Posted by: Babyblues | March 6, 2018

Lessons Learned

July 30, 2018

In months, post IVF egg donor failure in Spain, reflection is a regular occurrence. Thoughts invade and often cripple my mind. I wonder if anything could have been done to improve our odds for implantation and pregnancy. Were we given the best chances to succeed? I know this is harmful, but I am a prisoner of my analytical mind.

In an effort to move on, free myself of the grief I experience daily, I am turning the page. I want to use my blog as I have in the past, to guide and educate. I believe that offering advice to other couples on how best to prepare for fertility treatment at an overseas clinic is a cathartic experience.

LANGUAGE

When visiting a clinic overseas, a majority of communications before you go for treatment will undoubtedly be by email. Written and spoken English fluency can vary greatly from country to country.  Be sure that you can understand instructions clearly. Demand from the onset that the clinic  you choose provide someone who is comfortable in both oral and the written English. This will save a lot of heartache and frustration once you arrive for treatment. Furthermore, save all email correspondence for reference.

When you arrive at the clinic be sure that that person you have been communicating with is available to meet you. In addition, if you have been communicating with a doctor that is fluent in English, insist that he or she is there to meet you when you arrive for visits.

Do not be afraid to assert yourself or be viewed as a pushy American. You are spending considerable money, and  most likely traveling quite a  distance to make your dreams a reality

DO NOT BE SWAYED BY FANCY MARKETING OR AWARDS

When we made the decision to proceed with IVF Egg Donation for a second time, we were determined to find the best clinic in Europe. This of course was no easy task as we  we live on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Once again, we relied on social media to help us hone in on top clinics. Social media is a blessing and a curse when researching overseas fertility clinics. Information overload and pretty pictures splash across the web. I caution one to never forget that all too often the website designed to facilitate choice for the patients, often sways in favor of the clinics that advertise heavily. Unfortunately, this can often lead to more focus on accolades for the clinic, while overlooking any potential negatives. Sadly, these reviews do not provide a complete picture of the clinic. I caution you to do plenty of research, do not rely on fancy awards or marketing written on any website. Dig deep to find the truth about the clinic beyond the pretty package presented on the world wide web.

Fancy awards and marketing do not mean automatic pregnancy!!! 

ASK THE TOUGH QUESTIONS

Before committing to a clinic get all your questions answered. Have a check list of what is important to you. There are many lists on the internet that can be tailored for your specific needs.  Do not be afraid to ask. You are not trying to make friends. You are investing a lot of money, and time to travel overseas for fertility treatment.

In the United States, we are accustomed to to a high level of medical care. The fertility clinics we visited in the United States were efficient, and methodical. Our expectations did not deviate when picking clinics in Europe.

The onus is on the patients to ensure that they are getting what the clinic purports to offer on it website or through social media. If in doubt, take time time to assess and reflect. Fertility treatments are emotional. It is not like buying a car. Committing to going overseas, is not an easy decision. Whatever you save in money, does alleviate the physical and emotional challenges of fertility treatment.

TALK TO OTHER PATIENTS

Before committing to a clinic, ask if there are patients who would be willing to share their experiences. Undoubtedly they will provide someone who has had a positive result. This does not mean that you cannot ask them questions that the clinic may be less than forthcoming about. The following are questions I wish we asked:

  1. How is the language fluency of the staff?
  2. Is there someone you recommend on staff that we should request for our coordinator and doctor?
  3. Is there any advice based on your experience that you would be willing to share?

In addition, do not be afraid to look for someone on social media who did not have a positive experience. If they were willing to voice their concerns on social media, they may be happy to share with someone who reaches out.

Since it may not be feasible for you to visit the clinic ahead of your treatment it is essential  hear both positive and negative experiences. Knowledge is power and by hearing both types of experiences one can better plan for future treatment.

TRYING A SECOND TIME? SEE IF THERE ARE OTHER TREATMENT OPTIONS 

If you are someone who has tried several times unsuccessfully to get pregnant with the use of assisted reproductive technology, it is important to do your research in regards to alternative treatment options. After our failures with regular IVF we met with our reproductive endocrinologists in the United States. Each  provided detailed explanation as to why they believed the process failed, and proposed different treatment suggestions for the future.

When we switched to IVF with an egg donor, we hoped that our odds would increase. Post failure after our first attempt, we did not ask enough questions, nor do enough to research to see what other treatment options are available. Instead we looked for a different clinic and rolled the dice. It was only after our most recent failure that we became aware that there are additional treatment options for women with a history of failure with egg donor IVF.

REMIND, REMIND, REMIND

If you are like me, then you have endured many failures. In addition, you may have a medical condition that may impact your ability to maintain a healthy pregnancy. When using an overseas fertility clinic you will not have the benefit of multiple visits. Your consultations will be over Skype. Therefore, since you will not have the benefit of direct contact with the doctor or staff,  you need to be your own advocate. In every correspondence or treatment plan the clinic needs to be reminded of your medical history, and may require additional therapies to help ensure successful implantation. DO NOT BE AFRAID to remind your physician that you underwent treatment at a different clinic. These clinics have many patients, and it is not realistic to believe that they will remember or be on top of every case.

Always be your own advocate!!!

AVOID TREATMENT DURING PEAK AND HOLIDAY TIMES

When planning our treatment, we believed that going in early December meant less crowds, and less chaos, We were wrong. In addition to the Christmas season, Europe celebrates Bank Holidays. These holidays can wreak havoc on your schedule. It is not uncommon for many closings, and staff shortages at clinics during holiday periods. This can result in long waits for responses to important emails or delays.

MAKE MEMORIES

Going to Europe for fertility treatments can be magical. For any couple that has endured these treatments, it means weeks of torture and schedules. We were blessed to spend the in between days, exploring nearby cities. Do not feel like you have to spend the entire treatment window in the clinic’s city. Take advantage of your time. Our first trip to the Czech Republic, we committed to staying in the city the entire seven days. When we realized that there was not much to do there, we scrambled to find places to go. For our second  trip to Spain, we planned ahead of time to explore other cities, rather than wait for daily embryo reports.

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Responses

  1. Very detailed and useful information for anyone needing this . Well done .


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