UK couple heads to the Caribbean for fast freeze IVF

Fiona and Gordon McKenzie from Scotland decided to start a family in September 2003, but after 12 months of trying they consulted their GP, who then referred them to their local NHS Trust for tests. It was another 6 months before these tests were completed and the results showed that everything was normal and there was no reason for their infertility.

Their only option was to try an IVF cycle, however waiting lists in their area were up to 3 years, so they opted to have a self-funded IVF cycle on the NHS, which was at a reduced rate of £3500.

Fiona said, “I had a really nasty experience with the egg collection and bled quite heavily, they managed to retrieve 18 eggs, however none of the embryo’s took and we were just left completely deflated. At our review meeting we were just told that we were unlucky and that we have to try again. I really didn’t want to go through that pain and suffering again.”

A few months later Fiona was having a clear out at home and came across a newspaper article about a couple who had traveled to Barbados for IVF treatment.

Fiona said, "The article was quite old and I just took it as a sign that I needed to contact Barbados Fertility Centre. So I persuaded Gordon that we should go to Barbados for our summer holiday and have an IVF cycle at the same time.”

The couple contacted the clinic, and immediately felt that the staff was interested in their case and so booked their cycle for July 2007. This time the egg collection went well and Fiona was out on the beach sunbathing the next day. Again 18 eggs were retrieved, and two eggs were put back in her womb after an extended culture period using Blastocyst – leaving the embryos for 5 days.

However, neither of these embryo transfers resulted in a pregnancy, but Fiona said, “We didn’t feel so despondent this time, it was such a good experience in Barbados that we were sure if anyone was going to help us, it was there.”

The couple had 6 embryo’s frozen using the 'vitrification' technique, which was not an option offered to them in the UK at that time.

Fiona & Gordon returned to Barbados in February 2008 and had another IVF cycle using the frozen embryos and this time they finally got the result they had prayed for – a positive pregnancy test!
Fiona said, “We are delighted and would advise any couple who are trying for a baby to travel for treatment. It actually cost us less than the NHS self funded cycle and we got pregnant!”

Dr Juliet Skinner, Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist in at Barbados Fertility Centre, who trained at Trinity College in Dublin said, “We have been using the Vitrification technique since January 2007 and have found this fast freezing method reduces the risk of cell damage to the embryo’s and as such has dramatically improved our success rates with frozen embryo transfers.”

Patient story supplied by the Barbados Fertility Centre.

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