Choose a fertility clinic
How to choose your clinic
When making a choice about the best clinic for your needs, there are a number of issues to consider:
The clinic’s location
How convenient is it for you to go there for treatment? If you opt for a clinic that is further away, you may be able to have certain treatments carried out at a local hospital (known as a satellite or transport centre).
Use our Find a clinic search to see the clinics in your area.
When you contact or visit the clinic, reach an opinion about how you feel in the clinic and about the way staff treat you.
Ask lots of questions, (bring a written list with you) so you feel fully informed and comfortable with the treatment they are recommending for you.
If possible, talk to other patients to hear their personal experiences of the clinic.
Does the clinic offer the treatment that is best for you? What about other services that you may want, such as a support group or free counselling?
Some clinics only take couples under a certain age and only some welcome single women. Contact your shortlist of possible clinics to find out if you are eligible for treatment there.
You can also use the eligibility criteria option on the advanced search of Choose a fertility clinic.
What is the clinic’s cancellation policy?
Find out how many cycles of treatment are allowed before trying another or stopping treatment altogether.
How successful is the clinic treating women in your age group? And how many women of your age do they treat?
Embryo transfer policy
Clinics can replace up to two embryos at each attempt of IVF (or up to three if you are aged 40 or over and using your own eggs). What is the rate of multiple births for the clinic? How do you feel about this, and the risks associated with multiple births?
To find out more about the risks of multiple births, visit:
What does the HFEA inspection report say about this clinic?
Our inspection reports of licensed clinics are available online. They can be useful in finding out more about how a clinic operates and the type of place it is. .
What are the age limits for fertility treatment?
There is no age limit for fertility treatment in UK law. The HFEA does not set any age limits for treatment either.
A clinician must decide if it is appropriate for treatment to be carried out, particularly whether the patient’s health will allow them to go through the treatment and the potential pregnancy.
The HFEA requires clinics to carry out a Welfare of the Child assessment before starting any treatment. This looks at factors which are likely to cause serious physical, psychological or medical harm, either to the child to be born or to any existing child of the family.
The HFEA does set age limits for donors.
Clinic and NHS criteria
Each clinic will have its own guidelines about who they will and will not treat. Local health funding bodies (PCTs and health boards) also set criteria for fertility treatment funding. Both clinics and NHS criteria may include age limits.
Age limits abroad
Some patients seek treatment abroad because a UK clinic will not treat them because of their age.
Anyone seeking treatment abroad should make sure that they are fully aware of the issues and risks beforehand.
Page last updated: 09 September 2009