Questions to a​sk a fertility clinic abroad

There are many questions that you need to ask when choosing a fertility clinic abroad, in order to ensure that your treatment will be as safe and successful as possible.

Any reputable fertility clinic should be happy to answer as many questions as you feel you need to ask. In many ways, the way in which they deal with your enquiries should indicate how you might be treated when you get there. If a fertility clinic is vague about any of your questions, or evasive about their facts and figures, you should seriously consider whether that particular clinic is worth consideration.

In this article you can explore a series of themes to help you decide which questions to ask the fertility clinic. It is by no means exhaustive, but it will give you an idea of the sort of questions to ask. You may like to print off this list so that you have it with you when you speak to each fertility clinic or look at their website and brochures.

Questions to ask a fertility clinic about qualifications:

  • What qualifications do the infertility specialists have?
  • Are the doctors registered with the relevant national body?
  • Is the clinic or its staff registered with any national associations for the advancement of quality and standards?
  • Does the clinic hold any quality accreditations, such as ISO9001 or JCI accreditation?

Questions to ask a fertility clinic about experience:

  • How long has the clinic been practising and how many cycles of treatment does it perform each year?
  • How does this break down by infertility treatment type?
  • How much experience does each specialist have in each type of treatment?
  • Does the clinic specialise in some infertility treatments?
  • Do they have an andrology specialist to treat male infertility?
  • What are their overall success rates and what is their success rate for your chosen treatment?

Questions to ask about safety:

  • What are their infection rates for major hospital-acquired infections such as MRSA and C. difficile?
  • What contingency plans are there in place in case of complications during your procedure?
  • Do they have experienced anaesthetists on site?

Questions to ask a fertility clinic about donors:

  • Is sperm or egg donation legal in their country and if so what is the availability?
  • How much experience do they have of using donated eggs or sperm?
  • Is there a waiting list for sperm or eggs and are couples from abroad eligible for treatment?
  • What are the rules on donor anonymity in their country?
  • What information can you get about sperm and egg donors to help you choose?
  • How are sperm and egg donors screened for suitability?
  • Are sperm and egg donors screened for diseases such as genetic diseases and sexually transmitted infections?

Questions to ask a fertility clinic about surrogates:

  • What national laws govern surrogacy and what is your legal position?
  • Can the clinic provide contact with surrogate mothers?
  • What checks does the clinic do on potential surrogates?
  • Does the clinic pay surrogates more than just allowable expenses?
  • What access will you have to your surrogate during pregnancy?
  • Can they provide surrogates who will also donate their eggs?

Questions to ask a fertility clinic about legal matters:

  • Is the procedure you have chosen legal in their country?
  • What rights will you have to the child if they are born to a surrogate?
  • What are the regulations on embryo transfer numbers?
  • What are the local laws on donor anonymity?
  • What are your rights if anything goes wrong?
  • What are your rights if the treatment is unsuccessful?

Questions to ask a fertility clinic about treatments:

  • Is there a waiting list to be seen at the clinic?
  • Are there any qualifications, such as age or relationship status, for treatment at the clinic?
  • How many IVF cycles will they do as standard?
  • Is the number of IVF cycles or infertility treatments limited for each couple?
  • Is there a minimum time delay between one infertility treatment cycle and the next?
  • What policies do they have to reduce the risks of multiple births?
  • Will they help you to choose the right treatment?
  • What specialist equipment does the fertility clinic have to help your treatment?

Questions to ask a fertility clinic about costs:

  • Does the clinic charge for the initial consultation?
  • Does the price quoted include all of the fertility drugs required?
  • What extras may be added to the price quoted?
  • Are there any ways of reducing the price?
  • Does the fertility clinic offer discounts for the donation of spare eggs or sperm?
  • Can you arrange a payment plan to spread the cost?

Questions to ask a fertility clinic about service:

  • Does the clinic offer an all-inclusive package with travel and accommodation?
  • Does the clinic speak your language or provide interpreters?
  • Do they offer other added value services such as counselling?
  • After treatment, will you stay in the hospital/fertility clinic or be taken to a hotel?
  • Will they collect you from and return you to the airport?
  • Do they offer a concierge service to enhance your stay?

Personal questions to ask a fertility clinic

In addition to the technical questions listed above, you may also want to ask the fertility clinic personal questions about the levels of care you can expect. It is worth taking the time to consider these issues as they can make a real difference to your experience.

Our associated article, how to choose, will help you to think about the sort of personal questions that might be important to you.

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