IVF is an intense time in a couple’s life, it can be so expensive, stressful, and somewhat tiring and there can be many decisions to make depending on the couple and the situation at hand. While we had IVF and had no diagnosed fertility problems we chose IVF as it gave us the best chance of conceiving and having hopefully another embryo or two to freeze for another try or even better another child.
We decided on having our treatment at CARE, they have facilities across the UK and are actually run by the founder of IVF themselves. We found CARE extremely welcoming, homey and caring which is what you want when you are going through fertility treatment. This is not in any way shape or form an advertisement and simply an honest review of the CAREmaps technology they have on hand.
There will be plenty of things discussed with your consultant and one of those may be the use of CAREmaps, it was something we were completely unaware of during our consultation and was something we went off to research and decide before our next consultation. While we were able to make a decision based on the information we found and were given we still would have liked to know more.
So we decided to put together this guide to help highlight some of the reasons you may want or not want to add on CAREmaps to your fertility plan.
What Is CAREmaps?
CAREmaps is a special time-lapse imaging procedure created by the people behind CARE. This special technology was designed to help the doctors, scientists and nurses at CARE chose the very best embryo for transfer. This allows the embryologists to monitor the embryos as they develop without having to do any genetic testing or removing them from the incubator.
The way it was described to us was it was a camera watching over our collected embryos to discover with had the most potential and was almost the best of the bunch ready for transfer. This is to give the expectant parents the best chance of conceiving and getting further in the IVF process. You can receive a video on your CARE portal of the embryos developing once they have been transferred too.
Where Can You Get CAREmaps?
You can only receive CAREmaps if you are receiving IVF treatment with CARE themselves. This is due to a technology they developed themselves and is something that is special to their facilities and services.
There may be technologies in place at other fertility clinics and this is something you would need to enquire about.
What Are The Advantages Of Having CAREmaps?
While I won’t be going into the deep figures and facts of the process I will be talking about the emotional and financial side which is what was a decider for us in the end. I understand there is much more to understand and know and that is something you can speak to your consultant about when looking into your particular treatment.
- You can feel a little more reassured knowing they are closely monitored but not necessarily disturbed
- If you are wanting to give yourself the best chance this might be something you add on
- We knew this was going to be out first chance at IVF and wanted to everything we could to make it successful
- We also hadn’t ever tried to get pregnant previously so we didn’t know how my body would react reproductively
- If you feel this may be your only chance at IVF it may be worth looking more into for better odss
- Depending on your reason for IVF treatment this may be recommended by the consultant to give your embryos a better success rate
What Are The Disadvantages Of Having CAREmaps?
While I don’t think there are many disadvantages to having CAREmaps I understand it isn’t for everyone for a number of reasons. These are some of the reasons I and Cora had thought about along with a friend who also used the same clinic and chose not to have CAREmaps.
- It is a large added cost and can often take away from other fees and expenses that may be/are more important
- If you are working on a budget you may feel this is a lavish expense that isn’t needed (this is personal opinion)
- There is no definitive yes or no or percentage that it makes the IVF cycle work better or better chances.
- The HFEA have given the treatment an amber rating, this is to say that the evidence doesn’t show definitely that is does result in a successful embryo and also doesn’t show that it has a negative impact. It is very much a case to casee study.
Is CAREmaps Worth It?
This section is really part of an emotional and personal opinion from our experience using CAREmaps. We had the CAREmaps treatment as so can only talk about it from our perspective but I feel like it might be good to understand our reasoning and decision behind it.
Firstly we had never tried to get pregnant before so we didn’t know how fertile I would be, how it would all work and if even after a successful IVF cycle we were aware that wasn’t the end of the journey and the fertilisation, implantation and a positive birth were also other steps along the way for us.
We spent a lot of time-saving money to give us the best chance of being able to have anything we needed treatment wise. We didn’t want to have to decide between one thing and another because our funds permitted it. While this may come across as boastful and a little arrogant we were so ready to have a baby we wanted to give ourselves the best chance possible.
So when the conversation of CAREmaps came up and we learnt more about what it was and what it did we didn’t actually have to hesitate and debate for too long. At the time of our treatment (2021), we paid £825 for the CAREmaps alone. This was a large added cost but it was something we felt was worth having for our particular treatment.
We had the mentality of knowing that this was going to be our one chance (for at least a year or so due to funds and savings) to try for a baby so we decided that we would do everything we could (in terms of control and health) that we could to help increase our chances of conceiving. This may be the same for others and so that was one of our deciding factors to having CAREmaps.
As each case is unique and will require different treatment protocols due to the reason you have chosen to have IVF whether this is to have a child as a solo parent, you are in a same-sex couple or simply a couple in which are unable to conceive currently. Each case can range drastically for the people involved and the reasons behind going for IVF so it can often be on a case to case basis.
To us yes, CAREmaps was worth it, we don’t know if it really played a part in us having successful embryos or successful implantation but to us, it was worth the extra cost knowing we had done everything in our power to try and conceive. We found that having that extra thing to help us along the way was a little safety net, we found it made us feel more relaxed knowing those 5 days on incubation were undisturbed but still closely monitored made us feel better and more hopeful.
Here are some key things to think about when looking at if CAREmaps is for you and your partner;
- Decide if you can afford the treatment along with some wiggle room for any other expenses you may occur
- Speak to your consultant as they may suggest that this is a good avenue for you to go down or not
- Depending on your situation and circumstances may effect whether or not you feel it is a fit for you
- There is no definite positive or negative to using CAREmaps as it is an Amber light with the HFEA
If you want to read more about CAREmaps click the link which will take you to CARE website themselves and they explain in more detail.