In the last decade, especially, there has been an explosion of assisted fertility clinics in Nigeria. Even the tiny hospital on my parents’ street boasts “reproductive services” on its signboard. For more specialised services as IVF and IUI, hospitals offering this are fewer. But few as they may be, it is very important to critically assess and determine which one is best for you.

You need to decide what is most important to you when selecting a clinic. Some people would prefer to go with doctors who have been in the industry longest, and even pioneered IVF in Nigeria (some examples include Dr. Giwa-Osagie of Omni, Dr. Iketubosin of Georges, etc.). Some prefer to go with track record, some opt for location and privacy, some opt for comfort… the deciding factor differs from person to person. I know someone who would not be caught dead in any of the bigger fertility clinics, for fear of running into someone she knows. She instead opted for an unknown clinic somewhere in VI, simply because she believed she would not run into anybody there. Well… she didn’t run into anybody there… but she didn’t get pregnant either.

In the end, tail between her legs, she found her way back to one of the more “popular” clinics, and had a successful cycle. My point is, the fear of running into familiar people should be one of the lowest ranking selection criteria for the woman who is serious about choosing a hospital. I personally believe in chemistry… chemistry with the doctor. That, to me, is the most important. A doctor whom I can speak with freely, one who understands me, who understands my body, and is ready to give me a listening ear. This is not important to a lot of women, and as it is not a guarantee for pregnancy, one can understand why having a doctor who actually pays attention to you doesn’t really matter to a lot of women. We are all different… and it matters to me.

Success rates are relative, and I don’t put too much emphasis on that. My opinion is that, whilst its good to know your clinic has a 95% success rate, there are no guarantees that you won’t fall into 5%. A lot of people will argue against this rational, but I have seen quite a number of failed cycles from hospitals with great statistics. And, from my experience, these hospitals tend to push the blame of failure to the couple. In my case, I was told point blank that something must have been wrong with my uterus, as they (the hospital) had done everything to ensure a successful cycle. To further buttress my point, the clinic where I had my successful cycle did not (at the time) have as good statistics as the clinic where I had my failed cycle.