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Fertility Journeys

Fertility Journey update: Oregon Reproductive Medicine



Chris and Anne

Anne writes…
Although we had been reassured about how treatment would work using a US clinic and needing support in the UK, it was difficult to understand until we started the process. I felt that the first tick on the list was finding the right donor.

I started scanning ORM’s donor profiles in earnest. They were full of really great information about the donors, with photos of them now and while growing up. There was full family history and their academic achievements and general likes and dislikes. It took some time looking before a donor we really connected with became available. As soon as we agreed that she was the one, we got in touch with ORM to set the ball rolling. Our coordinator at ORM, Lauren, was really great and started organising us immediately!

We arranged our first visit to Portland as soon as we could and we rushed through the screening tests we had to complete before we went over. We mainly did these through the private clinic we had used previously, who were really helpful and agreed to help us with the UK testing once my cycling and pregnancy had started. We were set to go!

The first visit to ORM went very smoothly. They had helped us with choosing a hotel and we checked into one directly opposite the clinic. We had all our appointments and tests done the day after we arrived from the UK, including a mock transfer.

Our chosen donor was actually a carrier for three mild genetic diseases. So when we arrived in Portland, the implications were discussed with us and Chris had blood taken to see if he was also carrying any of those recessive genes. The results of this we wouldn’t know for 3 weeks. If he was negative, it would be fine to carry on and use this donor as the risks to the child would be negligible.

Lauren arranged for us to collect all the medications I would need up until transfer. She instructed me how to inject my medications and gave me a very comprehensive chart with all my doses and timings of the various hormone injections I needed to inflict on myself over the next few months! We visited the pharmacy and were loaded up with a small suitcase of needles, syringes, bottles of injectable medications and antenatal vitamins to take back to the UK in our baggage. Once we had finished, we headed straight off the same afternoon to Mount Bachelor to enjoy a few days of much needed holiday.

After a tense 3 week wait at home, Chris’ genetic testing results came through – all negative, thankfully. Our donor was instructed to start her medications and get ready for the egg retrieval procedure. I also started my medications; the first few were a little daunting but after that it became a bedtime routine.

The first round of medications were injections under the skin in my belly fat. These were not too bad, involving only a small volume of liquid. In the run up to transfer, the injections in the muscle of my bottom were started. They were a larger volume and took a bit of getting used to! During this time, I had frequent tests done to check my estradiol and progesterone levels and I had an ultrasound scan to check the thickness of my uterine lining. These were all noted in my chart and I was in constant contact with Lauren at ORM.

While this was happening, our donor went through the egg retrieval. Once sperm and eggs were combined, we were kept up to date by the embryology team for the next week while our 20 fertilised eggs were monitored and grown. Eight of these made it to the 5-day blastocyst stage and after the CCS (Comprehensive Chromosome Screening) testing, we ended up with six normal little blastocysts which were frozen in preparation for our next visit.

How exciting! Because the CCS testing also indicates the sex of each embryo, we had the option to choose a boy or a girl – it was a very difficult decision.

By the time we arrived in Portland for our second and final visit, I was ready and my uterine lining was plenty thick enough to receive our new member of the family! The whole process was very smooth and easy. Once I had my blastocyst implanted, I was able to go back to the hotel and I was under strict bed rest instructions for the next 2 days. Luckily we chose a hotel with a view! We had a relaxed little holiday before we went back home with a new life growing inside of me.

The next couple of weeks were a blur of HCG testing which would tell me if my blastocyst had implanted and was growing as it should. I also had regular testing and my injection doses were tailored to my hormone levels. We were really impressed with the amount of testing and input ORM had with me after transfer.

Finally I reached the 6 weeks mark and had my first ultrasound scan. It had taken and I was officially pregnant with a tiny 4mm long little embryo!

Dr. Bankowski Comments on Selecting an Egg Donor
Everyone at ORM is delighted with Chris and Anne’s progress and that they were able to find the right egg donor for them through ORM’s exclusive in-house programme.

Around 80% of ORM’s patients from around the world who need an egg donor find the right one for them among our programme of remarkable, accomplished young women. The women in ORM’s programme are in their twenties and have been fully screened by ORM’s physicians, in-house genetic counsellors, as well as a psychologist to ensure medical and psychological suitability for egg donation and optimum fertility. About two-thirds of ORM’s donors live locally in the Portland area.

For patients pursuing their treatment in the US, the availability of donors, the level of screening, the amount of information that patients can receive about potential donors, and the degree of choice patients have in the process can differ substantially from what is possible in their home countries. This was certainly the case for Chris and Anne coming from the UK where several restrictions are in place compared to the US.

In contrast to what would have been available to Chris and Anne in the UK, ORM donor profiles can contain 25 pages of information accessible by patients including: photos, personal background, education, interests, physical and ethnic characteristics, personal and family medical background, family genetic history, results of screening for recessive carrier genetic diseases, results of ovarian reserve testing, prior donation outcomes if applicable, reasons for donating, and whether the donor wishes to remain anonymous or is willing to be known to the patients.

Selecting a donor is an important and personal decision for patients. To help patients with this process, within its dedicated donor team, ORM has a Matching Coordinator, Corby Barnes, who works with many patients to find the right donor for them. Corby counsels ORM patients about prioritising the many criteria they may be evaluating. It can be beneficial for patients to consider not only a donor’s physical and personal characteristics, but also her medical background and the results of genetic screening when deciding on a good match.

Corby also advises patients to consider whether an anonymous, semi-anonymous, or known relationship with their chosen donor is right for them as this can impact their match.

Patients are universally focused on their chances for a successful donation that will lead to a healthy baby. Ovarian reserve (the capacity of a woman’s ovaries to provide eggs capable of fertilization) and the rate of abnormal embryo formation (embryos with the incorrect number of chromosomes) are key factors for patients to understand in using a donor. Age is a key indicator. A woman’s peak fertility (number and quality of her eggs) is in her twenties so this is the optimum period for women to donate eggs. We employ two tests: Baseline Follicle Count (the number of follicles in a woman’s ovary that will create an egg) and Anti-Mullerian Hormone (which provides an indication of a woman’s egg reserve), to help assess ovarian reserve.

In addition, for patients open to considering a repeat donor the results of any prior donation(s) can indicate key factors including: the number of eggs retrieved; the fertilisation and blastocyst formation rates; if the embryos from a prior donation were tested with CCS the rate of normal embryo formation; and whether a prior donation resulted in pregnancy and/or birth. Selecting a donor that has had a successful prior donation can provide patients additional comfort about their chances for success. In the US, the guidelines from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine indicate that women should not undergo more than six donation procedures.

The entire team at ORM is honoured to be working with Chris and Anne. We look forward to helping them on their continuing Fertility Journey!

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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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