April 30, 2020
How do you start your fertility journey in lockdown?
When you are considering fertility treatment, it is normal to feel as though your life is on hold and it is hard to move forward or plan your future, a feeling that for many people has been heightened by the Covid-19 pandemic.
For many of those who are trying to conceive this creates a new level of anxiety. Although the HFEA have suspended fertility treatment in the UK there are still steps you can take to start or further your journey to parenthood.
There are a number of lifestyle factors, which can have an impact on your fertility. Now more than ever is a great opportunity to reduce those bad habits and introduce or increase good habits in your daily routine. The following changes will optimise your body for conception:
- Stop smoking
- Manage exercise and diet to ensure a healthy weight
- Keep alcohol consumption low
- Sleep well
- Manage stress in a way that suits you
- Maintain a healthy and balanced diet
- Do not take recreational drugs
- Start taking vitamin D
Find a clinic
With so many clinics out there, it can be difficult to know where to start. Google is often the first port of call but can still bring back overwhelming numbers of results. Choosing a clinic close to home or work will reduce travel time and costs, helping to ease the pressure in anxious times. So, we would suggest starting here, and identifying a couple of clinics close to home or work (for when things are back to normal). The big question though is what are you looking for?
Success rates are important but can be difficult to compare and won’t give you an accurate success rate individualised for you. This means that if a clinic has success rates in line or above the national average keep them in your pool.
The next thing to look at would be price and unfortunately once again this can be a tricky one. What is and is not included can vary hugely between clinics so look for somewhere that offers packages including all standard techniques. At The Fertility Partnership we offer two levels for each of our cycles. These are called essential and essential plus. The essential includes everything we expect a standard cycle to include and essential plus includes a few extra techniques that many patients opt to have. This gives you a far more accurate idea of the overall cost as oppose to having to try and build the individual items before you even know what you need.
By this point you will most likely still have a couple of clinics in your pool and how you get them down to one is going to be the most important factor yet. You have to find a clinic that is right for you. What this means is finding a clinic whose ethos fits with what you feel you need throughout this journey. At The Fertility Partnership our ethos is a little human help. We understand that turning to science to help create a baby can feel rather at odds with the intimate nature of conception. So, The Fertility Partnership offers more than world-class success rates, clinical excellence and pioneering treatments. We offer to take care of you on a much more personal level, too. It’s because we don’t just help you make a new human. We help you feel like one, too. Click here to hear from some our patients about their fertility journey with The Fertility Partnership.
Virtual Patient Information Events and Tours
To find out more about a clinics ethos many of them will offer information events. These will give you the opportunity to see the clinic and meet the staff. Obviously, these aren’t available to attend at the moment, however we are still running Patient Information Events in the form of Webinars and have videos of all of our facilities. You can contact our teams via email or our website to book in
When you realise our clinics are right for you
You are now ready to take the next step and commit to a clinic. Although normally this would include a face to face appointment, the current situation won’t hold you back. All our clinics offer virtual consultations. These can be done via skype or telephone and will be with a doctor. As part of this consultation the doctor will take your medical history, review the results from any tests you may already have had, complete some consent forms and explain the next steps. It may be you need some further investigations before you are able to start treatment or that the doctor is able to plan what medication and type of cycle you need. Either way our clinic will contact you as soon as we are able to complete your investigation.
We are currently offering a discounted fixed priced package, which includes all you need and allows you to have the consultation now and the investigations later at no additional cost.
Virtual Nurse Coordination
For those who have a treatment plan in place you will also be able to have your nurse coordination appointment done virtually. This appointment includes completing some forms online and a demonstration of how the medication that you will be prescribed can be used. We are fortunate to already have been using an online consenting programme. This gives you the chance to watch information videos and read the forms in the comfort of your home whether in lockdown or not. I find this is a really wonderful way to give you the time to be informed and feel more in control of what will be going on in your journey before you sign the documents and start treatment.
Counselling and Support
At any point in a fertility journey it can start to feel a bit too much. Our team are still here to listen and if you feel like you would benefit from an appointment with one of our specialist fertility counsellors, they are on virtual hand to support you. If you feel comfortable to, it is always a good thing to share how you are feeling with your friends and family. You are not alone in this and many of them may have been through similar experiences. If not, there are a number of support groups available online. We are partnered with IVF Babble who provide a wealth of resource and information.
Counselling is a key part of the journey for those who are using donor gametes or a surrogate. So having it done virtually in lockdown will take you another step closer to being ready to start your treatment.
If you had to freeze all embryos in your last cycle
Finally, for those whose treatment was stopped before they had their embryo transfer, who were electively freezing their embryos to allow for genetic testing or those with embryos in storage you can start the planning and consenting for your frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle. In most cases, this will involve a virtual follow up consultation and a nurse coordination appointment. At the virtual follow up consultation the doctor will discuss and plan the protocol for your FET cycle. The relevant consent forms will then be shared with you either via your portal or our e-consent platform. These will either be signed by you electronically or brought to your next in-person appointment to be signed with the team.
Take action! If you are able to take as many of the steps above whilst in lockdown you will save some of that precious time. It also means that when the HFEA advise clinics they can start treatments again, we will be able to contact you to arrange any in person investigations or to order your medication and start your cycle.