What to expect at ARGC

Discussion group for all topics related to infertility including preparation for pregnancy, causes, investigation and treatment of infertility.
foster
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What to expect at ARGC

Post by foster » Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:58 am

Hi there

I am hoping to have my first appointment at ARGC soon and as I don't live in London was wondering if anyone can share their experiences of the first appointment through to the treatment.

I have been told I will have an initial appointment with the doctor and then have a monitored cycle before treatment. What exactly does a monitored cycle entail and should I plan to stay in London for this. Also, do I need to stay in London during the two week wait after IVF?

Finally, does anyone have any suggestions of where to stay in London while I am having the treatment.

Any help or advice much appreciated.

Thanks.

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LucyBucy
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Post by LucyBucy » Sat Dec 30, 2006 12:48 pm

Hi Foster,

I am 36 weeks pregnant after one successful IVF/ICSI cycle at ARGC. I attended the clinic during April and May so I can't recall every detail but hopefully the things I can remember will help you!

For the first appointment the doctor will go through your fertility history and will explain IVF process to you. I found it really helpful to do a lot of reading up on IVF before going to this - otherwise the terminology can be a bit baffling and it can help you can ask informed questions (my partner, having done no research, found himself a bit out of his depth).

One warning about this clinic is that although you will be given a specific appointment time - this means absolutely nothing! It always seemed to me that it was run on a first come first served basis. For example, if you arrive for an appointment at 11am, be prepared to wait until 1pm to be seen. However, if you turn up at 9am for your 11am appointment you will probably be seen at about 10am...

The monitored cycle just means that they will monitor you through one period with a few blood tests and scans so that they can assess your natural period and decide what fertility drugs you will need. From memory, I think there were about 2 blood tests and scans each at different points in your cycle. I really don't think you will need to stay in London for this.

Depending on how far away from London you live, you may find that it is easier to stay in London during your treatment. They really do monitor you closely at this clinic and you will find yourself queuing for blood tests at 8.30 on Sunday mornings (again, always get there as early as possible!). At one point I was going to the clinic for blood tests twice a day because I was at risk of OHSS, and after the egg removal (which is done under a general anaesthetic) I certainly wouldn't have felt up to long-distance travel. Once the eggs have been implanted the clinic will leave you alone for two weeks so there will be no need for you to be in London during this time.

I'm afraid I can't help you with places to stay in London as I'm a resident here: obviously the closer to the clinic the better but I would guess that hotel prices around that area are very pricey!

Although the organisation and queuing times at the clinic are shambolic, I really can't rate ARGC high enough. They really do look after you and you're monitored so closely that it isn't surprising they have such a high success rate.

I don't come onto this site very often anymore but please feel free to ask me any questions - I'm on lucy_hollins@hotmail.com.

The BEST of luck with your treatment!

Lucy xxx

foster
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Post by foster » Sat Dec 30, 2006 3:11 pm

Dear Lucy

Thank you so much for your informative reply and I am so happy to hear you had a good result on your first go. This will be my fourth attempt, and so although I know what to expect on an IVF cycle I have never had a monitored cycle prior to starting. I have also read from other users on the board that the ARGC do keep a very close eye on you during the IVF with a large number of blood tests. I find all this very reassuring.

I feel that I have not had sufficient testing with regards my fertility issues. My friends find it hard to believe that after three goes I still can't tell them what the problem is! I can't even narrow it down to is it me, my husband or the embryo quality.

If I am understanding you correctly, it is only actually during the IVF treatment itself that I will need to be in London, and that for the two week wait, the monitored cycle and initial appointment there will be no need for me to stay (unless my husband can't manage the drive in one day - from Norfolk).

Can you remember if you had any tests done other than blood tests before your IVF? I believe I have just had the xray with dye to check my tubes are clear.

Take care.

Foster
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LucyBucy
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Post by LucyBucy » Sat Dec 30, 2006 4:34 pm

Hi Foster,

I don't think you will need to stay in London during any other time than your treatment, but you just might have to have some very early starts from Norfolk to avoid lengthy waiting times at the clinic!

The only other tests I had before going to the clinic were the standard HIV and Hepatitis ones which I'm assuming you've had already if this is your fourth go.

I reckon you've definitely chosen the right place to go - wishing you all the best,

Lucy x

Bonnycat
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Post by Bonnycat » Tue Jan 09, 2007 9:16 pm

Hi there Foster,

Great to hear from someone else who is attending the ARGC. I live in Scotland but once we decided to go private we wanted to spend our money wisely and after researching on the Net discovered that the ARGC has the best success rate so we feel the frequent flights down are worth the extra expense and effort. I often combine trips with a shopping spree, the theatre or catching up with friends etc to make it worthwhile and take the stress out of it all!!
We first visited the clinic over 18 months ago and am only now going to start IVF this month. This is because they do try to eliminate the reasons for infertility by starting off with less invasive procedures which is exactly what we wanted. As it turned out the doctor discovered that I have too robust an immune system, something which would never have been discovered through the National Health Service. What I'm trying to say is don't expect to be starting IVF immediatlely especially if you really want to get to the route of the problem.

Good luck with it all,
Cat

foster
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Post by foster » Wed Jan 10, 2007 12:25 am

Dear Bonnycat

It's great to hear from you and also that you too have to schedule your life around going to London. Where do you stay once you are there, if it is a nearby place to the ARGC do you mind to let me know.

Also, how did they suprress your immune problem and was it to do with Natural Killer Cells? While I know it is a long time to wait for you , 18 months, it is reassuring that they don't just seem like a money farm grabbing your money and pushing you through. I know they are considered expensive but I have had three goes in Asia and believe I have only had half the tests I should have done, I would rather know what my diagnosis was before blindly doing the IVF process. My husband and I always did well but the embryos never implanted, and we had three put back at a time!

How long at a time do you stay in London for your treatment, or do you remember your first appointment and the tests that followed.

Many thanks and good luck!

Foster
Foster

Bonnycat
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Post by Bonnycat » Wed Jan 10, 2007 7:51 pm

Hi Foster,

Great to hear from you!
When I go to London I usually stay with friends so I can't really advise you on accommodation other than to say the clinic is just off Marylebone High Street and I get the tube to Baker Street and walk to the clinic from there. Any hotels in that area would be really near and there is a TravelLodge at Marylebone.

The doctor attempted to suppress my immune system through a drug that is administered subcataneously into the stomach via two injections 1-2 weeks apart called Humira. They can send you the prescription and you can inject yourself or get the nurse at your own doctor's to do it. You then go for a blood test at London about 2 weeks after that and the bloods are sent to Chicago for analysis. The results take about a month to return and if your NK cells have reduced then IVF is normally carried out as soon as possible as the Humira wears off after a couple of months. I had to go through this whole process twice which is quite normal as the doctor said that the first attack on your immune system causes it to rebel furiously and often the NKcell count goes up!!
Despite these two attempts this process did not work for me but it has worked for plenty of others and I am now starting IVF in combination with going on a blood protien drip which is another method for suppressing the immune system.

Now for the bad news. The Humira costs around £1000 for the course of two injections and the Chicago blood tests start at about £800 with subsequent tests coming down a little! You will also have to arrange to have a blood test with your G.P. for any latent TB as if you have any in your system you cannot have the Humira. Currently Humira is not licensed in this country for the use in fertility treatment which is why the analysis needs to be done in America and there is much controversy surrounding the clinics pioneering methods, but they do get the results!

Your first appointment will just involve you speaking to one of the doctors and telling him all about your fertility treatment history. All the doctors at the practice are Egyptian men and English is not their mother tongue. I often find it difficult to understand what they are saying and often come out of appointments thinking "I wish I'd said this or that" but I'm so busy trying to decipher the English through the thick accent that I am exhausted and often confused by the time I come out. My advice is to write everything down that you want to say before you go. The administration side of things at this clinic is rather chaotic and there are very few opportunities to speak to a doctor so make the most of this opportunity as it's a nightmare getting to speak to someone that knows what you are talking about once you're just on the end of a phone.

Hope this is helpful and good luck,
Cat

foster
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Post by foster » Thu Jan 11, 2007 12:10 am

Dear Bonnycat

Your information has been really helpful so thank you so much. I was just surprised that you talked about doctors in the plural. I thought there was just the great Dr T. Are you saying he will probably not be dealing with my case and that I will see many different doctors?

All the best.

Foster
Foster

gbnut
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Post by gbnut » Mon Jan 15, 2007 4:21 pm

Foster

You will probably not see Mr t until you are nearly ready for your trigger. He always does the last scans prior to EC. BUT he does look at your notes daily and instruct on what meds to take that night. Be ware that there is not a lot of privacy in the reception room and waiting room but one of the nurses will phone you daily and you can ask anything private then. As my D/h says we are all in the same boat anyway. Also fertility friends is also a good web site that is really suuprtive like this one. There is a newbies under icsi an dthat will give you loads of info and hopefully you will find someone going through the cycle at the same time.

There is a lot of bad press going on at the moment and i would take the prog on tonight with a pinch of salt. It will be very biased and not protray what goes on.

All the very best with your treatment.

Susan x
ME 32 DH 31 Severe endo tubes blocked
3 ICSI 2 BFN 1 BFP then M/C
3 FET 2 BFN May 07 FET BFP sadly M/C 7 weeks.4th FET july[img]http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt/d/4;10718;121/st/20070723/e/HCG+blood+test/dt/5/k/7a17/event.png[/img]

TansRN
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Post by TansRN » Tue Jan 16, 2007 2:54 am

Hello
I just want to say that I just saw this clinic on TV on BBC news and they are in trouble right now I guess. One of the doctors does not have a current license and he is in trouble with the law. I just watched it tonight. Something about Fertility watchdog? He was treating people that didnt really need IVF....Check into it. Just an FYI.
Tanya

IVF #1- 6/2006-DH had vasectomy
VERY SADLY ended in m/c of a beautiful baby girl at 12 weeks on Aug. 28, 2006.

FET 1/2007 -ive
#2 IVF/ICSI-4/2007 BFP!!! 1st beta 708!!!!
Sophie and Riley Arrived Dec. 10th 2008!!!

nicolamark
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Post by nicolamark » Tue Jan 16, 2007 8:29 pm

ARGC?? what is this?? I have read about this on the other thread, re the IVF programme???
IUI using donor in 2005
1st IVF cancelled OHSS 2006
2nd IVF 4 eggs all failed to fertilise 2009
3rd IVF successful 2010 pregnant Miscarried early
FET negative 2011
ADOPTED DAUGHTER 2014

LittleP
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Post by LittleP » Tue Jan 16, 2007 10:28 pm

Nicki

The ARGC is the name of the clinic in London - Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre.

Please don't be afraid to use this clinic - there are issues through two programmes recently, but I would like to reassure you that they are a totally professional hospital and have a wonderful and understanding staff.

I had my treatment through them and have a beautiful 10 month old daughter - they were nothing but honest and supportive throughout our whole treatment. We saw them initially in April and I was pregnant by the June so I guess we were very lucky to have our treatment so quickly.

I had the tests for the NK cells and needed various additional drugs and drips, but it was all worth it and they kept us fully informed of costings throughout the whole thing. There were no hidden charges!!!

I wish you loads of luck and success with your treatment.

Love

Little P
[img]http://tickers.TickerFactory.com/ezt/d/2;54;53/st/20060312/n/Amelia/dt/5/k/f209/age.png[/img]

foster
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Post by foster » Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:14 am

I am not put off by any of the bad press they have received. Although I have yet to get to the ARGC the real feelings that I get from it are from these boards. The only complaints I have read is that there is a lack of privacy. Without having any true information I still think these attacks come from jealous professionals in the field. I know to expect to have a lot of thorough tests done when I get there - its the whole reason I am going!! I don't feel my current doctor knows anything outside the normal paramiters of infertility and after three IVF's the only test my DH has had is a semen analysis and I have had the usual bloods and hystero??? I would have thought after three IVF's we could have expected more tests rather than the doctor to say he wasn't going to do anything diffreent even though he didn't know the cause of the problems.

I am counting the days to get to ARGC.

Foster
Foster

CarolynB
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Post by CarolynB » Wed Jan 17, 2007 1:22 pm

Hi Foster

May I ask one question. How long have you had to wait to get an initial appointment at ARGC? Dh and I are committed to cycle 3 at Hammersmith but are then thinking of ARGC as our last desperate attempt with my own eggs. We filled out the initial paperwork but am trying to get an idea of how long a wait it might be before we might get to see them for the initial consultantation appointment.

Thanks for your help. Hope that it lives up to your expectations & delivers your dream!
Lots of Luck
Carolyn xx
Me 42, DH 52 IVF #1, #2, #3 ICSI #4 - 10.05.2006, 12.12.2006, 10.03.2007, 27.07.2007 ICSI/DE/TESA #5, #6 PGD/IVIG #7 - 24.11.2007, 27.02.2008, 23.05.2008 - 7 BFNs
Surrogacy/FET #8 - 15.10.2008 - BFP
[img]http://lb1f.lilypie.com/2iB9p1.png[/img]

nicolamark
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Post by nicolamark » Wed Jan 17, 2007 7:03 pm

I am not using this clinic, we are in Essex. I have recently read much about it, and I agree with everyone, it's bad press, I know what Little P went thro with her IVF last year, SO dont be put off, the press are evil.....
IUI using donor in 2005
1st IVF cancelled OHSS 2006
2nd IVF 4 eggs all failed to fertilise 2009
3rd IVF successful 2010 pregnant Miscarried early
FET negative 2011
ADOPTED DAUGHTER 2014

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