It’s really difficult to make a decision about which IVF clinic to use for treatment abroad. There are so many choices once you start researching. Many people choose the Czech Republic as a destination because the treatments are often cheaper than at home, and there is usually no waiting time to start IVF.
The obvious choice for many people is Prague because it is convenient to get to (all the major airlines fly there) as well as being a beautiful destination to visit. Ease of travel is important of course; however, consider other cities in the Czech Republic too, as sometimes treatment costs can be lower. Brno, Zlin and Olomouc offer IVF treatment options which are very affordable and provide high quality care. Some budget airlines fly to these cities or nearby and clinics will often help you arrange transportation from airports. In addition, these cities also have a lot to offer in terms of history and culture.
For those considering IVF abroad, here are some tips and help to make your choice a bit easier.
1. Create a ‘must-have’ sheet
Faced with lots of choices of clinics, many people have found that putting together a check list of ‘must-haves’ makes the task of choosing a bit easier. For example you may have in your ‘must-have’ column – my budget, blastocyst transfer, excellent success rates, predominantly does my treatment etc. etc. Against the list of ‘must-have’s, tick off the two or three clinics you are most interested in. This should narrow things down.
2. Cost of treatment
Research fully how much the treatment will cost at each clinic. Ask about possible “hidden” extras that you may have to consider. For example:
· First Consultation – is it deductible from treatment cost?
· Is sedation included in price for egg collection?
· Is sperm freezing included?
· Is embryo freezing included?
· Are there any guarantees e.g. Pay for 2 cycles and get third free.
3. Clinic experience
Not all clinics are expert at everything. Some do more of one treatment than others. For example, PGD/PGS is offered at most places, but usually only a few centres are experts. It is the same with egg donation. Some clinics may do more of this treatment than others. Using your ‘must-have” can help you to make these decisions.
4. Clinic results
Everybody wants good success rates. Ask the clinic about success rate per embryo transferred. A good success rate based on multiple embryos transferred is not the same as a good success rate based on one embryo transferred. Putting multiple embryos back can lead to a greater risk of multiple pregnancy.
5. Waiting time for treatment
Ask the clinics early on about the waiting time for treatment. Some people spend a lot of time deciding on one clinic only to find that the waiting list is too long for them and they have to start all over again.
6. Take time to do research
Like anything in life, the more preparation you do, the better the outcome. This is a really important decision you are making so make sure you do research. Some people, after narrowing down to 2-3 clinics, actually visit them to get a ‘gut-feel’. This isn’t going to be open to everyone to do, but can make a difference if you can afford the time and money.
By Caroline Phillips