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The Stork
Fertility Journey

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Expert 1 Egg Donation - IVF Spain

Introducing IVF Spain with Dr Jon Aizpurua, General Director.

IVF Spain is based in Alicante. There, everything is geared towards the patient.

The treatment plan is adapted to the patient’s personal needs and the patient is spoken to in his or her own language. The clinic concentrates mainly on the international egg donation programme and IVF treatments, and its success rate is way above the national average.

Due to a shortage of egg donors in the UK and Ireland, there is a long waiting list for donors, which has led to a growing number of patients looking for egg donors and treatment abroad. IVF Spain works with an international medical network of clinics all over Europe, utilising vast experience and knowledge in the field of reproductive medicine. This allows them to offer patients treatments with demonstrated efficiency.And taking into account this background, they offer all traditional Assisted Reproduction techniques at the highest scientific standards.

The donor pool of anonymous donors represents all possible phenotypes, which are all tested on health and (genetic) diseases to ensure a healthy child. The Spanish ID legislation prohibits revealing the donor’s identity, which is mostly seen as an advantage by patients. By law, we can only reveal the donor’s age and bloodgroup.

Once you travel to Spain, everything will be taken care of. You will be picked up from the airport and in less than 20 minutes brought to your hotel or apartment, which will be just a stone’s throw away from the beautiful clinic.

The international team will give you the necessary support and advice from the very first moment, so that you will feel at ease. Once the fertilisation has been performed, the embryo transfer is only a few days away, with a maximum wait of five days. The clinic is closely located to nice restaurants, shops and the outstanding beaches of Playa San Juan.

And using the latest technologies, such as EEVA, they can ensure only the best quality of embryos.

After the transfer, you can decide to stay, relax and enjoy a few more days of sun, or return home.

In the reproductive arena, there are over 200 specialised centres in Spain, including ‘boutique’ clinics such as IVF Spain. They boast the highest pregnancy success in all treatments, but especially in egg donation, with a 75% success rate. These high rates are achieved by a combination of four factors – a very competent and international medical team, the latest medical technologies, intensive research and development, and personal medicine.

What’s more, while traditional reproduction centres use phenotype matching, IVF Spain’s genetic matching goes one step further. The usual phenotype donor programme starts with a pool of 400 donors. After passing the legal requirements and the recipients’ preferences, some 20 donors are left. Medical criteria lead to one single best donor. Yet in the case of genetic matching, the 520 SNP (single nucleotide polymorphisms) profiles of the 20 preselected donors are compared to that of the patient in order to define the genetically closest donor. This can make for a child who ‘fits in’ more with the family.

With so many aspects of egg donation going for it, it’s easy to see why Spain is an option to consider when travelling abroad for an egg donor.

Fertility Road magazine is inviting one couple to spend up to a year working with IVF Spain as the recipients in an egg donation programme. The clinic has agreed to cover the cost of this, which totals over £8,000.

In addition, Fertility Road will pay for flights and accommodation costs, plus other small expenses.

We please request that only serious couples apply.

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Expert 1 - 10 Things to Consider When CHoosing IVF Treatment Abroad

To kick-start IVF Spain’s role as one of our partners for Fertility Journeys 2014, Dr Aizpurua has outlined a guide to treatment abroad.

An increasing number of couples consider travelling abroad for fertility treatment, yet choosing a good IVF centre is never easy, and people need to know that medical intervention abroad is not free of risk.

There are many countries now offering IVF treatments, with a few destinations standing out. Up to 40% of European IVF treatments abroad take place in Spain.

But wherever you choose to go, and in order to make a meaningful choice, here are some specific points to consider when choosing a clinic abroad.

1.Your medical practitioner or gynaecologist knows best

He or she is the one who knows your case, your history and your evolution. Often couples have too many sources of information and this can be confusing. Share information, doubts and questions with your medical practitioner – that is what they are there for.

2. Choose quality internet sources

Follow your medical practitioner’s advice when it comes to information about treatments that best suit your situation, and take time to understand them. Read about the latest IVF treatments and technologies – after all, the science and medical field is continually researching and developing new products to improve results. Use videos available on YouTube and serious medical or patient sites, but do not trust every opinion in internet forums.

3. Patient experience

Doctors are the best source for answers to medical questions, but experienced patients know about quality of care, pros and cons of clinics, evaluation of physicians, labs and teams, as well as prices. When consulting other patients go to specialised forums.

4. Science, research and quality assurance

Clinics that do no research offer standard solutions and often do not know about the latest medical developments. They are also usually too small to afford the latest technologies. Size matters, but remember, on the flip side, too big can mean too impersonal.

5. Organise your information to help you with decision making

Once you have read up on the range of treatments, medical issues, processes, technologies and quality of care, make an Excel spreadsheet where you include pregnancy results, external evaluations of physicians, the lab and the team. Also, ensure the clinic tests donors and couples for genetic disease with preconceptional screening, so that risk of hereditary diseases is reduced to a minimum before pregnancy.

6. Size is not everything

Although IVF treatments are expensive and price is a barrier for many couples, choosing
a low-cost location may be risky or more expensive in the end, because more cycles might be needed. And wherever you go, ask what happens if things go wrong – search for medical and safety standards and also ensure the local medical system will take care of you in case of complications. Also look for the standards and practices of embryology labs: half of the success of IVF will depend on them!

Check if there are governmental regulations, health inspections and if they are audited. You can find this information in numerous scientific journals.

7. Compare centres

The best website does not necessarily mean the best option for you. It shows that the marketing budget is high, but try instead to get to know the physician who may treat you. Ask for online consultations to boost your research.

8. Select two to three clinics

Make a final selection of four to six clinics and focus on specific results for cases like yours. Your categories should be transparent in terms of pricing, personal care, honesty, plus experience of doctors and embryologists.

9. Arrange for an online consultation

The online consultation will enable you to go a long way towards gauging if the physician is professional, competent and empathic. During a first consultation a good doctor should ask important medical questions that might help you improve your chances of success.

10. Trust yourself

If you follow the previous nine steps you will have completed some in-depth medical and market research. You have now enough data, opinion and insight to take a qualified decision. Good luck!

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Andrew Loosely Natural Fertility Expert

Introducing our Chinese Fertility Medicine specialist Andrew Loosely.

Andrew Loosely is the world’s leading Natural Fertility Expert specialising in Chinese Fertility Medicine.

He supports couples around the world with his treatment programme, The Baby Creating Plan, and is based in the UK in Mayfair, London.

He is the founder and Director of Natural Fertility Expert, a leading team of fertility experts that work with him, and he is also the creator and host of Fertility Question Time.

In 1998 Andrew developed The Baby Creating Plan (BCP), which is founded on the proven and tested principles of Chinese Fertility Medicine.

At it’s core the BCP uses Herbal Medicine, Nutrition, Fertility Massage and Emotional Support to provide a personalised treatment and support programme, whether you’re trying to conceive naturally or with IVF or Egg Donation.

The BCP combines Eastern and Western fertility testing, treatment and support to provide a fully integrated approach with expert guidance.

Since it was created it has become globally recognised and currently supports people and couples in more than 65 countries.

“ I believe that you should have access to

natural methods of fertility treatment and support that will enhance your chances of conception and successful pregnancy, whether you are trying to conceive naturally or with assisted methods such as IVF or Egg Donation.”

To help achieve this Andrew hosts Fertility Question Time, the worlds biggest free monthly online fertility event, where he interviews world leading Fertility Experts about every aspect of enhancing your fertility.

Thousands of people sign up for this monthly event to hear what the experts have to say and they also have a chance to have their questions answered live on the call.

As an author of three books and a regular writer and fertility expert for Fertility Road Magazine, Andrew is frequently invited to speak at global fertility events and radio programmes including the BBC.

His most recent book, The Ultimate Fertility Guide, reveals how you can increase your chances of Natural and Assisted conception and pregnancy by following his simple 3-step plan.

For more information please visit: Natural Fertility Expert

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Expert 2 Winter Warmers: Nine Ways To Boost Fertility During Winter

Although Andrew is a specialist in acupuncture, and this will form the basis of our 2014 project, he has kindly offered his advice on nine steps that can be taken to optimise fertility during these cold winter months.

Managing your fertility health in winter can be a struggle, with the cold weather and various festive celebrations all taking their toll on body and mind.

But keeping on track doesn’t need to be hard if you follow some simple steps.

Over the past 2,000 years the Chinese have been making seasonal changes to their diet, lifestyle and mindset, and have created guidelines to follow to optimise fertility throughout the seasons.

Harnessing the changes of winter will leave you fully recharged with optimised fertility for the months ahead.

You will enter the next year with better health and increased vitality, making your body more efficient and able to support conception and pregnancy.

Here are nine easy things to do in winter:

1. Keep extra warm and protect yourself from the cold wind and draughts.

Keep your feet, legs and lower back wrapped up well and if any of these areas feel cold, add more clothes or massage the area to get the blood flowing more efficiently.

When your body gets cold, it requires more energy to heat itself up and it therefore uses more nutrients, which often depletes reserves.

This is why animals fatten up for winter and then sleep, allowing their bodies to stay warm whilst using little energy.

2. Hibernate and sleep as much as you can. All life slows down in winter… so should you!

Go to bed earlier, sleep longer hours and try to get up after the sun rises wherever possible. You might feel sluggish in winter but you’ll feel totally rejuvenated in spring!

Winter is for preserving energy, a time for snuggling up and enjoying the long restful nights.

3. Eat warmer foods and avoid lighter summer foods and drinks.

Increase your protein intake to generate more energy to keep warm, and specifically eat more protein in the luteal phase of your cycle (that’s the second half – after ovulation).

4. Eat lots of winter fertility foods.

Here are some key foods to include in your diet:

Non-starchy vegetables: beetroot, Jerusalem artichokes, leeks, sweet potatoes, carrots and lots of dark green vegetables such as kale.

Winter fruits: apples, pears, rhubarb and pomegranate.

Stews and broths: beef and lamb homemade stews and broths. If you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetable stews and broths and add eggs as a source of protein.

Herbs and spices: garlic, ginger, chilli, pepper, cardamom, cloves, anise and cinnamon (try to use Saigon cinnamon if possible) – but all in small warming quantities.

5. Avoid alcohol.

As much as it’s nice to have a drink during celebrations, try to keep it to an absolute minimum, and ideally, no alcohol at all.

Alcohol will deplete your nutrient base and compromise your immune system. It’s a stimulant and in winter your body is trying to rest.

6. Reduce false lighting as much as possible.

Use candles if you don’t need the light on and if you have the luxury of a real fire, then use that too. Firelight is relaxing, calms the mind and reduces stimulation, allowing you to stay in a deep relaxed state.

7. Reflect on the past year and dream of plans for the year ahead, but in a relaxed way that doesn’t overstimulate your mind.

8. Decrease stress, relax, read books and watch lots of calm and happy movies. In short, feel as if you’re indulging yourself by relaxing.

9. Enjoy time with your friends and family at home or in selected calm environments where you can talk, relax and enjoy being together.

At the end of the day, winter is a time when the forces of nature decline and everything goes to sleep until spring. Preserving energy is the key during this season, and if you can achieve it, it will help you to support and transform your fertility health for the year that follows.

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Expert 3 Nutrition Dr Marilyn Glenville

Introducing our nutrition expert Dr Marilyn Glenville.

Dr Marilyn Glenville PhD is the UK’s leading nutritionist specialising in women’s and men’s fertility. She is the former President of the Food and Health Forum at the Royal Society of Medicine, a registered nutritionist, psychologist and author, and a popular broadcaster who obtained her doctorate from Cambridge University.

Dr Glenville is a popular international speaker, and as a respected author on women’s healthcare she gives regular talks on radio, as well as frequently appearing on television and in the press.

For over 30 years Dr Glenville has studied and practised nutritional medicine. With her special interest in the female hormone cycle, she works with women who suffer menstrual problems such as heavy and, painful periods, PMS, fibroids, PCOS and endometriosis, and who wish to work on a nutritional approach to these problems.

Dr Glenville also helps couples who are having difficulty conceiving (naturally or with IVF) or who are experiencing recurrent miscarriages, as well as women looking for a natural approach to the menopause and prevention of osteoporosis. She has clinics in London (Harley Street and Kensington), Tunbridge Wells, Dublin and Galway, and is the author of 13 internationally bestselling books, many of which have become the standard reference books for practitioners.

These titles have sold over one million copies between them, and have been translated into more than 20 languages. They include Getting Pregnant Faster, Natural Solutions to Infertility and Natural Solutions to PCOS.

To begin her involvement with Your Fertility Journey 2014, we’re grateful to Dr Glenville for writing us a bespoke piece which looks at why nutrition and lifestyle are so important for fertility for both men and women.

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Why Nutrition and Lifestyle Are Important For Fertility For Both Men and Women

Research has shown that making changes in your diet, lifestyle and reducing exposure to toxins can boost fertility for both you and your partner, and also reduce the risk of miscarriage.

Three months is the optimum period of time for these changes to take effect because it takes approximately three months for the follicles on the ovaries to develop before one is mature enough to release an egg at ovulation. Although as a woman you cannot change the number of eggs you have (ovarian reserve), you can certainly change their quality and this is the important point. By improving the quality of your eggs, you are increasing your chances of conceiving naturally and also preventing a miscarriage. If you are going for an assisted conception technique, like IUI, IVF or ICSI, you will also want your eggs to be as healthy as possible so as to give the technique the best chance of success.

Many women I see in the clinic are told that they have ‘old’ eggs and that there is nothing wrong with the IVF technology; the problem is with them. That is devastating terminology and it is true that the eggs in a woman of 35 are older than when she was 20, but as long as she is ovulating it is possible to change the quality of those eggs, either to give her the chance of conceiving naturally or for achieving success on an IVF cycle with her own eggs.

With men, it also takes at least three months for a new batch of sperm cells to mature, ready to be ejaculated. Men produce sperm
all their lives so it is always possible to not only improve the quality but also the quantity of sperm by making certain lifestyle and nutritional changes.

Although it goes without saying that a healthy diet is crucial to a successful pregnancy and a healthy baby, many people are unaware of the fact that what you eat may affect your ability to conceive. Also you want to avoid the three main fertility busters: caffeine, alcohol and smoking, as they have all been linked to an increased risk of infertility in men and women.

As well as looking at what you eat and drink there is now a great deal of scientific knowledge about the use of nutritional supplements and their beneficial effects on both male and female fertility. The most important nutrients for fertility are zinc, folic acid, selenium, vitamin
E, vitamin D, vitamin C, Omega 3 fatty acids for you and your partner plus two amino acids, arginine and carnitine specifically for boosting male fertility. In my clinics we test for nutritional deficiencies and supplement to correct those where necessary.

The aim is also to make sure you are a healthy weight. Women are most fertile when they are neither too thin nor too heavy. You need at least 18% body fat to ovulate and the best chance of conceiving is when 20-25% of the body mass is fat tissue. On the other hand, the menstrual cycle can be disrupted by too much fat, which affects oestrogen levels. Being 25% over your ideal weight can stop ovulation. It’s important for the man to keep his eye on his weight too as there is an increased risk of infertility or poor sperm quality and quantity in men who are overweight or obese.

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Russell Davis Mind

Introducing our mind expert Russell Davis.

Russell Davis is a fully-qualified and comprehensively insured fertility coach, author and speaker, and works with women and couples all over the world. Russell is the National Council of Hypnotherapy’s (NCH) Fertility Specialist Advisor and the founder of The Fertile Mind fertility mind-body programmes.

Russell’s personal and clinical experiences echoes his belief that too many couples go through fertility treatment unnecessarily and that the success rate of treatment is unnecessarily low due to the thoughts and emotions not being a factored in the diagnosis and treatment. Russell helps people let go of negative thoughts, beliefs and feeling, leading them to find a ‘place of peace without giving up’, whilst at the same time actively harnessing the mind-body link to direct the body to do what it needs to.

Russell and his wife had 10 years infertility experience, both male and female, and have lived the journey from every angle. They went on to conceive naturally and, looking back, Russell can see how much their minds played a crucial part in that journey.

Russell trained as a Cognitive Hypnotherapist with the internationally recognised and founder of Cognitive Hypnotherapy Trevor Silvester at the Quest Institute in London. Cognitive Hypnotherapy utilises a range of approaches such as hypnosis, NLP, positive psychology and cognitive techniques, all enabling Russell to match his approach to the client rather than expecting one approach to work with everyone.

Russell says, “The NCH implements the highest standards of training and professional ethics amongst its members and I comply with their strict code of ethics and public protection policies, as well as being a registered member of the Complementary & Natural Healthcare Council (CNHC)”.

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Stop Listening To Your Thinking

To lead into his role as one of our experts for Fertility Journeys 2014, Russell has kindly written us a New Year piece which takes a look at the power of the mind.

I want you to read the following for a feeling, not for intellectual understanding. Listen for a feeling.

Our mind is far more powerful than we realise. It has the ability to create our experience of life moment to moment and it also has the ability to affect our biology for better or worse.

Our mind and body are not connected – they are one system, and epigenetics is demonstrating how our thinking can affect our biology down to DNA level. I have clients who couldn’t ovulate, but then do when they let go of unhelpful beliefs and feelings. My partner and I conceived naturally when we were told ICSI was our only hope after I let go of the belief that I don’t deserve good things and left a job that I wasn’t enjoying to pursue a career that would allow me to be free to be ‘me’.

As well as controlling all our bodily functions our mind creates how we feel in any given moment. Our feelings are not dictated by circumstances but by what we think about the circumstances. Our thinking tells us stories about the future perhaps based on past experience. Thinking creates an illusion of life that is so believable we believe it.

In the same way an alcoholic’s thinking tells them the next drink is going to make them happy we fall for the stories our thinking tells us. When we worry about something we are caught in our thinking which is telling us what is or isn’t going to happen. This thing is, nothing can predict the future, not even our thinking.

We think we need our thinking to make the best decisions in life, to be safe, to be happy. The truth is our thinking is not a good guidance mechanism to life. Our thinking tells us our feelings are created by external circumstances, such as ‘This person makes me feel X’, or ‘My job is stressful’.

Nothing has the power to make us feel anything.

We live in the experience of our thinking. And thinking changes moment to moment, which is why one moment you can be feeling hopeful and positive about your fertility and then moments later, despair and hopelessness.

Thinking can be like a brass band in our head. When we begin to recognise thought is not truth, it is just a story we don’t need to believe, we can tune out of our thinking and what we are left with is our instinct and inner wisdom which is like a still soft flute. It’s always there, it never goes away – it is just sometimes drowned out by the brass band to thought.

This place of instinct and intuition is a place of innate wellbeing. We’re born in this place – it’s our default emotional setting. We were born
a complete sense of wellbeing, living in the moment. It is only as we get older and we get caught more in our thinking, worrying what people think about us, thinking that we are not good enough, or whatever the stories we pick up are. We start looking for wellbeing in external circumstances and lose sight of the fact we have complete peace of mind within us.

I call this a place of peace without giving up. At first many of my clients don’t believe it exists – I didn’t. My wife found this place before me. She didn’t want to accept the present moment as she thought it meant giving up. It means you can continue your journey without a sense of desperation, without the stress and agony. You can find a place of peace within and you can continue your journey knowing you’re okay whatever happens. It is only your thinking that tells you otherwise.

Remember nothing can predict the future, not even your thinking.You can’t stop thinking.You can’t stop thoughts coming to your mind. Like being at a Yo Sushi bar you cannot chose which dish comes along next, but you can choose whether to take it on board or not. We all have stories in our heads but we don’t have to believe them. Tune in to your body, your inner wisdom – that is a much better guidance mechanism to life.

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Simply Healing Dextox Retreat

Introducing our detox experts Simply Healing.

Simply Healing is the brainchild of owner and manager Vivien Kay, and is an exclusive retreat that boasts a long history of successfully helping couples in their quest for a child.

We are delighted to be welcoming them as our detox partner for Fertility Journeys 2014. All of their fertility treatments are tailored to prepare your body for all kinds of conception – natural, IVF, ICSI or hormone stimulant programmes. Simply Healing’s Fertility Enhancement Plan offers you the very best in juice combinations and stimulating body treatments that will aid your chances of conceiving, but their number one priority is to help you de-stress, relax your mind, and enhance yourself both mentally and physically. This includes sacral massage, hypnotherapy and more.

Simply Healing work with the young, the old, the infertile and the infirmed, aiming and succeeding at clearing the body of old toxins, chemicals, negative thoughts, to leave clients feeling positive, lighter and healthier.

All the treatments are aimed at boosting fertility, including those that have been proven time and time again to aid conception and prepare you for the processes your body is about to undertake.

The Fertility Enhancement Plan works alongside fantastic detox packages, which by themselves can be life-changing, enabling you to place your full attention on your health and wellbeing.

Simply Healing prides itself on sourcing the very best local fruits and vegetables to create unique juice combinations, which can help your body rid itself of the toxins that create bloating, IBS, constipation, headaches and lack of energy, as well as helping to promote weight loss. Detoxing your body is the responsibility of their caring team of fully qualified holistic therapists, whose years of knowledge create a first class experience for all clients.

And everything takes place in gorgeous, rural surroundings, because Simply Healing benefits from an exclusive residential setting, in the peaceful West Sussex countryside, just one hour from London.

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Simply Healing Detrox Retreat

We’re really looking forward to welcoming a chosen Fertility Road couple to Simply Healing. We’ll be laying on a Full Fertility Plan – four nights and five days for starters, where both of you can work together to cleanse, detox, de- stress and relax in great surroundings.

Then, once a month after that, and just before ovulation, we’ll invite the woman back on a morning or afternoon to sample three treatments that simulate and support the body, whether that’s abdominal sacral massage, reflexology, Indian head massage, or one of our many other specialities.

We’ll monitor the progress for six months, then bring you back for another long weekend before planning the second half of the year.

Healing and meditation sessions are a key component with the range of treatments, and we’ll leave no stone unturned.

But how should you prepare for a detox… whether that’s with us or anyone else? Remember, a healthy body can reproduce itself time and time again, and what we’ve formulated here is a holistic approach to detoxing, all designed to give you the best chance of conceiving. What detoxing does is give you a more positive outlook, much more energy, and a sense of knowing you are doing the very best for your body. So as a start point it’s about juicing, taking herbal supplements and undertaking treatments… combining all of these is what really puts people in the right mindset to help their conception. After all, a healthy body creates a healthy mind, and a healthy mind creates a healthy body. And we’ll ensure we offer you different formulas and different formats so that we can explore what’s right for you.

So what can you do at home? Well, starting the day the right way with hot water and lemon will help to flush your liver; it’ll bring a sparkle to your eye, too. Cut down on all your caffeine, on tobacco, and sugars, preferably a week before you plan to start your full detox.

We know cutting back in this way can be impossible for some people, but in everything we do, we ask people to put a percentage in themselves – you’ve got invest in it, take responsibility and give yourself the best chance to get ahead of the game.

Simply Healing Detrox Retreat Relaxation

Just by cutting down on your sugars enables your body to find its own level of energy, and reducing caffeine has the same effect. So take away the stimulants to let your body find its own rhythm.

Try juicing one meal per day. That way, you’ll be controlling your health and taking the first step by putting yourself ahead. And think practically – you must ensure you have enough vegetables and fruit in your fridge to continue your programme.

And when will you begin to see the results? Well, after three days people really begin to experience the effects.

And remember too, detoxing is nothing new. Think of fasting during Lent, or other religious gestures all designed to give thanks, clean the body and reconfirm that feeling of purity. Think too of the doctor carrying an enema kit in his black bag – this used to be standard practice back in the day. We’ve turned that into precise and researched colonic irrigation treatments these days, and these are all examples of how science and medicine is working to produce modern interpretations of tried and tested principles.

We look forward to welcoming you to Simply Healing.

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