Starting fertility treatment outside your home country may be frightening. Besides the emotional stress of a person suffering from fertility problems, there is also the difficulty of having to travel to a foreign country to start the treatment. Patients are consumed by doubts, and the main one is: How do I choose a good clinic?
This decision cannot be taken lightly. The clinic chosen by the patient will be the place where dreams are fulfilled or shattered. On the other hand, it must be a place where they feel comfortable and which helps them throughout the difficult journey of an assisted reproduction treatment.
In their quest to find the best clinic, couples become real detectives. They analyse every detail of the centre they have chosen and look for opinions in every patient forum. Decisions are made with reference to many considerations and some are discussed here.
The ultimate goal of any single woman or couple who start this journey is the same: to bring a healthy baby home. For this reason, the first thing they should look at are the clinic’s success rates.
In countries such as Spain, which also has some of the best results in assisted reproduction worldwide, the law requires all clinics to annually submit their results for each treatment. This means that by visiting each clinic website, patients will be able to see the possibilities of success.
Many patients pay attention to how many years a clinic has been open, but in reality, this is not as important as it might seem. More importantly, it is the experience of the professionals who work in it, especially doctors and embryologists. The more experience they have, the more likely it is that a successful pregnancy will be achieved. Most clinic websites will offer the CV’s of its key staff.
Does the clinic you are considering have their own egg bank? If you are considering embarking on an egg donation treatment, this is important information, because it means that waiting lists for treatment will be reduced. Take into consideration that using fresh or vitrified eggs does not pose a significant difference in the probabilities of achieving a pregnancy. On another note, the biggest risk when using fresh eggs is that the donor doesn’t respond to the ovarian stimulation as expected meaning that the cycle may need to be postponed, something that does not happen with vitrified eggs.
Patients’ emotions when going through fertility treatment are often all over the place. You will need professionals by your side who understand you and who can support you throughout the procedure.
It is not always easy to know how the staff will treat you once you arrive at the clinic, but there are some clues that can help you: was the initial communication friendly; Are they always available for a phone call? Are the staff in the Patient Care department able to empathize with your situation? Once you arrive at the clinic and during the time you are there, will there be a reference person to accompany you?
Starting an assisted reproduction treatment is a delicate path, so having a person who knows your situation in depth, who is with you and who
can respond at all times to any doubts that may arise, is a fundamental aid. Some clinics go a step further and offer a psychological support service for patients who are overwhelmed by their situation.
In order to avoid language barriers throughout your treatment, ideally there should be a person who speaks your language in the clinic; even if you speak the language of the country you’re travelling to, you may find it difficult to understand the medical technicalities you will hear during your treatment (e.g. ovarian reserve, ovarian stimulation, endometrial preparation). Thus, it is important that the centre of your choice has staff with whom you can communicate in your mother tongue.
In Spain, clinics usually have interpreters in different languages. Some even have native staff from each country, so that communication is as fluent as possible.
Finally, you can also consider the extra services they offer their patients. This can be helpful in making a decision if you have to choose between two clinics with a similar base offer. The small details, such as helping you choose accommodation or getting to the clinic from the airport will make your trip much more comfortable.
Fertility coaching service at FIV Marbella
At FIV Marbella we put all our effort to make your stay as comfortable as possible and, above all, get a healthy baby. But we know that sometimes even this is not enough. Therefore, for the moments when you feel that your personal situation is overflowing, we work hand in hand with different fertility coaches in the UK.
A fertility coach is a person who acts as a guide during treatment. Often, they are people who have suffered fertility problems themselves and have had direct contact with the challenges you are facing. Most complement their experience with coach training or psychology to offer you the physical and emotional support you need.
Working with a fertility coach can help you cope with the emotions you feel when you have fertility problems, help you to accept your situation and develop strategies to keep your spirits up. More than anything it will be a support to help you keep your motivation high throughout treatment.
The coaching service we offer forms part of our constant efforts of improving our services to patients.
In line with this, we have an international Patient Care department, formed of interpreters of English, French, Italian and Arabic. When treatment begins each patient is assigned a coordinator, who will accompany them throughout the process and will answer their questions at any time. In addition, our international department can help you arrange accommodation and transfers to the clinic.
FIV Marbella’s success rates are above the Spanish average, thanks to the strict quality protocols applied in our laboratories and the professionalism of our team, made up of highly qualified embryologists with more than 20 years’ experience in leading countries in assisted reproduction, such as Spain, the United States and Italy. In addition, we have state-of-the-art equipment that allows us to select the most suitable embryos to achieve pregnancy.
At FIV Marbella we want to help you fulfil your dream. If you want to know more about us, you can find out more on our website fivmarbella.com/en.
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 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…
FIV Marbella have kindly provide Fertility Road with a free egg donation cycle for Keri & Kevin and more information about their clinic can be found at fivmarbella.com