What does an infertility clinic do?

An infertility clinic works with couples, singles and same sex couples to help them to create the children that they long for. Couples who have tried for around 1–2 years to have a baby naturally with no success then need fertility testing to try to establish the cause. An infertility clinic can offer a complete testing service and can then advise you on the options for infertility treatment.

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Around a quarter of infertility problems come from one partner, with a further quarter being a combination of both. The rest are simply unexplained. Most infertility clinics will be able to help with a wide range of problems, although you may need a clinic with a specialist andrology department to help with complex male infertility issues.

Infertility clinics abroad can offer any treatment that you have been advised to have by your GP, specialist or gynaecologist at home. Alternatively, they can offer a full service to examine you and carry out tests to find out the problem before recommending a solution. Naturally, the full service will cost you more. If you are able to get an infertility diagnosis in your home country free of charge, as part of your national health scheme, this may help keep your costs down if you opt for infertility treatment abroad.

Infertility clinics can harvest your eggs or sperm for in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment, even retrieving sperm directly from the testes in men who produce no sperm in their semen. This may be due to a blockage, a genetic condition, or because of a vasectomy that cannot be reversed. The infertility clinic can then use these gametes in a variety of ways, including intrauterine sperm injection, IVF, intracytoplasmic sperm injection and many other advanced fertility techniques. Many clinics will also be able to screen the resulting embryos for genetic disorders, although the legality of this varies from country to country.

Infertility clinics may also be able to offer donor eggs or sperm, or even arrange surrogate mothers for you. Commercial surrogacy is illegal in many countries, but is fully legal in India and many former Soviet states.

Many infertility clinics will also be able to freeze embryos, eggs or sperm for use in future treatments, should your first cycle be unsuccessful. This can cut the costs of later infertility treatments significantly.

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