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Fertility Journeys

Fertility Journey Donor Egg IVF Update With Chris and Anne



Anne Pregnant

We follow-up with Chris and Anne who are in Anne’s third trimester, having become pregnant on their first donor egg IVF cycle at Oregon Reproductive Medicine. They had repeated attempts to become pregnant, including a failed shared donor cycle in the UK, before being selected by ORM to be part of our unique Fertility Journeys project.

Anne writes…
From 20 weeks to 30 weeks, the rounds of testing and appointments have decreased dramatically and I have been left more to my own devices.

The next midwife appointment was at 25 ½ weeks and after that they are to be scheduled for every 3 weeks till B-day! At this visit, I was measured from the top of my pubic bone to the top of my uterus and this measurement should be approximate in cm to the number of weeks you are.

I was slightly low at 23cm but still actually right in the 50th percentile! The midwife used the Doppler baby heart monitor and I heard her heart beat for the first time! She had to be chased around but it was definitely there and beating rapidly, so it was easily discernible from my much slower heartbeat. At my 28 week check-up I had grown a couple of cm and her heartbeat was much louder to hear.

The next consultant appointment was not until 28 weeks and then every 4 weeks with an ultrasound scan at each one. This appointment was just a catch up asking me how I was feeling. I had been fine with no issues to bring up, so it was a quick appointment. The consultant had a quick look with the ultrasound, and my little girl was already head down facing towards my back – the consultant pronounced her to be in the correct position ready to go when the time comes! Let’s hope she doesn’t come too early! I don’t feel at all prepared yet!

Fertility Journey Chris & Anne

I have just started at 29 weeks to get more tired, especially mid afternoon and at night. This isn’t helped by having to get up once nightly due to the smaller space for my bladder. I guess this is a taste of things to come. My weight has stayed stable over the past 6 weeks, but now increasing again as she enters her growth spurt. I am finding it more difficult to eat normal portions, as she does get in the way of my usually very healthy appetite!

We went to our first of 6 ante-natal classes this week. We decided to go with a non-NHS class hoping we would meet parents a little closer to our age. We were still the oldest but there were a few who were classed as older mothers! We decided we had chosen well when our trainer brought out home-made cake and a gift of a twin pack of baby grows for each of us. It was great to chat to couples in the same situation and at the same stage as us. I was the only one who had booked my caesarian, but once the subject was broached, there were a few who confessed they would not be averse to having one themselves.

Both grandmothers have been getting more excited now and both have started knitting! We will have a matinee jacket for every day of the month, and several bonnets to match! This is just as well as we have not really started thinking about buying any baby items yet. We are a little superstitious and are unwilling to tempt fate by getting too much ready for her in advance, in case anything untoward happens. However, we are thrilled to see these items being made for her!

Despite our superstitions I have been researching buggies. This is a whole new shopping world of which Chris wants no part! So it falls on me to choose the perfect travel system/pram/jogging buggy. Along with this we have yet to create a nursery for her. But she will be with us in our room for the first few weeks so I am sure we will have time to get this ready for when she moves into a cot (but maybe not the energy!).

I have been taking sequential photos of my growing bump, and the occasional selfie. This one is taken at 29 weeks and may look quite a neat size but to me it feels massive now! And even now at 30 weeks it feels like it has grown by at least 50%more. This is the time of a growth spurt anyway, but she has to almost triple in size in the next 10 weeks. However, it’s hard to believe I will be getting MUCH larger! The internet likens her size to a large cabbage now, about 1.3kg and 39cm long.

With her growing size, she is making her presence felt more and more. She has definite movements, kicks and wriggles, at specific times of the day and I have now experienced her hiccups – cute! I can feel harder lumps moving around, so she does seem more real now… Only 9 weeks to go and I can’t wait to meet her!!

Everyone at ORM is delighted that Chris and Anne are in their third trimester and well on their way towards Anne’s scheduled caesarean delivery.

I was touched by Anne’s comments on her and Chris’ reticence to start buying baby items and getting ready for their baby’s arrival. This is a common feeling for many women and couples at this stage of their pregnancy. This feeling is often understandably heightened for women who have had prior unsuccessful IVF cycles. My wife and I were also IVF patients at ORM when we were trying to complete our family so we understand this personally.

Chris and Anne’s treatment at ORM integrated the latest in reproductive genomics into their care. The procedures involved can significantly increase the chances of success and a healthy baby on the first attempt – knowing this hopefully provides comfort to IVF patients during their pregnancy. The increased chance of success gained through reproductive genomics applies to patients pursuing treatments with their own eggs and those, like Chris and Anne, using donor eggs.

Oregon Reproductive Medicine Team

Recessive carrier screening and family genetic history screening are both standard procedures at ORM on all egg and sperm providers for an IVF cycle. We passionately believe in applying the latest technology and information to help parents look after the genetic health of their future children by ameliorating the risk of passing-on genetic diseases. At ORM we have a growing team of 3 full-time genetic counselors that work with all our egg donors and intended parents to understand this important aspect of their treatment.

Not all embryos, either naturally or through IVF, form with the correct number of chromosomes. Embryos that form with either missing or extra chromosomes will almost always not implant; will not develop into a viable pregnancy; or can result in a child being born with a disorder linked to chromosomal abnormality (such as Down syndrome). This is the most common cause of failed implantation or miscarriage in IVF pregnancies. Testing embryos with a precision procedure and technology called Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS) allows us to know which embryos have screened as having the correct number of chromosomes and therefore having the best chance of developing in a healthy baby. It is not possible to determine whether an embryo is chromosomally normal through a visual inspection. Only CCS provides this information.

Chris and Anne, along with about 80% of our IVF patients at ORM, elected to include CCS as part of their treatment plan. We hope that knowing that the embryo transferred had screened as chromosomally normal provides Chris and Anne, and indeed all our patients that elect to use CCS, comfort about their chance for success and a healthy baby.

The field of reproductive genomics is advancing at a phenomenal rate. At ORM we are committed to making the best technology and information accessible to our patients as part of their care. The article in this issue Putting Reproductive Genomics at the Heart of IVF Treatment has been written by one of my partners at ORM, Dr Elizabeth Barbeiri, and is an informative primer for patients. Dr. Barbieri will also be speaking on this topic at the Fertility Show in London on 5-6 November 2016.

The entire team at ORM are counting down the last remaining weeks and days of Anne’s pregnancy. We eagerly await the next exciting step on their Fertility Journey!

Ready to start your fertility journey? Click here for more stories.

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Fertility Journeys

Free IVF Treatment With Gennet City Fertility Clinic



Gennet City Fertility

At Gennet City Fertility we offer you bespoke fertility treatment using an individualised approach and cutting-edge technologies.

Our promise to you is that we will look thoroughly into your fertility difficulties; that we will use state of the art treatment protocols and technologies, and when appropriate, we will also ‘think outside the box’.

The members of the team at GENNET City Fertility were carefully chosen on the basis of their achievements while working in reputable units in London and overseas. Within our team, we share extensive experience of and vast knowledge in fertility medicine, assisted reproduction and the management of early pregnancy. Using this knowledge and experience we endeavour to provide you with the most expert advice and to guide you through a fertility journey that is caring, safe, professional and transparent.

At our clinic, we offer a number of fertility treatments:

  • Ovulation induction
  • IUI
  • IVF
  • ICSI
  • Egg donation
  • Sperm donation
  • Embryo donation
  • Surrogacy

We also offer many other services:

  • Joint, female or male fertility assessment
  • Egg freezing
  • Sperm freezing
  • Preimplantation genetic diagnosis
  • Preimplantation genetic screening
  • Urology and Andrology
  • Surgical sperm retrieval
  • Counselling
  • Psychosexual advice
  • Acupuncture
  • Nutritionist consultation
  • Support groups and support programs.

We are a proud partner of Access Fertility which is the largest provider of IVF Refund & Multi-Cycle Programmes and Fertility Finance in the UK.

Ramesan Navaratnarajah



We are offering a free fertility treatment (IVF/ICSI) including the medication to one lucky couple. In addition to this, we will select 50 couples for a free initial consultation with one of our fertility specialists worth £200.


To enter the draw for the incredible free round of IVF/ICSI or a chance to have one of the 50 fully funded consultation appointments, please read the terms and conditions below and follow the link to the form to submit your application.


The fertility treatment prize includes initial consultation, pre-treatment tests (Antral follicle count scan, AMH blood test, semen assessment etc.), 1 cycle of IVF treatment, plus ICSI if required.

  • All medication
  • Medical and nursing appointments and care
  • All in-treatment laboratory tests and procedures
  • Monitoring and scanning costs
  • Egg Collection
  • Embryo transfer
  • Pregnancy serum test
  • Pregnancy ultrasound scan
  • Follow up consultation (if taken within three months of treatment completion)
  • Counselling
  • The prize does not include:
  • Cost of freezing embryos plus the storage of embryos.
  • Surgical sperm retrieval
  • Empirical treatments

This prize does not include any costs of having donor treatment. If the prize winner needs donor eggs or sperm we would deduct the costs of the above and the recipient would need to pay the additional costs.

The value of this prize is in excess of £6000.

This prize could not be used against surrogacy treatment.


We will contact the winner and aim to get them a consultation to start treatment as soon as possible, depending on their cycle.

Any offer of treatment is subject to the relevant Welfare of the Child checks. Patients would also need to have a BMI of less than 35 to undergo treatment.

If the applicant has travelled to a Zika affected country they would be required to wait the length of the relevant quarantine period before treatment could commence.


The successful applicants that will be shortlisted for the free IVF treatment prize must be under the age of 38 years old and with a BMI that is 19 to 35.

This offer doesn’t apply to existing Gennet City Fertility patients who are currently undergoing treatment.


The successful applicants who will be shortlisted for the 50 free consultation appointments must be under the age 50. The appointments will be offered according to the clinic’s availability.

This offer doesn’t apply to existing Gennet City Fertility patients who are currently undergoing treatment

The successful couple that will receive the free IVF cycle will not be included in the 50 free consultations draw.


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Egg Donation

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



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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Fertility Journeys

Laura & Ian Fertility Journey Couple 2018



Laura and Ian IVF Spain

Laura and Ian are this year’s Fertility Road Magazine Runner-ups with IVF Spain. During their initial consultation with our specialist Dr. Herrera they were able to clarify all their doubts and were provided with a level of patient care, they had never experienced before throughout their 7-year-long journey. It was a completely different experience for Ian as well; this time he felt like a human being rather than a number.

You can find out more about their fertility journey here.

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