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Fertility Journeys

IVF Spain welcome new couple Em and Julie



Em & Julie

After the successful outcome of last year’s Fertility Journey with IVF Spain, we’re delighted to announce that Em and Julie are coming to us this July for their first visit.

During our first conversation with the couple, we asked them how they’ve dealt with infertility and what drove them to take part in this year’s Fertility Journey.

How did you meet?

Julie: We met through LinkedIn professionally as I was headhunting for directorial roles for the company I work for. Our connection was instant on so many levels, but as we were colleagues we kept any feelings at bay to focus on work.

However, it eventually became impossible as we realised we were meant to be together.

Em: Meeting Julie has made my life complete.

I am so glad we finally got together as now I have found the love of my life and it is so wonderful that we can support one another professionally and personally.

How has your road to fertility been so far and how many treatments have you undergone already?

Julie: Ever since I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a mother. I’ve always loved children and trained as a teacher.

At any given opportunity I look after my friends’ children and have become the loveable aunt figure. I tried with a previous partner, but after three failed IVFs and 10 IUIs including one with a donor egg internationally, emotions and finances put serious strains on the relationship.

Plus, I developed serious health setbacks, putting the whole process on hold. It was a heart-wrenching choice to stop trying, but at the time it was a necessity.

Em: A few years ago when I was single, following lots of discussions with friends and family, I made a decision to get pregnant on my own. As I was already over 40, I didn’t want to waste any more precious time. The route to IVF as a single woman was not as daunting a process as I thought it would be as the idea of being a mother was my focus and kept me motivated.

I tried for one cycle of IVF and I couldn’t believe my luck when I fell pregnant for the first time. I’d spent so long researching and had heard so many dreadful stories about people trying for years without success that I thought it really was a miracle.

Those weeks of pregnancy were the most significant of my life to date. Waking each morning knowing there was a child growing inside me was the best feeling in the world.

However, as the weeks progressed I began to feel something was wrong and then came the devastating truth that I had lost the baby after 11 weeks. The torture only got worse as I had to physically ‘give birth’. This was by far the saddest and worst day of my life and one which impacted on me greatly. Remembering it now is still unbearable. Only a year after my miscarriage, I met Julie and started working with her company, focusing on my career.

What prompted you to take part in the Fertility Journey?

Julie: When we got together as a couple, having children was a must. With our joint experiences and understanding of various fertility procedures, we explored a number of avenues including adoption and self-insemination from a known donor.

However, due to our age and other health limitations, IVF seemed like the best route once again. When the Fertility Journeys project came up, we applied thinking we would give it a shot. As with anything like this, you never actually think you’re going to be those who are selected.

Em: Before applying for the Fertility Journeys project, I researched the clinic and read so many positive reviews as well as incredible statistics about the pregnancy and birth rates at IVF Spain that I just knew we couldn’t afford to miss the opportunity whatever the chance of winning.

What was your reaction when you found out you’d been chosen?

Julie: We were so excited at the interview stage while trying to keep our cool as we wanted to win more than anything in the world.

I kept asking Em afterwards if she thought we had a chance and deep down I wished for nothing more. When we were finally chosen I broke down and together it felt like it was meant to be. We knew this was our time to be parents… at last!

Em: I was in a state of shock I told Julie, who ran around the office shouting with sheer joy! I was speechless. We just held each other and sobbed with disbelief, relief and genuine happiness at being granted this fantastic opportunity.

Do you think your story may help other patients?

Julie: It’s important, especially for lesbians, to learn that they can have children without a man. There are so many women like us, especially in their late thirties and older who have just given up hope. We will never give up because we hear those rare stories of hope that drive us forward together on a journey towards motherhood. We want to be one of those success stories.

Em: On the route to fertility there is so much information about heterosexual couples and some clinics even refuse lesbians for fear of poor statistics.

IVF Spain’s confidence in their service for lesbian couples and additional research and treatments especially for women like us proves they believe in us and our chance of success.

Julie: Having a child with the love of your life, whatever your sexuality, is a dream that should be a reality for us all. It is this gift of hope for which we shall forever be grateful. I believe our time is now. Together we have a much better chance of success as love will win the day!


On their first visit to the clinic, Em and Julie will have the chance to meet their gynaecologist, a specialist in assisted reproduction and practicing physician for more than 15 years, Dr Alicia Álvarez. They will undergo all necessary tests and receive counselling on the most suitable treatment according to their medical profile.

Dr Álvarez says: “As a gynaecologist I have always devoted myself to reproductive medicine to help those patients unable to fulfil their dream of becoming a mother – it has always been a challenge as a professional and as a woman.

“To understand the whole process, I specialised in obstetrics and thoroughly studied embryonic development, delivery and post-partum, which helped me to expand my vision as a gynaecologist and granted me the foundations and knowledge to offer individualised treatments to each of our patients.

“We are looking forward to meeting Em and Julie and helping them to become the family they always dreamed of. They will be in the best hands.”

At IVF Spain, our philosophy focuses on providing a personalised treatment plan to the patient and adapting the entire process to their preferred language with the sole purpose of our patients feeling cared for and understood.

Our medical team, led by Dr Jon Aizpurua, has broad professional experience and prestige in the field of assisted reproduction.

Our commitment to patients makes our international clinic a focus for constant innovation and technology, and forces us to stay at the forefront of assisted reproduction research. We are thus able to specialise in complex cases, such as patients with implantation failure, immunological and genetic disorders, repeated miscarriages and anonymous egg donation.

Spain has one of the most progressive legal frameworks on assisted human reproduction worldwide. Both sperm and egg donation are legal and anonymous, and Spanish law provides that children born by means of these techniques shall not be able to obtain information from the donor; similarly, the donor shall not be able to obtain information regarding the identity of the born child.

The Spanish law also provides for the study and acceptance of donors, as well as setting forth all the necessary tests. At IVF Spain we go beyond just the required tests with further testing which ultimately allows us to utilise eggs and sperm with the highest assurance of security.

As a result, we have achieved pregnancy rates well above the Spanish average set by the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF), according to the certified data provided by TÜV (the international certification body). Together, we will fulfil Em and Julie’s dream of forming a family.

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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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