After a lot of deliberation, a decision was finally made and the couple chosen to receive a free egg donation cycle at FIVMarbella was Keri (41) and Kevin (30) as part of Fertility Road’s Fertility Journey 2019.
This British couple, from Essex have had a long journey to date. When they began their journey to have a child they came across more obstacles than they could imagine. Several years of struggles brought continued heartbreak.
For this couple, participating in FIV Marbella’s Fertility Journey was their last alternative. At 41, the probabilities of Keri having a child with her own eggs were very low. FIV Marbella’s medical team, led by Dr Daniel Sosa, decided, after reviewing all participants’ cases in-depth, that Keri and Kevin were the right couple for this programme.
It was not an easy decision. For the duration of the application period, we received many requests, from which we then had to make a pre-selection. Behind every contact, every couple, every woman, there was a story of struggle, obstacles and resilience. After this arduous process, and after reviewing all the records we received, we decided that Keri and Kevin were the couple with whom we should take this path towards achieving their dream.
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The couple have been actively trying to conceive for three years on their own, without success. This is a common finding in couples where the female partner is close to 40. Egg quality and ovarian reserve decrease, and often, even if the egg does fertilize, it presents anomalies that prevent it implanting correctly into the uterus or its development stops, leading to miscarriages. We recommend couples in this situation seek medical advice if after six months of trying, a pregnancy has not occurred.
The FIV Marbella medical team are delighted to be able to participate in this project together with Keri and Kevin. However, we would have loved to have been able to offer help to all the cases that came to us via the Fertility Journey, but this could not be.
We have offered however all the couples and single women who submitted their request the possibility of a free initial consultation with our specialists to discuss their case in more depth and should they wish to arrange an appointment, we would cover the costs of one night’s accommodation in Marbella.
Keri and Kevin’s First Visit to Marbella
In March Keri and Kevin received the news that they had been chosen to start a free cycle of egg donation with us. At the beginning of April they travelled over to Marbella, where they had the opportunity to meet the medical team that will work alongside them to achieve their dream of being parents, headed by Dr. Antonio Scotto.
On this first visit they were received by Michelle Wood, our English department Coordinator, who accompanied them during their first day at the clinic. On repeated occasions they said they “were on cloud nine”.
An intense day in which they were shown around the facilities of FIV Marbella and a couple of initial tests were done to determine their treatment. The couple first had a consultation with Dr. Gloria Garcia, one of our gynaecologists.
They arrived with a mixture of emotions, although above all, it was the excitement of knowing they were taking the first steps to achieve their dream of becoming parents which was the most dominant. In the consultation, Dr. Garcia performed an ultrasound on Keri to determine the condition of her uterus and her ovaries. Although Keri had already had a recent gynaecological examination in November 2018, this ultrasound found that during this period a polyp had formed in her endometrium.
A polyp is a growth adhered to the uterine cavity, which, in most cases is benign and does not involve a risk to the patient; they can however be a cause of infertility since it makes embryo implantation difficult.
Before continuing with the treatment, Keri must undergo a polypectomy by hysteroscopy to remove the tissue. It is a simple intervention with a short recovery time. However, for greater comfort and easiness of coordination, Keri will carry out the procedure in the UK.
The gynaecological examination that Keri had last year had determined that she had a low ovarian reserve, insufficient to perform an assisted reproduction treatment with her own eggs. This is a recurring problem in women after 35 when the quantity and quality of eggs begins to decline exponentially.
The recommendation of the specialists who considered Keri and Kevin’s case was that they have egg donation treatment. An option that hasn’t taken away their dream or desire of being parents, “We have a lot of love to give,” Keri said.
In Spain, the law establishes that egg and sperm donations must be anonymous unlike the UK. The selection process is carried out by the professionals who will carry out the treatment, based on a series of criteria to guarantee compatibility. This generates concern and worry amongst patients, as they can’t know the physical aspect of their donor.
In response to this problem, FIV Marbella have created Ovomatch, a mobile app which uses facial recognition technology to find a physically similar donor.
During their tour of our centre, Keri had the opportunity to test our app in situ. She took a “selfie” and introduced her phenotypic features (hair colour, complexion, blood group) and the app began to work. After a few seconds, we discovered that we had 29 donors phenotypically compatible with Keri in our database, nine of which bore a high physical resemblance to her.
During their visit to the clinic we wanted Keri and Kevin to get to know not only the doctors and nurses with whom they will deal with but also all the professionals involved in their treatment. Therefore, after the first consultation with the doctor, we showed them around our facilities and introduced them to our whole team. Through our laboratory’s glass wall they got to see the inside of an IVF laboratory and see our technicians and embryologists at work.
“This is where they are going to create our baby,” were Keri’s words.
At the end of the visit, both of them said they were delighted with the care they had received by the FIV Marbella team, from the reception by a person who spoke their language to the advice of the medical team. “They have all been very kind. Even the nurses who drew my blood! “ Keri explained.
Keri and Kevin’s next visit to us can hopefully be scheduled for May or June, once Keri has had the surgery to remove the polyp from her uterus. This will be the moment when the eggs of an anonymous donor will be fertilized with Kevin’s sperm and 5 days later the blastocyst embryos will be transferred.
All the team at FIVMarbella are looking forward in offering you all updates of the progresses in this couple’s treatment.
Keri & Kevin’s Visit to Marbella
We’ve been together for 10 years this year and we are coming up to our third wedding anniversary. We always knew we wanted to start a family and assumed that after being in love and getting married the next step would just happen naturally. We never considered factors such as time, age or nature.
We took it for granted that once we got married we would inevitably fall pregnant just like we assumed everyone else seems to do when they announce they’re having a baby. After being married for a few years and not getting pregnant, we realised that we were getting nowhere and that maybe we should seek medical help. We did just that and were told to keep trying – they didn’t think there was a problem.
We still carried on assuming it would just happen eventually and not even really worrying too much that maybe there could be an issue and we would have to get some help.
Finally, our patience ran out, we could no longer keep crossing our fingers, hoping for the best. We requested more in depth investigations and were devastated to be told we wouldn’t be able to conceive naturally due to age and low ovarian reserve and quality. We were advised that even IVF treatment with own eggs would be highly unlikely to work for us and that we should seriously consider egg donation as our only hope of having a much longed for baby.
This was a lot for us to get our head around but we knew that ultimately we wanted to be parents and have a family and knew we’d just have to try and achieve our dream by taking a slightly different route. We researched into egg donation IVF and found that the cost in the UK was extremely high and so opted to go abroad for the treatment.
Although we had decided on this plan for us, it still seemed like a mountain to climb to achieve this and we couldn’t exactly say how soon we were able to make it happen.
During our research online about choosing treatment abroad, we submitted an entry through Fertility Road Magazine to be potentially chosen for a free round of IVF at the FIV Marbella clinic in Spain. It was literally a short form to fill out and we entered and did not give it any further thought. A few weeks later an email appeared from FIV Marbella asking us to complete a more in depth questionnaire about ourselves and our journey so far, we even at first ignored this email as did not consider people actually can be successfully chosen for these things.
A second email came through asking us to complete the questionnaire and so we thought we may as well but it still went straight to the back of our minds about being chosen. We spent weeks worrying and trying to find a way to plan our treatment abroad and how to fund it sooner rather than later.
It was on a short break away in the UK to try and relax and get some quality time together that we got the phone-call to say we had been selected as the couple to receive the IVF round with donor eggs at FIV Marbella.
We were shocked to say the least and spent that first phone-call with Michelle at FIV Marbella crying! We still have to pinch ourselves that something like this could happen to us. We were finally in with a chance to achieve our dream of having a baby and it was now a reality that we could have the treatment we longed for.
We had to arrange with Michelle to call us back so we could calm down and talk through the next steps and by then we were driving home from our mini break so had to arrange to pull over at a services to chat to her. The next step we were told was to arrange a visit to the clinic in Marbella so that we could have a proper consultation and discuss everything. We arrived home that evening from our mini break and couldn’t wait so booked our flights out to Marbella for that first consultation and had planned it for just a few weeks later.
Arriving at the clinic in Marbella we were anxious, nervous and excited- it all seemed surreal .
On our arrival we were given such a friendly and excited welcome once we had told them our names and there seemed to be a genuine excitement amongst the staff. As soon as we saw Michelle in person we gave her a big hug- it was like meeting someone we had known for years and we immediately relaxed.
We were introduced to different members of the team who would be involved in our treatment and shown around the clinic to see exactly what goes on.
We felt like the clinic had the correct balance of warmth, professionalism and expertise, taking us through the process step by step in a very relaxed and stress free manner.
We left beaming and excited and prepared for what the future has planned for us and the next step of our journey…