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19 October 2023

Top Checklist Questions for your IVF consultation

The start of every fertility journey can be overwhelming. In order to choose a fertility clinic, you need to understand all the information that is given to you.

If you’re feeling a little unprepared for your fertility consultation and aren’t sure what to expect, preparing a list of questions to take in with you can help.

We’ve prepared a list of questions that will help you prepare for your appointment with your consultant, who is there to support you and will have helped many others through the same process, so don’t be afraid to ask questions.

What is your diagnosis?

It’s crucial that you understand the diagnosis given to you or your partner and its implications on fertility. If you have uncertainties regarding terminology, labels, or how the diagnosis directly affects your ability to conceive naturally, make sure you ask the consultant. It is also important to ask if the condition might evolve during your journey and what you can expect to experience. If you forget, or require a review, don't hesitate to call your Patient Coordinator for additional information and clarification.


Consider your options

You are advised to explore all your options. For example, are there alternative treatments available that could be more suitable for you? Or, if this treatment proves ineffective, which would be the next steps to consider? Assessing your choices and understanding how advanced investigations and comprehensive fertility tests can significantly influence and improve your  chances of success is crucial.


How to appraise your quotes

Cost is another factor to consider, but keep in mind that clinics can quote in very different ways. Some offer the mandatory fertility tests and baselevel treatment pathway to present a low entry price. This can be all that some patients require and leads to a successful pregnancy. For many struggling to conceive, it is a more complex picture. Some patients require more investigations up front to understand the ‘issues’ and this will dictate the medical treatment pathway. Similarly, each patient reacts differently to medicines and the type and quantity required can vary significantly. Remember, would you prefer to have 2-3 low cost but failed cycles before a successful pregnancy or 1 slightly more comprehensive treatment plan and success first time. Each treatment plan comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, so you should take time to discuss the options with your consultant and your partner.


Will you see the same doctor on each visit?

Fertility treatments are filled with challenging physical and emotional moments, and seeing the same doctor every time is a very important part of the journey. One doctor can build a better knowledge of your medical history and monitor it closely, and the connection you create will provide a great support. If you believe continuity of care is an important part of your journey, you should ask the clinic’s support to always see the same doctor. At Harley Street Fertility Clinic we are proud of our consistency and personalised care, so you are likely to always see the same doctor.



Ask about a clinic's success rates

The clinic’s pregnancy success rates is one of the first things patients look at when searching for a fertility clinic. It is, however, more important to ask about success rates for patients in a situation similar with you and your partner in terms of background, medical history. One of the most important factors is understanding the clinic’s statistics, e.g. pregnancy and live birth rates per embryo transfer vs the national average. Certain clinics may decline individuals who don’t meet specific age, weight, or medical history criteria to avoid any unsuccessful reporting. Harley Street Fertility Clinic takes pride in being a totally inclusive clinic and our position as a leader in success rates across the UK. Choosing the right clinic for you means a higher chance of your dream of becoming a parent fulfilled.



What is your estimated treatment timeline and how often will you receive updates

The duration of a single round of IVF can vary depending on your individual circumstances, typically spanning from 8 to 12 weeks. However, it's essential to note that timelines can differ based upon your response to medicines and treatments. Ensure you have a clear understanding of your specific schedule at the consultation stage. Consultants generally have a rough estimate during the consultation phase. You should consider asking whether the clinic provides a patient app that facilitates the tracking of medications and treatment progress. This can streamline your IVF journey and enhance your overall experience.


How many cycles of treatment will you go through before trying something else?

Just like patients, every clinic is different so it’s crucial to ask so you know exactly what is going to happen and when. This will vary between clinics and specialists. Some clinics promote multi-cycle packages and may recommend skipping a menstrual cycle between each treatment cycle, or advise persisting with a specific number of cycles before switching to another treatment. Asking this question in advance will help you set out your expectations early on and help you plan ahead if you’re not getting the results you want.  Some clinics will encourage a 3 cycle package .

Harley Street Fertility clinic success has resulted from focusing on conducting as many investigations as possible at the beginning of the treatment plan to achieve  a successful pregnancy first cycle, thus reducing the overall cost and emotional turmoil of failed cycles.


What kind of counselling or advice service does the clinic provide?

A fertility journey can be both physically and emotionally draining, so every clinic is legally required to provide you with counselling should you need it. The clinic you’ve chosen will offer you the opportunity to talk to a counsellor or maybe join a fertility support group. This can help couples to understand the implications of treatment and offer support at critical times. Communication is very important during this process, so whether it’s asking these questions at an appointment, or taking part in a support group exchanging experiences, make sure your questions are heard and that you feel confident with the answers before taking your next step. You may also find the relationship you build with all the team to be invaluable, especially the Patient Coordinators, who will check in with you throughout your journey. 


Taking this checklist into your consultation might be hugely beneficial as emotions and information overload can take its toll. Consultants should welcome a well-planned and committed patient and will take time to explain things clearly. They may also focus on the information needed for the next steps as not all the answers are evident at the start of the process.