I’ve just been reading a fertility forum where there are a number of posts which are apparently from people who’ve had absolutely marvellous treatment at an overseas clinic. There was something about them which sounded rather odd to me and not quite like the way fertility patients usually write about their treatment, so I checked the forum for other posts about the same clinic and there were a whole series of similar posts from different people, all discussing what wonderful experiences they’d had – but also all making exactly the same slightly unusual errors in their English and using the same phrases. Some even had usernames that were similar, and they had all been successful after repeatedly unsuccessful cycles elsewhere but were returning to the forum to tell others about their treatment.
It’s always helpful to read about other people’s experiences, but reading reports online is never quite the same as talking to real people and it is worth being a little cautious, particularly if something doesn’t sound quite right. I sometimes get comments on Fertility Matters which begin as a discussion about a post and then suddenly veer into an advertising pitch and are clearly not from a genuine fertility patient. I just delete them all, but the online boards are sometimes used for promotional purposes too and it is a good idea to bear that in mind.
For anyone wondering where best to go for fertility treatment, perhaps the most important piece of advice is to go and have a look at some of your options before making a decision. All too often, people assume that they should look at success rates as the only indicator when it comes to choosing a clinic, but actually liking the place and feeling comfortable there is very important too.
More and more clinics now operate regular open days or open evenings and they’re often very popular, so you may need to book in advance. Going to visit a clinic and talking to the staff is by fat the best way to work out whether you’d like to have treatment there – and it can also be an excellent opportunity to have a chat with someone about your individual situation and why the clinic might be right for you.
Looking at success rates is useful, and talking to other people can help too – but remember that this is about you and what suits you. Do ring around clinics you’re interested in and see if you can go along and visit as you may find it really pays off.
More and more clinics are coming to see the benefits of opening their doors to prospective patients, and this is something that we should all welcome. For anyone who is going to be spending their own money on fertility treatment, making sure that you feel you’ve chosen the right place for you is essential – and that’s why it’s a really good idea to go and see as many clinics as you can. The more places you visit, the more you’ll get a feel for what matters to you and for what might suit you – and it’s easier to feel confident about your decision if you’ve visited some of the other options on offer.
I wasn’t sure about putting Open Evenings on my Events Page at first – free advertising for clinics and all that – but actually I’ve realised that they’re really useful for prospective patients. So do take a look, and go along and visit some of the places near to you. Some even include a brief individual consultation as part of the Open Evening and this can be very useful.
Of course, for clinics the Open Evening can be a bit of a sales pitch – which some may push more than others – so the one important thing to keep in mind is that going to an Open Evening doesn’t in any way commit you to having treatment at a specific clinic.