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An interview from the heart of IVF-Life Donostia

Interview with David Irureta, CEO of the clinic

David Irureta, CEO of IVF-Life Donostia, gave us this interviewlisten to it on our Spotify channel. He tells us about his experience at the Basque Fertility Institute and what drives the entire team to achieve excellence in every treatment as well as being one of the top rated fertility clinics on Google. 

David, how did your journey in the world of assisted reproduction begin and what led you to take on this role at IVF-Life Donostia?

I’m from San Sebastian, I was born and raised here, but I lived abroad for 15 years, working in different jobs. After such a long time, I was looking forward to going back to my home town and that’s where the opportunity to join IVF-Life came up. 

One of my fears when I came to work here was that I had never worked in the health sector before, but the whole team really embraced me on my arrival. That welcome and my urge to learn new things, along with everything I was able to apply from my previous professional experience, made it so much easier for me to land on my feet in the San Sebastian clinic. 

What do you think has been the biggest learning experience during your time at the clinic? What surprised you most about the sector?

One of the things that surprised me the most when I started working at IVF-Life Group was the protocolization of all the steps that take place in the clinic. I think that, although this protocol is part of the sector, especially in IVF, it’s very much part of our DNA across the entire group. 

This also reassures patients and employees that the right steps are being followed, because every time there’s a new innovation, a new trend or some sort of study that means any of these protocols need to be altered, they’re changed and everyone is aware of it. You don’t have to make big changes or do major training because everyone is constantly updating. 

In terms of learning, the truth is that I’m constantly learning from what a cycle is to what it means for a woman to be a mother. These are things I probably hadn’t taken fully on board and, to be honest, they’ve surprised me a lot.  

En cuanto al aprendizaje, la verdad es que aprendo constantemente desde lo que es un ciclo hasta lo que supone para una mujer ser madre. Son cosas que probablemente no las tenía tan interiorizadas y, la verdad, me han sorprendido mucho.  

IVF-Life Donostia recepción

In recent years, the Basque Fertility Institute has been growing exponentially and has established itself as a benchmark in the field of assisted reproduction. What has taken you so far and what drives you all today to continue growing?

Yes indeed, we’ve grown exponentially and the truth is we’re delighted with it. We’ve gone from being a small clinic here in San Sebastian with 8 people to being almost 30 people at the moment and tripling the number of cycles in 5 years. 

I believe this is due to a combination of several things; success doesn’t come from a single source or a single reason. For me, the main reason is the clinic’s wonderful human team. So many patients tell us this: we’re a family. When people come to the clinic suffering because they’re having a hard time, we treat them as part of our family and we fully support them all through the process, which makes things much easier. 

Plus, having success rates higher than the ASEF makes us feel very confident and it also means that patients not only feel supported, they can see the results.  

"That's why I believe that the combination of family and work has been what has made us so special and helped us grow, offering the highest quality treatments".

When we talk about quality in assisted reproduction treatments, it's inevitable that we also think about the team. What working groups can we find in the clinic and how would you describe the IVF-Life Donostia team?

When we talk about the Basque Fertility Institute, we aren’t talking about a centre with one leading doctor or embryologist, as may be the case in other clinics; here we’re talking about the team as a whole.  

"I think what makes us different is, to use the team sport analogy, that we don't have a star player, instead we have a lot of good players who make up a great squad".

Our weekly case meetings mean that our patients always feel they’re in good hands, because for example, if a patient comes and visits a doctor, but the next day she comes back and for some reason that doctor isn’t here, she can be treated by another medical professional who will know her case perfectly. This way, the patient will always feel supported. 

Another group is the Patient Care and Nursing team, which are teams made up of people with a high level of empathy who are responsible for supporting, looking after, accompanying and guiding patients all through their treatment, becoming fundamental figures for them. This is clearly seen the day they appear at the door with their baby. Those hugs and those tears, that bond forged between the person who has been at their side throughout the process and the patient… It’s amazing!  

Then there’s also, of course, the team of embryologists, who are actually the ones working with patients’ gametes and generating the embryos, always doing a painstaking and detailed job, following all the protocols so that in the end, that patient can fulfil their dream of starting a family.   

"Generally speaking, I think that everyone, from the maintenance person, the administrators and even the external personnel who come in, forms that team in which each individual is a super important piece in the machinery, which, as I said before, I believe is our main strength". 

Laboratorio IVF-Life Donostia

Can you share an anecdote or experience that sums up the spirit and dedication of the IVF-Life Donostia team?

Well, look, I usually tell this anecdote a lot, because we were at Oncology A at Villa Mona Hospital and on my arrival we were going down to Tolosa Avenue. We’d just got there and I was in my office, working on an Excel or something. Suddenly, I heard some yelling and I thought, well nothing to worry about and I kept on working. After a while, I heard yelling again so I went out and asked what was going on. Then I saw the receptionist hang up the phone and start throwing her arms up in the air and jumping up and down next to a doctor, so I said “What happened? What happened?” and she replied that they just called from the lab to say that the beta (the test to find out if you’re pregnant) of this particular patient was positive and that she was pregnant.  

That detailed knowledge about each patient, the way they monitor and follow-up every single one, the way they get involved… It’s amazing and I absolutely love seeing that feeling with each patient.

"For us, every pregnancy is a thrill and is beautiful. In the end, it's a bit what keeps this group going, it gives us so much strength to continue working and dedicating our everyday work to helping couples".  

I'm surprised to see that all the comments in forums and on social media are so positive, are there any that resonate especially and that reflect the impact of the work done at IVF-Life Donostia?

In the end, the gratitude that patients show you in those comments is a reflection of our work and our expertise. And you can’t imagine the patients who, every time a new review arrives or we enter a forum or website to see the feedback they give us and we see their comments, they give us enough energy to keep moving forward. 

This is nothing more than the result of our patients feeling comfortable with us, as a family, because we’re by their side and helping them all through the process. 

Look, as soon as you go through the door there are 3 words that say: empathy, reliability and trust, and I think these are a bit like the 3 keywords in our work. We do our best to try to convey that to patients on a day-to-day basis, and they notice. 

Finally, looking to the future, how do you see IVF-Life Donostia going forward and what role does the team play in that vision?

I think we should continue moving along the same line as we are now. At one point, we went from being 8 to being 12, the following year, from 16 to 22 and now, from 28 to almost 30. And we must follow that line so we can help more and more families. 

We also have to continue to grow so we can maintain our line of research. To give you an idea, in a week’s time we’re going to start with Artificial Intelligence in the laboratory to help us predict certain results and develop protocols that help patients now and in the future, because if there’s one thing we’re known for, it’s that we always do things for and with our patients. 

Exterior de la clínica IVF-Life Donostia

To sum up, after this interview with David Irureta and after he showed us his vision on what drives IVF-Life Donostia towards excellence, we can say that its success is largely due to the humanity and warmth with which it treats its patients, something that sets it apart and given it the accolade of being one of the top-rated fertility clinics on Google. 

Plus, the clinic’s high pregnancy rates, thanks to the incorporation and development of new techniques and technological advances, make IVF-Life Donostia a clinic that’s constantly growing, in every way. If you’d like to know a little more about the clinic and the team working there, you can go to their website and put faces to the entire team of professionals behind all this success.  

And if you’re looking for a fertility clinic you can trust to fulfil your dream of being a mother, you can put yourself in the hands of these experts and schedule a free first visit with one of them. This means you’ll also be able to see at first hand why their patients are so grateful to all of them.