I suppose, technically we are an agency, but I intensely dislike that title when it comes to our services as it seems so impersonal, something which we are most categorically not.
There are basically two types of agencies out there looking to assist you on your IVF journey. Those that can advise from a medical standpoint, and those that provide emotional support (but in most cases not medical) because they themselves have been on their own IVF roller coaster.
When I Googled IVF Agencies, you either end up with the clinics themselves, or you get a corporate entity that’s affiliated with clinics in 30 or 40 different countries. And you never, ever are given prices on the website. You have to call them to find out what they charge on top of the clinic’s costs, but is a fairly safe bet that it will be in the thousands.
The chances are, that this type of company will look at your medical history and advise the type of treatment/s necessary, and offer a selection of clinics to consider. Then it will be down to you to do the real leg work and research the clinics themselves. Why are you paying them a large sum of money, when you are putting in all the effort? How on earth can they give you the personalised attention that you need when they are offering such a large selection of clinics? Easy answer; they can’t!
And because they are dealing with so many different countries, can you be sure that the information you are being given is correct. Clinical protocols, rules, and laws are forever changing; anything from needing a permit between a certain age group to a country raising its upper age limit for treatment, and the chances are, that it will be you who will have to navigate your way through these obstacles.
The second group almost certainly will be able to empathise with your situation as they will most likely have been on their own IVF journey, and will be able to impart valuable knowledge about their own experiences. This is good as we also recommend speaking to our own past patients if you use our services. They can also explain their experiences of the clinic or clinics that they might have attended and what was good about them, or perhaps not so good.
Most of the above are happy not to charge for the information and help that they give you, but some of them do, and remember, you are highly unlikely to get any medical advice. And if you do, please bear in mind that what may have worked for them, won’t necessarily work for you, and it might be detrimental to your health.
We came across one such UK company, that if you took them up on an initial consultation, their promotional videos, assistance locating a clinic abroad, and all the other things that they offer, it would come to between £3,000 and £4,000. Now that is if you took them up on every single one of their offers, and it is highly unlikely that you would need that, but still, it’s easy to get caught up and treatment is expensive enough. On top of that, there is no medical advice and they are only available during office hours.
Now take a look at what we offer and decide for yourself if I am good value for money:
– A fertility nurse specialist since 1992.
– Working with clinics abroad since 2004
– Personally co-ordinating and supporting you throughout your treatment and beyond.
– Able to make medical decisions outside clinical hours.
– Available seven days a week, 365 days a year.
– Prescriptions arranged with home delivery if needed.
– Vast knowledge of protocols and laws of foreign clinics.
– Member of ESHRE (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology)
– All inquiries are answered within 12 hours (during the day, within an hour).
– Past patient chats.
– Most donor types available on a one-to-one basis (no egg sharing).
– Proven donors.
– All clinics personally vetted.
But there is so much more than just the hard medical aspect. My husband and I were lucky enough to have our daughter through natural means, but to me, this was never just a job. I can never fully appreciate what you have to go through, and I would never try. But when patients ask me to be a Godparent I feel that I have instilled enough trust in my abilities to have scratched the surface.
So how much would this level of expertise and care be worth to you?