talk with you, answer your questions, and respond to queries…in a timely manner!

Follow-up Processes & Procedures
How a clinic follows up with its patients is absolutely critical. I know this might seem a bit touchy-feely to most, but fertility is such a sensitive subject that yes, it doesn’t hurt having a bit of extra attention. Having a clinic that follows up with you for appointments, tests, and treatment plans makes a difficult experience a bit easier to handle. So, if this matters to you, ask anyone who has used the clinic you are considering what this is like.

Available Technology & Range of Services Offered
As much as you like a doctor, you want to be sure that the clinic in which he operates has the right facilities for your procedure. You need to be sure that they have a good embryology unit, and if you would like the option of freezing embryos you don’t use, you also want to be sure that they are equipped enough to do this. It’s also worth investigating if they are able to offer a wide range of IVF-related services, such as ICSI (Intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection), Blastocyst Embryo Transfers, Assisted Hatching, Donor Eggs, Donor Sperm, etc.

Affordability
Unfortunately, this is a cold reality. You have to ask yourself if you can afford that particular clinic. A few years ago, you could safely guesstimate how much you would spend for a cycle, regardless of which hospital you chose to use. But today, prices vary quite widely. I have heard some prices, especially from hospitals out of Lagos, that have made my mouth fall to the floor. Maybe because there aren’t other available options around, or maybe because they believe they have so much more to offer. Whatever the case, some hospitals now charge top dollar, with prices even triple the expected average. On the flip side, I recently heard the price of a cycle in an Abuja clinic with fast growing popularity, and I was stunned by how low it was. Essentially, you need to be sure that your wallet can accommodate the hospital you select.

Clinic Location & Office Hours
As much as you want to glaze over this as a factor, trust me it is. As much as you love the hospital, you need to be sure that you are fine with driving across town, or hopping on a plane, for all your appointments. If this isn’t a problem for you, then you can move on to the next point. But if dealing with the logistics could be tricky for you, especially where work is concerned, then you might want to think of a Plan B. The same also applies to their office hours. Some clinics are quite inflexible when it comes to their operating hours, and if you are not able to adapt to this, you might need to reconsider.

Post Treatment Counseling & Support
You might not be thinking about this now, but trust me it is very important. Whether or not you have a successful cycle, it is important that the clinic you choose has a good counseling system in place. Where I had my 1st cycle, I was treated like the Queen of Sheba when the going was good, but as soon as my cycle failed, I was dropped like it was hot. There was no counseling, no after care, nothing. The truth is that a lot of hospitals in Nigeria do not have provision for this. But if available, is definitely a great to-have.

General Clinic Statistics
It’s true that I believe success rates are relative and should not be too much of a factor, but it is also important to know what you are signing up for. It’s important to do your research about the clinic you are considering. If they are known to have abysmal results, then it might be something for you to pause and think about. If 3 out of 5 people have nothing but complaints, it should also be food for thought. To be forewarned is most definitely to be forearmed.

Gut Feeling
This, in my opinion, is absolutely critical! You just have to listen to your gut. Make it a point of duty to check out the clinic. You might only be able to speak with front-office staff (as most doctor appointments are by appointment only), but listen to what your intuition says about the place. When I walked into my IVF Clinic number 1, the place just didn’t resonate with me. I felt uneasy and somewhat unhappy. I attributed this to the stress of dealing with IVF, but if I’m to be honest, it ran far deeper than that. Not even the clinic’s white and blue ambience was able to calm me. But I didn’t listen to my gut, I went on to cycle with them anyway, and I ended up deeply regretting it. But don’t take anyone’s word for it. Just because one person didn’t feel right about Clinic A doesn’t mean you won’t either. It might ring better with you than the other person. I referred my friend to my longtime doctor who was behind my successful IVF cycle, and she was so creeped out by him. I still struggle to understand why (because I think he’s awesome), but I respect her decision, and I’m helping her search for an alternative she will be comfortable with.

It’s not easy, but hopefully you’ll be able to make the right choice about what hospital to use. When I was deciding on my 2nd cycle, I knew there was no way in the world I was returning to the last hospital, but I was torn between my old Ob/Gyn (whom I loved to death, but thought he wasn’t aggressive enough for me) and a major IVF clinic (with an impressive record, and as aggressive as I thought I wanted). The deciding factor for me was being able to return to the familiar and comforting. I chose my old Ob/Gyn because, having been so emotionally battered from the last clinic, I needed to cycle with someone who understood me. And I’m so glad I did.
Good luck all! Have a great week!

Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Monkey Business Images

Nicole is a woman in her late 30s, with a passion for all things fertility related. She suffered infertility for the first 3 years of her marriage, and found it extremely isolating. After she had her kids, she started The Fertile Chick (www.thefertilechickonline.com) to create a community and happy-place for all women, in various stages of the fertility journey.

15 Comments

  1. Geraldine

    May 18, 2015 at 10:07 am

    Is it possible to have a list of IVF clinics in Lagos?

  2. Andrea

    May 18, 2015 at 11:15 am

    pls can i have the name of the hospital in abuja and how much they charge?.

    • nicolefertilechick

      May 19, 2015 at 11:03 pm

      Hi Andrea. Please email me at [email protected], and I’ll be glad to share that information with you.

    • Lawlah

      May 25, 2015 at 8:39 am

      Hi Nicole, I am very much interested in that info too… Thanks for your ceaseless, kind and encouraging words…. [email protected]

    • Lawlah

      May 26, 2015 at 11:31 am

      @Nicole…. Sorry, I have not been able to send you a mail via the address you provided above.

  3. Profound

    May 18, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Great Article. Sorry to deviate slightly from the actual topic above, but I feel compelled to share my findings, in case it helps someone out there. Ladies, please don’t make the mistake I made by attempting to time “the deed” around ovulation without being 100% sure of when you’re ovulating. We were taught that we should ovulate on cycle day 14, but I recently discovered that I ovulate on CD 12 by testing with Ovulation Kits. Now most ladies know that an egg can only survive for 12-24 hours once it’s released on your ovulation day, so you can see how I cost myself precious months by doing the deed 3 days later than I should have because by that time, my chances of conceiving would’ve been slim to none as it’s impossible to get pregnant once the egg is no longer viable. I say 3 days because the optimal time to do the deed is 24-48 hours prior to ovulation as well as on your ovulation day itself, so the sperm will already be waiting for the egg once it gets released. In summary, invest in a good ovulation kit, preferrably a digital one e.g Clearblue and save yourself the guess work. Baby dust to all you gorgeous women trying to conceive.

    • nicolefertilechick

      May 19, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      You are absolutely correct! So many of us ovulate earlier, or later, than the standard 14 day assumption. That’s why it’s essential to use a reliable ovulation tracking method.

  4. missappleberry

    May 18, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Why is the DR in the main pic looking like Lara Oshiomole?

  5. D

    May 18, 2015 at 4:07 pm

    I have just began on this journey of fertility treatment, I just started with the initial testing, ovaries and all, just last week, I was exhausted mentally and physically from the whole process last week. Did someone say invasion of privacy. Trust me it does not get more invasive than that. The Clinic i was referred to by my OB/GYN has only 1 Dr. He has a very good success rate and you can tell that he tries to give all his patience 1-1 attention but you know what that translates to…long ass wait time. He takes you to his office reviews your information, talks through how things are going to work and what he wants to try with you and see if you have any questions and then rounds and rounds of test. I am very conservative and modesty means alot to me but I am beginning to realise that I will need to start getting used to all sorts of people being all up in my business. I am not certain how I feel about this guy’s office yet but I just started. I am hoping with just the first treatment (Clomid) things will click and our miracle will happen.

    • nicolefertilechick

      May 19, 2015 at 11:06 pm

      Dear D, you are absolutely correct. I cried after my first vaginal scan. I just felt so violated. But we gotta do what we gotta do. I know the long wait might be a put off, but this doctor sounds really fantastic! There’s nothing like having someone who takes his time to get to know his patients and forms a one-on-one bond. Give him a chance. I hope you don’t have to try to long! Baby dust to you!

  6. Noami.

    May 19, 2015 at 9:17 am

    @D…I totally understand how u feel about the invasion of privacy! i had my fertility testing in march and i had to kill all shyness i had about my body. from the transvaginal ultasound to the H.S.G,to the H.V.S etc( wew!) bit i had to tell myself that if that was what i had to do to havw my own baby,i qouls do it ten times over. this is me whofinds it difficult to even undress before my mother or sisters. it took mw a couple of months to even be able to dress up in the presence of my husband(yes,i am that bad). i tried to do it with humour cos i discovered that it helped me overcome my natural reservations and of course i kept telling myself that the end justifies the means. hopefully i will get pregnant on this first round of ovulation induction and not have to through it all again(except of course during delivery and i ve heard that you are so mad with the pain, u would even undress before your pastor or father without a second thought!). Baby dust to us all! Hi,Nicole.

    • nicolefertilechick

      May 19, 2015 at 11:07 pm

      Hi Naomi! Baby dust to you sweetie! I hope this first cycle brings you a wonderful BFP!!!

  7. Mummy

    May 25, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    I totally agree with you on the issue of counseling. I have had 3 unsuccessful Iui and the hospital did not bother calling me. In fact the last one they never got back to me on the test results as the doctor was not around when the sample was taken and the nurse insisted that it was the responsibility of the doctor to give me the result. It was necessary because af started that evening. We( hubby and I) are considering ivf now and we don’t know where and who to use although the Dr was nice.

  8. ebuka

    September 12, 2016 at 6:28 am

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Star Features

Advertisement
css.php