We have meticulously considered private fertility clinics across the UK and visited over 20 fertility clinics in the UK, Spain and Greece, in person. We’ve had in-depth discussions with dozens of experts in the field of fertility, including gynaecologists and other healthcare professionals as well as patients who have experienced and undergone fertility treatment themselves.
Our opinion about the current state of fertility treatments has been shaped by experience and expertise. We share our thoughts with you here.
By the age of 30, most women have lost around 90% of their eggs, and although women can get pregnant and conceive even after the age of 50, egg quality drops significantly by the age of 37. It can be a good idea for women under the age of 37 to freeze their eggs in case they want to conceive in future.
Men also experience fertility issues, such as low sperm counts and low sperm quality.
Fertility treatments are designed to help couples conceive and give birth to healthy children and are available for both men and women. These treatments are not only undertaken by first-time parents but also by those who wish to have subsequent children
The fertility industry varies. On one side, it operates as a fully elective medical undertaking, similar to cosmetic procedures. On the other hand, in most developed countries, fertility treatment is available via public healthcare systems. Consequently, it is positioned in limbo between the many private and public institutions that provide fertility services in Europe.
As a particularly profitable industry, many renowned fertility clinics have been acquired by private equity firms. In many cases, this has turned the focus away from helping patients and towards pure profit-making. In turn, this has affected how the industry operates, its processes and how patients are treated.
Although there are many good companies available, both in the UK and abroad, many clinics will not take into consideration individual patient needs. Instead, institutions have rigid systems in place that invariably corner patients almost exclusively into in vitro fertilisation (IVF), regardless of whether this is the best fertility solution for them. The systems are often driven overwhelmingly by profits and ease of operations.
This means that individual circumstances and alternative fertility avenues are not properly considered. Unfortunately, a one-size fits all approach is used in many cases, which does not suit nor is convenient for all types of patients.
Clients and Patients
As part of our research, we approached many fertility clinics and operators to understand the reasons why fertility treatment often has an impersonal approach. The outcome was consistent.
The general consensus among institutions that provide fertility treatment was that the majority of clients were “just shopping around” and therefore were not ‘serious’ enough candidates. Patients often wanted to know the prices of treatments up front, but did not understand what treatments entailed. To paraphrase some of the feedback from institutions:
“Many patients are not prepared to proceed to egg donation unless they have made sure that their ovaries do not respond.”
“We have many patients coming back to us, after having spent fortunes with other clinics that simply told them what they wanted to hear.”
"We receive clients who claim to be ready to start their fertility treatment but when you ask them to fill out a form they refuse to do so. They ask for prices without understanding that, if we can't assess their case, we can't provide them with a cost estimate for the procedure."
The above seems to be commonplace amongst many fertility operators, where their sales pitches are, unfortunately, better than their actual results.
Evidently, there is a disconnect between clients and operators. It is GlobMed’s objective is to fix this, by finding a balance.
The fertility treatments available today have been extensively tested and are well-established. The majority of fertility institutions follow very similar protocols.
The downside to established protocols is that, in many cases, treatments are performed with a one-size-fits-all approach. As a result, the client’s biological, medical and lifestyle needs may not all be considered.
This one-size-fits-all approach simply does not work in healthcare. More specifically, it does not work when it comes to fertility. Therefore, a fully holistic approach is necessary for fertility treatments to succeed.
There are obvious price differences between companies, treatments, and jurisdictions and comparing prices in fertility is tricky at best. Even fertility professionals who understand treatment logistics struggle to compare prices between clinics. In many cases, price differences can result from variations in treatment protocols, in what's included or not, and many price-perceived advantages from one clinic to the next can be misleading.
We have chosen fertility professionals with a transparent pricing policy and we advise our clients to access guarantee packages at fixed prices when possible to avoid last-minute surprises. Our approach nevertheless will always try to find the best value for money for our clients. We find no logic in paying more unnecessarily.
In terms of fertility treatments, where they happen, matters. For example, in the UK legislation does not allow anonymous egg donation while in Spain and Greece, this is allowed. Therefore, some clients may find that a different jurisdiction other than the one that they reside in could help their specific requirements.
Spain has the biggest fertility industry in Europe. Over half of the fertility treatments undertaken in Europe are done there. With an older population and more relaxed legislation towards fertility, Spanish fertility operators and clinics have had decades to perfect their protocols and the industry has become globally-renowned for high success rates and relatively affordable prices. The fertility industry in Greece, meanwhile, is much smaller but has become a contender in terms of value for money and success rates.
Lastly, the UK is also a very well-regulated area for fertility treatment. However, it is much smaller than the industry in Spain and although it provides clients access to world-leading professionals, it can be more expensive and more restrictive in terms of legislation. Hence, it is not yet a major global fertility destination.
The one-size-fits-all approach does not work in healthcare and should therefore not be used when it comes to fertility treatment.
Fertility should rather be approached from the ground up. Patients should undergo a thorough and clear initial assessment, which allows them and the relevant professionals to identify underlying conditions and opportunities. Patients should be guided with professional advice to explore fertility support options and exhaust other avenues, before considering IVF and other invasive fertility treatments.
GlobMed ensures that a patient’s fertility journey is ethically managed by professionals with no conflicts of interest, nor for pure financial gain.
If the patient can afford it, they may wish to consider guaranteed packages, rather than taking the gamble with IVF cycles or non-tailored approaches. Guaranteed packages from GlobMed remove the potential conflict of interest between patients and providers, leaving the incentive to perform for the clinic.
Our Choice for Fertility
We have identified three clinics that all have great customer satisfaction, high success rates and which provide the best value for money.
Two of them are independent clinics, one in London and one in Athens in Greece, with the latter being one of the biggest egg and sperm banks in its jurisdiction.
The third clinic is in Barcelona in Spain and is part of a global group performing thousands of cycles annually with a world-class genetics team.
Although we have identified other fertility centres, such as in Cyprus, the Czech Republic and other parts of the UK, Spain and Greece, we firmly believe that the three clinics we have decided on are the best for clients.
We are happy to join GlobMed clients with their fertility journey, to understand their circumstances and help them identify the right jurisdiction and operator. Moreover, we stand by clients should they need further support, such as coordination between UK laboratories, gynaecologists and other fertility-related professionals already within our network.
Lastly, we remind our clients that accessing healthcare through GlobMed does not increase their costs by a penny. It costs the same as if a client were to directly access the services from one of our partner clinics. By using GlobMed, clients can have peace of mind that their case is dealt with personally. Our end-to-end support during your healthcare journey is a priority for us and comes at zero additional cost to the client.