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Egg Donation

Anita and Simon Embark on an Egg Donation Programme with IVF Spain

We are delighted to be welcoming back IVF Spain as one of our Fertility Journeys partners for 2015. The Alicante-based clinic is well into the swing of things now with its chosen couple, Anita and Simon, who are embarking on an egg donation programme.

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Anita and Simon Embark on an Egg Donation Programme with IVF Spain

We are delighted to be welcoming back IVF Spain as one of our Fertility Journeys partners for 2015. The Alicante-based clinic is well into the swing of things now with its chosen couple, Anita and Simon, who are embarking on an egg donation programme. Here’s what’s been happening over the last two months.

Anita and Simon write…

We both greatly enjoyed our first visit to IVF Spain in Alicante and were looking forward to starting the treatment as soon as possible. From the start, we have known we’re in very good hands and would be supported to the end.

We received a huge amount of information regarding the next steps, together with an assurance of help and support with two-and-a-half months of planning and pre-treatment medication before our next visit. Our spirits had been high and we could not wait to get to the transfer cycle.

Everything started very well, as planned, with constant support from the clinic by email and phone. We knew we’d be able to cope with the demands, and were using clinics in the UK for medical tests, ultrasound and biopsy procedures. We could not believe that the IVF treatment could be so easy and stress-free and could not wait for our last cycle and the trip back to Alicante.

So it was soon time to plan the last stage – the trip to Alicante. We had waited for this for so long and could not wait to get there. We booked the flights and found a lovely, peaceful hotel close to the Alicante clinic, a place where we both could rest after a busy day, preserving as much energy as possible.

But almost like dreams come true and they feel so close for us to achieve, so life can often throw in setbacks and disappointments, and unfortunately this disappointment arrived just a few days before we were due to head back to Spain.

One of the drugs to be taken in the lead-up to the treatment ended up causing me a huge amount of pain and discomfort. The side effects have been very strong, even bringing about menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes, sweating, a painful abdomen and ovary, headaches, dizziness, painful arms, bone aches and sleepless nights. It hasn’t been at all pleasant and has left us both feeling extremely low. The side effects were out of my control and I could not do anything to halt them. I’ve never felt so bad and unhappy in my life! Everything had to stop until I am fully recovered from the ordeal.

So, this is a setback and, obviously, I have been left feeling very discouraged. We had to postpone our flights and the lovely hotel and still there is a question mark over when we will be able to return to Alicante to finish the treatment, because obviously I’ll need to ensure that I’m back to 100% fit. It has been five weeks and I think that within another week or so I’ll be back to normal.

There is no sign of my delayed period, which the medication halts, but I know it could stay away for up to 10 weeks. Of course, I hope I do not have to wait this long given that we intend to travel back to Spain by the end of July. I still need to do some blood tests and an ultrasound. So now it’s a time to wait and hope that we will be able to start our last cycle of treatment soon, and that it will bring happiness. Waiting is not an easy thing, but it teaches us patience and we are both trying to stay positive, retaining the hope that all will be well in the end.

We’ve received so much encouragement from the staff in the clinic following this setback, and we’re grateful for that, and of course remain optimistic, focusing on getting back to full health so we can have our first embryo transfer.

Inge Kormelink writes…

In the last issue of Fertility Road we introduced Anita and Simon. In March we welcomed them for a first visit to our IVF Spain Centre here in Alicante. Kind and loving, they were seen by Dr. Herrera, who has been a member of the medical team at IVF Spain since 2012.

Anita and Simon had been trying to conceive for many years. They had gone through several IVF cycles with very poor responses leading to negative pregnancy tests. They knew that egg donation would be their next step. At IVF Spain we are very interested in our patients’ medical backgrounds and Dr. Herrera spent two hours with our guests during their first appointment. Anita was examined and was relieved to finally learn why her previous implantations had failed. She never had evidential proof so this was a big moment. The reason was that 80% of egg donation success is based on egg quality and, unfortunately, the quality of Anita´s eggs was very low.

They also understood that 10% of success was related to immunology. At IVF Spain an immunological check-up was performed – we use a flow cytometer and receive immunology results within 5-7 days. We also perform immune therapy if we see any issues as well as examining the number of natural killer and TH1 and TH2 cells that may hinder implantation. This information is extracted not only through blood work but also by performing a biopsy of the lining of the uterus. Anita received immunology treatment right away to help with her implantation issues.

The other 10% of implantation success is due to blood clotting. At IVF Spain we test clotting using the modern test Recombine. This way we can exclude common blood disorders, for example Factor V mutations or protein CNS resistance. Treatments are then undertaken in the event of these clotting issues.

They were delighted to discover the entire preparation process for egg donation could take place in the UK and they discussed with the medical team the timings – when Anita should be in Alicante for the egg pick-up, and then fi ve days later the date of embryo transfer.

At IVF Spain we always perform a test or mock cycle where we can adjust the medication dose in order to ensure the lining of the uterus is in an optimal condition for implantation. This means that, at the time of the real cycle, Anita will have the ideal and properly adjusted dose of medication for her body while the donor undergoes, in parallel, an IVF cycle to grow the donor eggs for her treatment. This way, Anita is preparing her uterus in the UK while the donor is developing the donor eggs in Spain. At IVF Spain this process ensures the best results.

Anita and Simon, who are delighted to have been selected for the Fertility Journeys project, had been visiting several clinics when they decided to try again with IVF Spain. According to the average success rates in Spain published by the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF), IVF Spain ranks well above the Spanish average in both IVF and ICSI as part of egg donation cycles. Where the Spanish average is 38% in IVF/ICSI, IVF Spain reaches 49%, and with regard to egg donation the clinical pregnancy rate of IVF Spain is 64% compared to the national average of 54%. These figures are the result of a thoroughly chosen philosophy based on innovation, personalised patient care and a high commitment to implementing cutting edge technology, which sets IVF Spain apart from others.

Of course, there have been some challenges this month, but we hope to be able to proceed with treatment in the coming weeks, as Anita and Simon overcome these expected challenges. We are absolutely confident we will get to the embryo transfer stage, and cannot wait for this milestone.

We are confident that IVF Spain can assist you in achieving your dream of becoming a parent. Therefore, we welcome any patients from overseas who wish to explore making that step. As well as attending annual UK events such as The Fertility Show and Routes To Parenthood, we are also available for a free medical consultation 365 days a year. Simply email contact@ivf-spain.com to request yours today!

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Egg Donation

IVF Spain Update Us on Claire & David and Laura & Ian Progress

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Claire & David IVF Spain

During the first week of August, Claire (42) and David (35), the winners of this year’s Fertility Journey, visited our clinic for their first embryo transfer.

They were pleased to share with us the emotion and joy created by their short stay in Spain.

“We have spent some time in Alicante ahead of the transfer, relaxing in the area and preparing for our next visit to IVF Spain. Our experience with previous treatments with UK clinics has been very stressful but in Alicante, we have spent most of our time preparing for treatment by relaxing on the beach!”

Claire and David arrive at IVF Spain after having been trying to get pregnant for 7 long years and experienced 3 failed ICSI treatments with their own eggs. IVF Spain discovered that the quality of the embryos was poor and that they had always been transferred on day 3 of their development with a bad morphology. In order to increase their chances of getting pregnant, the clinic recommended an egg donation treatment – a fertility treatment which that greatly depends on matching the perfect donor to the patient.

To protect both patients and donors Spanish law requires that the donation process must be completely anonymous.  In addition, donors must be in good condition and younger than 35. Moreover, both donor and patient must share a phenotypical resemblance: hair colour, BMI, eye colour, and so on.

Dr Herea

Claire and David were grateful that so many women in Spain were willing to donate their own eggs, enabling others less fortunate, the chance of forming a family.

“We are really grateful that there are people willing to donate eggs. If we are being honest, it has taken a while for us to understand the Spanish anonymity rules for egg donors, but we have taken the time to consider this. It’s hard not having control or letting another person being in charge for something related to your baby. However, we even think now it is better that way, because the more you know, the more you want to know and we do prefer knowing nothing and leaving it in the clinic’s hands.”

There are other factors, however, that are crucial to achieving a successful pregnancy: the quality of the embryo and the microenvironment of the endometrial lining. This means that a successful pregnancy also depends on the successful communication between the embryo and the endometrial lining.

When we discovered that Claire didn’t have a single positive pregnancy test, we suggested to perform an endometrial biopsy to analyse the retrieved sample by means of the ER Map® test (Endometrial Receptivity Map) and accurately determine the receptivity of Claire’s endometrium during the window of implantation (the moment when the endometrial lining is receptive).

”The test results showed that Claire’s endometrium was post-receptive, meaning that a transfer performed on day 5.5 of progesterone (like in 70% of cases) would not end up in a successful pregnancy” explains Dr Natalia Szlarb.

“Before coming to IVF Spain, we had never heard of an endometrial study or ER Map. The fact that the endometrial study analyses the best time to transfer the embryo could make a big difference to our treatment. We were really impressed with the accuracy of the test. Our ER Map test result was post-receptive and although this was initially a concern, we later came around to the view that knowing the best time to transfer the embryo would increase the chances of success, and this might have been the reason our other treatments in the UK had failed” – Claire and David.

There are other key factors, however, to achieve a pregnancy such as the male factor. David suffers from teratospermia which implies that 96% of the ejaculate sperm cells have an abnormal morphology. Luckily, we were able to improve David’s sperm quality and fertilize the retrieved eggs.

We now wish them the best of luck!

Although it will not be until mid-September when Laura (41) and Ian (44), the 2018 runners-up visit us in Alicante for their embryo transfer, they already talked about the differences between IVF Spain and former clinics. They were impressed at how extensively their case had been studied by our fertility specialists.

“I think the longer you have treatment the more difficult it becomes. When you begin there’s a naivety along the lines of, ‘we’ll have one, maybe two goes at IVF and have a baby in our arms’. After 7 treatments (and lots of add-ons) the feelings completely change. You feel terrified that it won’t work, and you’ll never become parents. You’re scared it will work and you’ll lose the baby again (Laura and Ian have experienced 5 losses). You’re scared of physically going through the treatment as you’ve had so much. Each test and treatment creates fear – fear that it will hurt, be traumatizing, that it will give you more bad news. Then there’s the impact on your own mental health and emotional well-being. Can I handle this? What if the results say something’s wrong with me? Will I blame myself? It starts to really damage your mental health and well-being. Financially you start to feel that you’re risking everything, and it may not pay off.

For us we have renewed hope with IVF Spain. We have undergone tests that we’ve never had before (ERA, NK biopsy and KIR). We have paid for lots of very expensive blood tests and drugs but never received this kind of analysis. So, we feel as though the treatment is now specifically for us.

This creates more positivity, a feeling of being cared for and that maybe, just maybe, we’ll get to be parents.

Plus, we’re now using donor eggs. The hope starts to soar and with that comes excitement. Hope is the only thing that keeps you going and overcoming the fears I mentioned. This opportunity with IVF Spain has given us hope that we thought we’d lost.”

Laura is 41 years old and has already been through traumatic losses including an ectopic pregnancy. Due to this and to the fact that Laura suffers from recurrent miscarriage, our medical team at IVF Spain recommended an egg donation treatment to increase their chances.

The couple is thankful for the egg donation process being anonymous, as otherwise it would be really difficult to find a donor:

“For us, it’s taken some of the pressure away. I can’t imagine how difficult it would be to choose a donor ourselves. But putting your complete trust into someone else’s hands is hard.

We’ve explored whether it would be better for our future child to know the donor. I think that’s something we’ll never know. But we hope that he/she will understand our decision to choose an anonymous donor. It would be good to know a little more about the heritage of the donor but then we also know that we often don’t even know our own heritage. We’ll make sure Spain is a key part of their story.

It’s also really odd to not know who this person is. What they look like and personality. What’s motivating them to help us. One of the things I’ve been really consumed with is the gratitude you have for this person. I’d like to thank them but can’t.

Anonymity means we have a chance to become parents. Without it there’d be a shortage of donors like there is in the UK. For us, this makes it a wonderful gift – a chance to hopefully find a donor that is perfectly matched to us genetically (due to the KIR tests) as well as in physical looks.

I can’t stop thinking about what our future child will look like – but I think that’s quite normal” says Laura.

Immunologically speaking, finding a matching donor for Laura is certainly a challenging task, which is why IVF Spain suggested that we find out her KIR via a blood test. Ian was also tested for his HLA-C in order to determine whether the maternal – foetal interaction will be optimal or not.

Thanks to the KIR-HLA-C genotyping test it is possible to determine if the uterine KIR and the embryonic HLA-C will both be compatible. If so, the pregnancy will carry on successfully; if not, then the most probable outcome will be an unviable pregnancy and subsequent miscarriage.

“We carried out the KIR-HLA-C genotyping and concluded that the patient had a KIR AA. It is known that KIR expressed by the natural killer cells present in the maternal part and the HLA presented by the trophoblastic cells together will influence the outcome of the pregnancy. With Laura’s KIR AA variant, the sperm would have to be HLA C1 C1 and the HLA of the donor should be as well HLA C1 C1; as her husband has a HLA C1 C2 variant, we will treat her with a medication that reduces her immune-genetic reaction. We believe that not paying attention to this issue in the past is what may have caused the implantation to fail” suspects fertility specialist Dr Isabel Herrera.

We tend to recommend a single embryo transfer, as it has been proven that on patients with an immunological profile such as Laura’s, double embryo transfers would increase the immunogenetic reaction, hindering the achievement of a pregnancy” says Dr. Herrera.

It is also known that these cases tend to have a higher risk of pre-eclampsia, late spontaneous abortion or miscarriage.

Until their transfer day the couple will try to enjoy summer just as any other couple would;

“I’ve tried to just carry on as normal. Remain healthy, take pre-conception vitamins. Reach out and get support through the Donor Conception Network in the UK and connect with other people going down the DE route via online forums. It’s quite isolating and scary so it’s important to reach out and not feel so alone.

I’m trying to relax a little – not so easy with work but it’s a work in progress. I need to get that bit sorted now treatment is on the horizon.”

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Egg Donation

If You’re Thinking About Becoming A Mother Using Donated Eggs, Here Are Eight Questions And Answers For You

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Pregnancy Guarantee Programme

As is only to be expected, women have a number of doubts when they first take the important decision to become a mother using an egg donated by another women. The first reaction is one of shock when a woman finds out that she will need to rely on egg donation. Once they have had time to come to terms with the situation, many women take it on board naturally and accept the option that will allow them to give birth to their child. For others, however, the process takes longer and it needs to be thought through before it can be accepted or, in some cases, rejected.

Women go through what is known as genetic mourning during the process when they become aware of the fact that the baby will not have their genes. According to the experts at Instituto Bernabeu, accepting this situation from the outset is the best way forward if patients are to avoid turning the doubts and questions that come up along the way into a concern or even an obsession for the future mother.

1. Can I be told who the donor is?

One of the main questions that future parents at Instituto Bernabeu ask is with reference to who the donor is. They want to find out as much as possible but Spanish law is clear and protects donor privacy. The future parents will not be told who she is, where she works and what her academic background is. Spanish Law 14/2006 on Assisted Human Reproduction Techniques regulates egg donation and protects the anonymity of the donor.

2. What can I be told about the donor?

Recipients may be told about the donor’s phenotype. They are told about the donor’s physical characteristics and blood group (which must be compatible with the partner’s blood group) as well as her age (an important piece of information in terms of the possible tests needed during the pregnancy such as the amniocentesis test or triple screen test). In compliance with Spanish law, donors must be between 18 and 35 years of age. However, at Instituto Bernabeu, in order to ensure optimum donation conditions, we prefer them not have reached 32 years of age, being the average age of their ovodonas 25 years. Donors must also be in good health both physically and psychologically and they are given a number of specific tests in this sense. The Law allows to know general information about the donor. The staff in the egg donation department carry out a meticulous selection of physical characteristics: the donor must be medically and physically compatible with the recipient and the clinic complies rigorously with this requirement, keeping in mind how important this is to the patient as her child grows.

3. How can I know that the donor is completely healthy and that my child will not have an hereditary disease?

At Instituto Bernabeu, donor candidates have to pass medical analyses in order to confirm that they have no genetic, hereditary or infectious diseases. They also have to pass a personalised psychological analysis. In fact, the department excludes over 30% of candidates as a result of not passing one or more of these tests. Furthermore, since 2016 and with no added cost for the recipient patient, Instituto Bernabeu has carried out a Genetic Compatibility Test (GCT) on all donors. This is a ground-breaking test that identifies mutations in the genes responsible for over 600 recessive disorders. If it is the desire of the receiving couple, to the patient expense, it can also be done the GCT in the father to contrast both results and ensure that the future baby is not bearer of these diseases.

4. Can we have the same racial background? I want her to be from my part of the world.

In the consultation, one of the recurring requests from women of non-Caucasian ethnicity who are going to have a child with donated eggs is to know the ethnicity of the donor. The doctors at Instituto Bernabeu explain that the law stipulates that the donor must be compatible with the recipient’s racial background (Caucasian, Asian, black-skinned). However, some people wish to go a step further and ask the doctor at the clinic to ensure that the donor is of a specific ethnic background. The egg donor bank at Instituto Bernabeu includes foreign hundred donors and donors of different races but the percentage of donors of this kind is smaller than the percentage of European donors. From a cultural point of view, donation – whether this be organ or gamete donation – is more accepted in the Western world. In other cultures, such as Asian, there is a greater reluctance to donate and donors do not readily come forward. The clinic’s aim is clear: To guarantee the maximum physical and phenotypic similarities with the patient.

5. Can you tell me if the donor has higher education qualifications? Can I choose her based on her hobbies?

Some couples show a keen interest in the donor’s academic qualifications. Natalia Romera, the psychologist specialising in assisted reproduction at Instituto Bernabeu, explains that the child’s intellect is an external factor and that his or her social and family environment will shape this and guide him or her towards a particular academic preference. The same applies when some people ask to be told what the donor’s hobbies are or indicate that they wish to choose her based on external factors such as her degree of interest in a given sport or if she enjoys reading. A large number of our donors are incredibly well-rounded people with higher education qualifications. During the interview with the psychologist, her intellect is evaluated and is an exclusion factor.

6. How many donated eggs will I be given?

Instituto Bernabeu guarantees an average of 11 and a minimum of 8 donated oocytes for all its patients. Should the number retrieved be less than this, that donor’s cycle is cancelled and a new donation is assigned at no additional cost.

7. Once I’ve decided to go ahead with egg donation, how long will I have to wait?

Instituto Bernabeu has over two decades’ experience in egg donation and, since it manages its own donation bank with over 600 egg donors, it does not have a waiting list. In fact, some patients, in particular those from foreign countries, are surprised by the immediate nature with which treatment can begin and the high success rate we have.

8. What are the chances of success with egg donation?

Egg donation is currently the technique with the best pregnancy success rate. At Instituto Bernabeu, the rate of positive pregnancies using donated eggs is 81.5% when all embryos are taken into account. In other words, the total number of fresh transfers and frozen embryo transfers.

For information click here to contact Instituto Bernabeu

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Egg Donation

Egg donation abroad – best IVF clinics ratings are here!

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Best IVF Clinics Ranking 2017

IVF with donor eggs can be eye-wateringly expensive in some countries that is why so many fertility patients rely on best IVF clinics ratings to be able to get the best value treatment for their hard-earned money. However, with the modern advances in medical science, and the ever-increasing number of clinics offering IVF, it is also becoming increasingly difficult for potential patients to choose the right clinic for their needs. You do not have to do the math to realize that there are not enough hours in the day to be able to sit down and compare all the best fertility clinics in Europe.

You are right to feel slightly confused, not knowing where to look. Even if you try, you need to know that different clinics use different methods of presenting their IVF statistics and all those neat little graphs on clinics’ websites may be hard to understand. Also, the best IVF clinics for the over 40s will not necessarily be the best match for a 50-year-old patient.

The experts at EggDonationFriends.com know that knowledge is power and that you have the right to know, compare and choose. Certainly, you do not wish to end up like Kelly and Rick* who picked the nearest IVF clinic instead of researching the market first and checking the best IVF clinics rating. They spent nearly £55,000 on 6 cycles of IVF with donor eggs over the course of three years, without success.

How can you be sure that you do not wind up in the same boat as Kelly and Rick? You can benefit from free patient assistance offered by EggDonationFriends.com. Every year Egg Donation Friends publish best IVF clinics online ratings dedicated to patients embarking on their fertility journey. The website has already published a second edition of fertility clinics ratings and so far they have been downloaded 7,000 times.

What’s in the IVF Egg Donation Clinics Ranking?

Fertility clinics ratings are available for the most popular IVF destinations, including Spain, Portugal, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Cyprus, Greece, Poland, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Georgia, Russia and India; and other destinations such as Mexico, Australia, Belgium, Malaysia, the UK and the USA to name just a few. All fertility clinics ratings come in the user-friendly .pdf format.

Every report contains 6 ranking categories: best clinic, best prices, best success rates, best guarantees, best procedures and best treatment times. EggDonationFriends have carefully screened the clinics’ offers and gathered all the essential information for your easy reference. Clinics are awarded points in each category: a maximum of 25 points for price, 25 points for IVF success rates, 15 points for procedures, 20 points for guarantees (the number of guaranteed eggs) and 15 points for treatment time at the clinic (the maximum stay at the clinic and waiting time for fresh donor eggs).

 

Best Fertility Clinic Rankings

Choosing best fertility clinic for your needs is probably one of the most important decisions in your life. Make sure you make an informed choice that will lead you to your dream of becoming a parent. Before you book an initial consultation with a clinic, download and check the EggDonationFriends ranking as a priority and find out if the destination or the clinic you are interested in ranks best in the report.

Remember: knowledge is power. And you have the right to know, compare and choose. Download the Top Rated Egg Donation Clinics Worldwide Rankings 2017. They are free and always will be. EggDonationFriends have been helping you make the best choice since 2013.

* names have been changed

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