Meet IVF Spain’s second couple Alkakumari Bihka and Rhodri Jones

Meet IVF Spain's second couple Alkakumari Bihka and Rhodri Jones
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Every year, thanks to our participation in this wonderful initiative created by Fertility Road Magazine, we selected two couples to help them fulfil their dream of becoming parents.

At IVF Spain we welcome the opportunity to work again with Fertility Road and we love to have the chance to be a part of it year after year. Our first couple of 2017 were Kathryn Hobbs and Richard Clemens, who have already started their treatment and we will share their news with you from their journey.

We are pleased to announce our second selected couple from Fertility Road Magazine 2017: Alkakumari Bihka (43) and Rhodri Jones (42).

Each year all the applications we receive describe their own personal, emotive and moving stories. We would like to help everyone who applied and this makes the task of choosing which couple to work with even more difficult.

We immediately connected with Alkakumari and Rhodri’s story and as medical professionals, we had no doubts that we could help them complete their journey and fulfil their dreams of becoming parents for the second time.

This adorable couple’s story is admirable as despite all the obstacles, hardships and setbacks they faced they never lost sight of their dream of becoming parents again.

At IVF Spain, we are conscious of the emotional stress that a failed fertility treatment can have. During fertility treatment, we take care of every little detail, offering individualised care and personalising every aspect of the treatment to maximise chances of success.

Alkakumari and Rhodri had gone through 3 failed fertility treatments in the UK but their 4th round of fertility treatment was successful and they became parents for the first time. After having their first child they decided that they would like to be parents again. After trying unsuccessfully to conceive naturally for 3 years they decided to try IVF again. The cycles failed except for one which unfortunately ended in the loss of the child due to medical complications.

Having gone through so many failed fertility treatments in the UK they decided that egg donation would be a better option to help improve their chances of success and avoid the emotional and psychological pain of yet another failed attempt.

During their first visit to IVF Spain, they explained their situation to Dr Alicia Álvarez. After reviewing their medical history we are able to Alkakumari and Rhodri a personalised solution that is completely adapted to their specific needs and held the highest chance of success.

Dr Álvarez performed several tests on the couple which would help her develop the best possible strategy for them to conceive. She also analysed Alkakumari’s ovarian reserve (based both on her AMH levels and the ecographic image of her ovaries), which proved to be very low. She also looked at her egg’s viability but the results showed they were poor quality. Other analysis revealed that Alkakumari’s endometrial thickness was negligible.

After discussing this with the couple Dr Álvarez recommended an egg donation treatment as the optimal and most adequate treatment option to achieve the long-desired pregnancy.

“I don’t understand why after so many failed IVF treatments they (the fertility specialists) didn’t change their approach or try to offer an alternative to this couple when even they admitted to being tired of repeating the same treatment with identical results. They also complained that the only options offered to them in the UK were a treatment with Alkakumari’s own eggs, (which according to the test results was the least advisable option), or an egg donation treatment with a minimum waiting list of 2 years in order to find a similar phenotype to hers.

Fortunately, IVF Spain counts on a vast egg bank of more than 500 donors that covers practically all phenotypes, therefore we have been able to offer Alkakumari and Rhodri a treatment adapted to their needs and with the maximum chance of success”.

The Joneses IVF Spain

After their consultation with Dr Álvarez we interviewed Alkakumari and Rhodri and asked them how they have been coping with their struggle to extend their family and what led them to apply to be part of Fertility Road Magazine’s Fertility Journey this year:

Why did you decide to travel abroad for treatment?

Over our 8-year fertility journey, and with repeated failure of IVF cycles, we wanted to investigate all options to complete our family. The waiting list for some services such as egg donation is very long in the UK, and even longer find a donor of Indian ethnicity.

So we broadened our search to include clinics outside of the UK to investigate all the options available to us.

How did you find IVF Spain?

There are so many fertility clinics worldwide and it can be overwhelming to begin to research them. We looked at websites that specialised in giving information about fertility clinics abroad. We narrowed it down to clinics that offered a wide range of services and looked at the statistics for that clinic. We then narrowed it down to the country that we wanted to travel to, based on ease of travel, and weighed up the options based on how much we liked the clinic.

With such a wide range of clinics and treatment options at your disposal, what made you put your hopes of becoming parents in IVF Spain?

IVF Spain offers a wide range of services and treatment options. The statistics of success for the clinic are great, and the patient testimonials are excellent. Everyone mentioned what a calm and relaxing atmosphere you encounter at IVF Spain. The whole fertility journey is so stressful, and it is comforting to find a clinic where you feel your anxieties being reduced from the minute you walk in and where you feel you are treated as an individual and not a patient number or statistic.

What are your fears and concerns of travelling abroad to start a family?

It is very daunting to start a new cycle of IVF, let alone go to a new clinic and especially one in a different country. You hope that the standard of health care will be equal to or even better than the country you reside in. There are fears about the language barrier and whether travelling to another country will be easy, or whether it will just add to the stress of the cycle.

What advice can you offer to couples in a similar situation to yours?

Travelling abroad for treatment was much easier than we thought. Consider where you are in your fertility journey and consider all your options, in your own country and also abroad.

How was this last year?

Every IVF cycle failure is hard, and when our 6th cycle of IVF failed, due to poor ovarian response, we knew our chances of success were limited.

There has been such heartache in our fertility journey, and it was hard to know if we should proceed and at a loss to know how to proceed. Our fertility clinic in the UK mentioned the idea of egg donation, but we were also informed of the 2-year waiting list for egg donors at the clinic and possibly longer if we wanted an egg donor of Indian ethnicity. We researched the options and decided to get more information about egg donation abroad where the waiting times were shorter and my physical characteristics could be more closely matched.

What did IVF Spain offer that clinics in the UK didn’t?

I would recommend IVF Spain. The range of services they offer is excellent and the emphasis they place on making you feel at ease, in control and calm during the treatment process is wonderful. They are also open to holistic treatments to aid the IVF process, which was not a big part of the treatment process in the clinics we attended in the UK.

How was your first visit to the clinic?

The first visit to IVF Spain was great. As soon as you enter the clinic, the calm, tranquil environment soothes your nerves and takes some of your stress away. All of the staff is very welcoming and speaks amazing English, amongst other languages. Every part of the process is explained in detail, which makes you feel in control. The consultation with Dr Alvarez was brilliant. She explained the process in great detail and in a way you can understand and her very human approach made you feel instantly at ease. The emphasis the clinic puts on achieving good quality embryos was fantastic. I was very impressed with the clinic and looking forward to starting our treatment.

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