We are very pleased to welcome back for the 4th consecutive year our exclusive Spanish partner IVF Spain for a new Fertility Journey.
I was invited to go and spend a couple of days with the team at IVF Spain and meet our Fertility Journey couple Em & Julie who are going to have their embryo transfer on the 22nd of December. With the weather in the UK cold, wet and grey I didn’t need to be asked twice.
It’s my first visit to IVF Spain and after an early start to Stanstead airport to catch my plane to Alicante. After a quick 2-hour flight I arrived to beautiful clear skies and sunshine. IVF Spain had arranged for a taxi to pick me at the airport and take me to the clinic.
At the clinic I was by greeted by Claudia who took my bags and made sure I was comfortable in their waiting room. Whether she knew I was coming or not I felt like I was being welcomed home. Although it can be a worry as to what to expect when visiting clinics in the UK or abroad, IVF Spain was warm and welcoming and thanks to the air conditioning it was cool inside.
I was met by Katie from their Patient Care Team and Karine from their Marketing team who gave me a guided tour. I’m sure like many patients who travel for treatment I was amazed at how big their clinic was and by how many staff they had. With private waiting rooms for clients, medical and nursing teams and the 3 laboratories on-site. Once you arrive every step of your journey happens under one roof. They have a pharmacy a few minutes walk away to make sure you receive all of medication before heading home.
After my tour I sat down with Katie, Karine and Dr Alvarez who will be treating the couple selected for the 2017 fertility journey with IVF Spain.
Tone: Kate & Karine thank you for the tour. One of the questions I get asked a lot when talking to our readers about travelling for treatment is “Haven’t I got spend weeks there?”
Katie: Firstly, there’s a misunderstanding about the amount of time you will need to spend in Alicante. For your first visit you would need to come out for one day to meet the First Visit team and your doctor. If your meeting is in the morning we recommend you come the night before and then fly home after your consultation. If your meeting is in the afternoon you can travel early but stay one night as you could be with us for a few hours. We want you to be relaxed and have time to discuss any concerns about your treatment plan as there is a lot information for us to cover. We also need to perform tests while you are here.
Tone: Once they’ve had the first visit what can the couple expect.
Katie: Once you had your consultation with the doctor and all tests are done, we explain how and when to take medication and you will be given a “treatment plan” including your timeframe to return to the clinic for treatment. Finally, you are introduced to the follow up team who will look after you until you are 12 weeks pregnant.
Tone: What about their treatment appointment? Are they here for a couple of days? Katie: Once the couples are booked in for treatment visit they will need to be Alicante for 7-10 days. If they are using fresh sperm the husband can come for the first 3 days and then return home but most couples stay together for the whole process.
Tone: You have a large team here. How do you manage patient care between departments?
Karine: Every day at 2pm there is a half-hour to one-hour team meeting which is attended by at least two team members of every department. This meeting is mandatory and we close the clinic phone lines during this time. Each patient’s case is discussed with the doctors sharing their knowledge and reviewing treatments. This can be helpful when dealing with difficult cases. For our patients this means that every day they have the doctors, biologists, nurses, donor team, first visit and follow up assistants. Even the marketing team are in the same room and involved with our patient’s journey from start to finish. It means every department of the clinic is kept informed and follows the patients journey while identifying any problems or concerns and providing a learning hub for the support teams so they understand a patient’s treatment plans.
Tone: Dr Alvarez, thank you for taking some time out of your busy day to meet with me. You’re treating Em & Julie tomorrow. Is there any difference in treating a same sex couple vs a heterosexual couple?
Dr Alvarez: No. It’s quite simple and each couple are treated as individuals. This can be a long journey for them but we always think of our patients as already being pregnant which makes them feel at ease and positive about their treatment.
Tone: I’ve never heard of doctor talk about a patient that way. It must be refreshing for your patients.
Dr Alvarez: It is and Em & Julie had already decided that Em was going to carry the baby so that made it easier.
Tone: Wasn’t that a problem for Julie?
Dr Alvarez: No. I spent a lot of time talking to them both and understanding their needs. Julie said it was the first time a doctor had spent time to ask her about her needs which made them more relaxed.
Tone: Do you think your patients feel worried about being offered a treatment they might not need?
Dr Alvarez: Not at all. The doctors don’t know the prices of any treatments. We focused on facts which comes from our testing and our years of experience.
Tone: So what’s the plan for Em & Julie tomorrow?
Dr Alvarez: Tomorrow she is getting pregnant! We will transfer the embryo with Julie sat next to her watching the process. They can watch everything on a screen and see the embryo being implanted and afterwards they get an ultra-scan to take away.
Tone: So why should someone come to IVF Spain and what makes you different from other IVF clinics?
Dr Alvarez: Our treatment philosophy is focused on the couples requirements. We are not afraid to invest money in the latest technology to ensure our couples receive the best treatment.
Tone: Dr Alvarez thank you for your time and I hope all goes as planned tomorrow.
The next day I met with Em & Julie and as you can imagine they were slightly apprehensive but excited about the next stage of their fertility journey. They told me that after their treatment Em would be having acupuncture and then spend a few more days in Alicante before heading home to the UK. I decided to let them relax and unwind and we will be catching up with them in them in the new year.
My visit to IVF Spain is almost over but your journey could be about to start. The Fertility Journeys was created to help couples who could not afford fertility treatment or as with Em & Julie, couples that needed that extra bit of care.
Inge Kormelink, Head of Strategies & Policies at IVF Spain, writes:
We look forward to welcoming a couple to our clinic in Alicante in 2017 and building on the great success of previous years. Previous participants are now happy parents, so here is your opportunity to join us on this life changing journey.
The IVF Spain Foundation is a non-profit making organization created in 2012. The Foundation focuses on two objectives: 1) supporting the creation of families through the ´Amadrina´ sponsoring programme; and 2) investing substantially in research, training and teaching. It also supports the Fertility Journeys Project.
The Foundation firmly believes that money should not be an obstacle for anyone who wants to conceive a healthy child. Therefore, we are very committed to the Fertility Journeys project organised by Fertility Road magazine, which provides a wonderful opportunity for a couple to undergo fertility treatment using the latest technology in reproductive medicine.
At IVF Spain we have a first-class scientific team equipped with the most advanced medical equipment in assisted reproduction. The team consistently achieves high success rates in clinical complex cases, such as repeated miscarriages, implantation failure, genetic or immunological problems.
All three laboratories at IVF Spain are equipped with state-of-the-art technology and have sufficient autonomy for testing without the need to outsource. Therefore, we are able to identify causes of infertility and provide effective clinical solutions in a timely manner.
The Technical Inspection Association (TÜV – Technischer Überwachungs-Verein) certificate is provided by an independent organisation and uses a series of rigorous controls to undertake quality measures. We are pleased to confirm that our success rates have been validated by this authoritative voice – according to the 2014 data, we can boast a 54-80% success rate depending on the type of treatment, thus confirming IVF Spain as one of the leading clinics in the field of assisted reproduction.
WHAT’S ON OFFER
IVF Spain are offering two couples free fertility treatment in 2017.
One couple (or single women) will have a free night at a 4-star-hotel + free first visit (around 4 hours) + free serology tests + free first fertility treatment (including donor sperm if needed).
The second couple (or single women) will have a free night at a 4-star-hotel + free first visit (around 4 hours) + free serology tests + 50% discount on first fertility treatment (including donor sperm if needed)
As part of the Fertility Journeys project patients agree to share their story through videos and interviews made by the IVF Spain team. We recognise this as a vital educational tool which helps raise awareness of fertility problems and outlining the positive outcomes.
If you wish to share your journey with us without any cost then please use the form below before the 15th of March 2017. We would be grateful if you could tell us your story – do provide us with information about your age, the number of previous cycles you have underwent, the reasons behind your decision to consider fertility treatment and a current photo. After the deadline, we will contact all those who have applied to setup Skype calls and find out more information about your circumstances.
We will announce our decision a month after the deadline so that the couple may start fertility treatment at IVF Spain with their first consultation before the 10th of June. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step – we look forward to hearing from you, welcoming you and helping you realise your dreams in 2017.