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Fertility Journeys

Heather & Brandon Update Us On Their Fertility Journey At Portland Based Oregon Reproductive Medicine

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ORM Heather and Brandon

After nearly ten years trying to build their family, Heather & Brandon have started their donor egg IVF treatment with genomic screening at ORM and made their first ever visit to beautiful Portland, Oregon. We follow their initial steps to complete their pre-cycle screening with Dr. Barbieri and to meet the team that will be caring for them.

Heather writes…
Thursday, November 9th, after such a long journey and so many struggles over the past nearly ten years, we were finally boarding our flight to Portland, Oregon to meet with the team at ORM who are caring for us. To be honest, we were cautiously optimistic about this trip, recalling the many false promises and inaccurate diagnoses which have lead us to this moment in time. We were full of anxiety and hoping that our trip would not be in vain.

In fact our journey with ORM had already begun before we got on the plane. The months leadingup to our trip have been filled with lots of activity building-up to this visit.

My pre-cycle checks had revealed a fibroid that needed to be taken care of before we could get started. So I had a further hysteroscopy, and after recovering from this surgery my ultrasound showed that the procedure had been successful and all looked good.

We had also had a consultation via Skype with ORM’s psychologist to talk through the process of becoming parents through egg donation and to help ensure that we were well prepared emotionally for this journey.

Brandon had completed his genetic family history evaluation and genetic disorder carrier screening for the ORM genetic counsellors. Both of these were part of our being able to select an egg donor that would be a good match from a genetic health perspective.

After much consideration, we’d also found a lovely egg donor in the ORM Donors program who we felt was right for us and who was a good match.

At last we arrived in Portland late on the Thursday evening and checked-in at the Hotel Deluxe, right across the street from ORM. Such an inviting place to arrive after our travels. We reviewed our itinerary of meetings for the following day then slept soundly.

Our first appointment was the following morning on Friday, November 10th. We expected that ORM would be a suite in a larger building. We were surprised to find that an entire three story building was solely dedicated to helping couples like us. ORM’s facilities were beautiful and styled in a contemporary, welcoming fashion with friendly employees at every turn.

We first met with our treatment coordinator, Christina, who has been our constant guide through this journey. She coordinates our correspondence with Dr. Barbieri and the larger ORM team and supports our efforts to connect our fertility center at home with ORM, as well as provides us with helpful advice throughout the process. It was so nice to put a face to our most frequent ORM contact.

We talked with the ORM team about creating a video as part of our Fertility Journey to document our journey to becoming parents. My husband said yes without needing to be convinced. I, on the other hand, needed some words of encouragement.

I will admit that once we got stated, the experience of sharing our intimate story and challenging journey to become parents was freeing. Here I was sharing  our story with my husband through video and thinking to myself, “Wow, what a reward if our child is able to see all that we have done and been through to ensure they are a part of this world.”

In the afternoon Brandon was up. His sperm collection and freezing took place. The results came back in less than three hours and showed a healthy collection with great counts for quality and quantity. We were relieved and excited to receive such good news.

We then had a consultation with Christina where she shared the prospective calendar for our donor and a prospective calendar for me. To see these cycle calendars, to see the dates, to see the daily doses, helped us to realise that our reality of becoming parents was starting to take shape.

Christina spoke with us about the medications that would be part of my treatment as well as walked us through the process of administering my daily injections. She carefully explained every medication and detailed the specific quantities that I would be prescribed for the six weeks prior to my embryo transfer.

I then went through the process of performing the regimen for dosages and administering them into a dummy belly to ensure my husband and I understood how to administer the medications required prior to the procedure. Christina explained that our medications would be sent to us to ensure that we had no difficulty getting a hold of the medications required.

Next, we met with Dr. Barbieri for a trial embryo transfer and ultrasound. Dr. Barbieri is so kind and warm. Dr. Barbieri said to us, “You all have been through so much. We are going to do this!”

We discussed with Dr. Barbieri the chances for success, the benefits and disadvantages of performing a single versus a dual embryo transfer, as well as assessed my overall health.

She had encouraging words for me because my health was in good standing. My weight is comparable to my height. My blood pressure and cholesterol are also in good standing. Both the trial transfer and ultrasound went smoothly with great results, which was a relief for me.

Finally, our day concluded with goodbye hugs with Christina and discussions of the next time we would be in touch. We could not ask for better partners in this journey who are solely dedicated to our success story of building our family.

Friday evening, we took in the a little bit of Portland’s sites. We very were pleased. Portland is such a relaxed place. Chirstina recommended a great place for dinner. I am obsessed with seafood and after such a wonderful day filled with hope, as a treat, my husband and I agreed that we wanted some to cure our craving for great seafood.

We walked at least 10 to 15 blocks and dined at Jake’s Famous Crawfish. We were not disappointed. We also enjoyed the opportunity to visit several small businesses on the streets of Portland and speak with locals about the Portland experience. Our flight left early Saturday morning so we didn’t make it a late night.

While our visit was short, it was sweet. We are thankful, grateful and excited to be on this journey with ORM and Fertility Road and we look forward to sharing the next of chapter of our journey with you.

Dr BarbieriDr Barbieri comments on Heather and Brandon’s journey

We have come to know Heather and Brandon on paper, through email, on the phone and via Skype these past few months. It’s been such a pleasure to have them in Portland and to meet them both now in person.

They are very generous with sharing their journey in these articles and in documenting their experience in video. I know how helpful this it can be for other couples and individuals facing challenges in building their families to be able to read and hear others’ stories and to know that they are not alone.

I am pleased with Heather and Brandon’s treatment progress to date and have every confidence that we will be able to help them become the parents they so desire to be.

Doing our best to look after the genetic health of our patients’ future children through proactive screening is an important part of our work at ORM, and this approach is integral to our in-house egg donation program.

I am delighted that Heather and Brandon have matched with a lovely egg donor from the ORM Donors program who has been fully-screened and is ready to help them on their journey.

Heather’s endometriosis has I believe been a contributing factor to their fertility challenges. The results from her recent hysteroscopy were good, and I am encouraged that Heather is committed to maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This is helping to manage her endometriosis as well as give Heather and Brandon the best chance of success.

Now that we have completed the last of Heather and Brandon’s pre-cycle screening, we will be finalising cycle calendars and working towards the exciting stages of egg retrieval and embryo creation.

The entire team at ORM is so looking forward to the next stage of their treatment and to having them back to Portland, Oregon in early 2018!

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Fertility Journeys

Free IVF Treatment With Gennet City Fertility Clinic

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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
  • PICSI – IMSI
  • 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

WHAT ARE WE OFFERING TO FERTILITY ROAD READERS?

A FREE IVF TREATMENT DRAW & 50 FREE INITIAL CONSULTATIONS

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 APPLY

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.

TERMS AND CONDITIONS

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.

THE ACTUAL PROCESS

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.

FREE IVF CYCLE SELECTION CRITERIA

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.

50 FREE INITIAL CONSULTATIONS SELECTION CRITERIA

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.

TO APPLY PLEASE CLICK HERE

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Egg Donation

IVF Spain Update Us on Claire & David and Laura & Ian Progress

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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

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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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