Today we are meeting with the gynaecologist Alicia Álvarez, specialist in reproductive medicine in the fertility clinic IVF Spain. We will talk about why so many patients from the UK prefer Spain as their destination for their fertility treatment.
What are the main reasons to choose Spain, and concretely IVF Spain?
The main factor that brings patients to IVF Spain is our expertise in complex cases. This is so due to our experience and the use of pioneering technologies in fertility. Also, many of our patients seek an exclusive care that offers them a personalised treatment and higher success rates.
Most of the international patients that visit us are interested in a fertility treatment with donor eggs. They come to Spain because we have one of the most advanced assisted reproduction laws in Europe. The law allows for the preservation of the donors’ anonymity. In other countries this is not so, and because of it not many people are keen to donate their eggs, which leads to a shortage of donors.
The fact that the Spanish law is more permissive greatly impacts the technology that can be applied in fertility centres, allowing our country to develop pioneering techniques that are not legal in other countries.
In what treatments are they most interested in and why?
As mentioned, the main fertility treatment sought by patients is egg donation, due in great measure to the fact that donor anonymity is not preserved in their countries, whereas it is in Spain.
We also have many patients that come seeking personalised treatments, because what has been offered to them in their countries is to systematically repeat their IVF treatments without any modifications. The non-individualisation of the treatments is a problem. In many cases we have observed that, by orientating the treatment towards the patients’ needs, we achieve success in the treatment.
What do international patients appreciate the most?
They really appreciate detailed information. Before they come to Spain the team has facilitated to them all the required information so that, when we meet for the consultation, we can dedicate plenty of time to solve their doubts.
Many patients’ stories have in common that in other clinics they had never been explained the process clearly, and they had to resort to the famous ‘Dr. Google’, which only made the information they had more confusing.
They also appreciate that we are honest and frank about their true possibilities, and that we are able to find the key to access what they long for: a healthy pregnancy. This is achieved through deep specialisation and thanks to the possibility of accessing the most advanced reproductive medicine techniques, able to offer pregnancy rates that are far above the European average.
What are the first steps of an international patient in IVF Spain?
The patients that visit us to start a treatment, have already had their first contact with IVF Spain through the International Patient Assistance Department. The international patient assistants are great professionals that organise and prepare the patient’s medical history, which is a necessary document for us to study each case in detail.
Once the first consultation has taken place and all doubts have been cleared, the patients leave with their medication plan signed by their doctor, and with all the needed instructions to take or self-administer the medication.
Furthermore, that same day we carry out all the needed tests to initiate the fertility treatment straight away if the patients so wish. We also perform an advanced spermiogram to evaluate the man’s sperm sample quality so that, in their next trip to Spain, he can leave the definitive sperm sample that will be used to fertilise the eggs that will later be transferred to the patient.
What would be your advice to any patients that are considering travelling to Spain for their fertility treatment?
We are aware that making the decision to undergo a fertility treatment is never easy. As a woman and as a gynaecologist my personal recommendation is not to delay it much, because tomorrow could be too late. It’s such a pity to hear patients say: ‘If I had known earlier, I wouldn’t have waited so much’.
As it turns out, our eggs and uterus age even if our physical appearance is youthful. Biology doesn’t wait, so we shouldn’t delay something that we have already decided on. Reproductive Medicine can offer a solution to fertility issues and help achieve the so longed pregnancy. The sooner they start to seek that solution the better.