Fertility affects 30% of women on the African continent. It is estimated that 80 million people worldwide are infertile.
How do you choose a fertility clinic?
There are many fertility clinics in South Africa. Every couple will have different criteria they will apply to their choice of fertility clinic. So it is worth doing some research beforehand.
Many members of online parenting forums will discuss their experiences with particular fertility clinics. Your own doctor will also be a good resource and may recommend a local fertility clinic based on other patients’ experiences.
When looking for a fertility clinic, it’s a good idea to read widely and come up with a list of the things that are important to you, and perhaps phone or visit several fertility clinics before deciding on the fertility clinic that suits you best.
You need to feel comfortable with the way the fertility clinic communicates with you, with the doctor and staff and the services provided. Most fertility clinics are quite upfront about their schedule of fees, and these can vary between fertility clinics.
It is also important to check what your medical aid will cover and what not, and how this will affect the choice of fertility treatment you have.
Staff at a fertility clinic will include nurses and doctors with specialist fertility qualifications including surgeons, anaesthetists, reproductive endocrinologists, embryologists and radiographers.
Most fertility clinics also include specialist fertility counsellors and may also have nutritionists and alternative therapy practitioners, such as acupuncturists and hypnotherapists.
Expectations of Fertility Clinics
Any clinic in South Africa should be registered with the Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA). The HPCSA guides and regulates the health professions in the country regarding registration, education and training, professional conduct and ethical behavior, and to ensure continuing professional development, and fostering compliance with healthcare standards.
If a clinic is not registered with the HPCSA – walk out and find another.
It is also recommended that you have access to clear information about the procedures that are available at the fertility clinic, and the likely safety and success of these procedures.
You should also have the right to give consent to all aspects of the treatment at the fertility clinic and also have the right to determine what may be done with your eggs, sperm or embryos.
The responsibility is on the fertility clinic to gain your informed consent and so they should provide consumers with access to assistance in decision-making about treatments, options and implications.
You should be given some written information that you can take away and read, which gives side-effects, risks and multiple birth rates of any fertility treatments.
Most fertility clinics will also include fertility counselling, some of which may be included in the cost of the fertility treatment.
Success rates and other information
It can be very difficult to assess the success rates of a fertility clinic, but it is reasonable to expect that a fertility clinic provides information of their success rate broken down into treatment regimes and age groups.
Success rates generally refer to the number of live births, rather than positive pregnancy tests or foetal heart beats present.
Success rates are generally expressed as percentage of live births per treatment cycle – so if you are told that there is a 25% success rate per embryo transfer in an IVF treatment cycle, this means that 25% of couples could expect a live baby from an embryo transfer resulting from a cycle of IVF.