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Fertility Journeys

Fertility Journey update: Oregon Reproductive Medicine’s Chris & Anne



Fertility Journey Chris & Anne

Earlier in 2016, Oregon Reproductive Medicine selected a couple to be a part of our unique Fertility Journeys project. We follow up with Chris and Anne, who after repeated attempts to become pregnant, and a failed shared egg donor IVF cycle in the UK, are near the end of Anne’s second trimester having become pregnant following donor egg IVF at ORM.

Anne writes…
The 6 week scan had been the first emotional hurdle for us. Previously during our first IVF attempt a year before, we had an empty pregnancy sac scanned at 9 weeks, so having a tiny foetus forming meant everything! The most amazing fact was that she already had a beating heart at that very early stage even though she was the size of a grain of rice!

This scan we had done at another private clinic, as the NHS monitoring would only start after 12 weeks.

Following that, the rounds of estradiol and progesterone testing continued and I relayed the results to Lauren at ORM. My results continued to be good and I was able to wean down off my medications. I was still having injections in my bottom though the amount had reduced, and also progesterone vaginal pessaries. In the UK, only progesterone pessaries seem to be prescribed, and not progesterone injections.

I was feeling the effects of her presence now as morning sickness had kicked in… and I could not wait for it to end! Constant snacking I found was the best remedy, as any hunger quickly led to nausea.

We arranged another check-up scan at 9 weeks at the private clinic, and seeing her getting bigger, now 26mm from her bottom to the top of her head, was really fantastic. We were very conscious though that it was still early days and anything could still go wrong. Consequently, we felt unwilling to share our excitement with anyone but the closest family members.

By 11 weeks, Lauren told me that I could stop all my medications – happy days! I was concerned that my uterus was not ready to support her without outside help, but Lauren reassured me that it would be just fine, and it was! No-one had told me about the numb bum syndrome (unless it was just me!), a result of all the intra-muscular injections in my bottom – I found it a really odd sensation not being able to feel my skin being touched.

Fertility Journey Anne

At 12 weeks, I had a small bleed. I did not think I would react so emotionally, but when I had a small amount of bleeding, I panicked and thought that all our hard work was about to be crushed and our little girl had disappeared. I was at work and just could not hold back a few tears.

I was thinking to myself, would I go through it all again if this attempt failed now? I arranged another private scan the same day and thankfully all was well… phew! There she was happy as Larry!

I finally had my first appointment with the NHS midwife a week later. We discussed lots of details about me, my previous history and my lifestyle. Because we had opted for the CCS testing on the embryos, it meant that the normal tests for Downs syndrome and other chromosome conditions would not need to be done. So although I was an older mother, my young donor eggs made the process much simpler.

And so the weeks marched on. My 13 week scan was arranged with the NHS and she was now a whopping 76mm long. All was well so we started to feel more confident that she was more likely to survive, and we started telling friends and extended family. Everybody was really pleased for us and we felt very supported.

Nothing much happened over the next few weeks, and apart from feeling bloated, there were not really any signs of being pregnant. So when I had another bout of abnormal discharge at the 16 week stage I got concerned again. I called my doctor and she sent me for another scan. Again, thankfully she was fine and had continued to grow.

A week later I had my first appointment with my NHS consultant. This was arranged to discuss my birth plan and also because I was an older mother and more at risk, I would have special care! We discussed birthing, and I requested a Caesarian and the consultant was delighted to arrange this for me. She said that they prefer to offer Caesarians for the older mother at the 39 week stage, as labour can be delayed sometimes a few weeks after the due date because there is less contractility in the uterus. That suited me very well, and to my surprise she booked me in there and then for the Monday morning a week before my due date. That suddenly made it all very real!

She told me that from 17-20 weeks I would start to feel her moving, initially just like butterfly wings fluttering. I had felt something, but could not honestly say that it was not my digestion! However, from 17 weeks onwards, these feelings did grow stronger and by 20 weeks I could definitely say that those butterfly wings fluttering had become kicks!

The midwife had made clear that at week 20 there was the most detailed scan so far and that they would check for abnormalities; this felt like a milestone point. Shortly after a quick holiday I was booked in for the big scan. She had her heart chambers and blood flow checked, and her spine, kidneys and brain development were looked at, among other things. All was good, in fact the ultrasonographer pronounced her very active and had to chase her around to get the pictures! She was now 140mm head to rump, though apparently they do not really measure this any more from this stage on; according to the internet, she should have been the size of a banana!

We decided to go on a last holiday as a couple while I was still feeling relatively normal. We arranged a last activity holiday, trekking hut to hut in the mountains, but our concession to my condition was having our bags transported for us between the huts. Obviously we would be taking it gently with our precious cargo on board!

Oregon Reproductive Medicine Team

Dr. Bankowski comments on managing a long-distance donor egg IVF process

Everyone at ORM is delighted with Chris and Anne’s continued progress. The seamless management of their long-distance donor egg IVF process is something that we are proud to have organised for Chris and Anne, as well as the hundreds of similar patients that come to ORM in Portland, Oregon from around the globe.

Often potential patients from around the world have concerns about how to manage an international IVF process – be it with or without donor egg or with or without a surrogate, if either are part of their treatment plan. Patients have for years come to ORM from around 40 counties to build their families. As a result of treating patients from every continent (as well as from across the USA), we have built-up significant experience efficiently managing these long-distance IVF cycles.

There are four elements of the process worth highlighting: medications; pre-cycle testing and monitoring; the IVF procedure and transfer; and post-cycle testing and monitoring. All patients have their IVF procedure and transfer at ORM. The other three parts of the process typically work differently for long-distance patients compared to ORM’s locally-based patients.

For long-distance patients, we organise the medications for them. These patients either collect their medications when visiting ORM, or we have them delivered directly to them. In certain cases we organise the medications in our patients’ home countries where relevant options exist. We coordinate with providers in our patients’ home locations for blood tests and ultrasound monitoring pre and post-cycle.

We provide the necessary medical orders and have systems in place to receive back the results same-day so that a patient’s treatment protocol can be adjusted if necessary to optimise results. We have established relations with providers in many locations and a team experienced and dedicated to managing these long-distance processes.

When it comes to communication, our dedicated patient coordinators stay in close contact via email, phone and Skype with their patients around the world. In the unlikely case of an out-of-hours emergency, we have on-call staff at all times should a patient urgently need to reach our team at any time – regardless of the time zone they are calling from.

It is always our goal that our long-distance patients should feel well-connected to the team at ORM, and that their experience is as convenient and seamless as possible.

The entire team at ORM is honoured to be working with Chris and Anne. Though they have graduated from ORM’s day-to-day care we continue to follow closely each step of their Fertility Journey!

For information, advice or support please contact the Oregon Reproductive Medicine team via their website

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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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