Bella was in her early forties when she became pregnant for the first time. Two years and three miscarriages later, she had learned that becoming and staying pregnant was not easy. She and her husband sought fertility help in New York City at a reputable clinic. “It was typical New York,” says Bella, “large and tightly wound, patronized by high-octane, nervous clients whose anxiety, like mine, was palpable and contagious.” Staff members at the clinic informed Bella the treatment she needed was not covered by her insurance. Her out-of-pocket cost estimate might run as high as US$26,000, not including medications.
Bella’s parents live in Barbados, and her mother suggested Barbados Fertility Center, which was getting stellar reviews. Bella and her husband visited the facility; they found it both comfortable and attractive. “BFC just felt right to us,” Bella says, “equally professional compared to New York, but far less stressful.”
After undergoing a preliminary examination at BFC, Bella heard the same diagnosis she had received in New York: unlikely to bear a child without a donor egg because of maternal age and a high FSH level. Although the assessment was the same, the cost of the recommended treatment was less. Including travel costs (but avoiding lodging costs, because she stayed with her family), Bella’s estimate ran about US$16,000, plus the cost of medications.
“My treatment started before we arrived in Barbados,” Bella reports, “and we were in constant email contact with the BFC staff. Once on the island, we found the team supportive, patient, and kind—willing to take stressed-out calls, hold hands, and explain procedures. The treatment was a two-week process, but we stayed longer, relaxing and soaking up the sun. By the time we returned home, I was pregnant.”
The last time we heard from Bella, she was eight months pregnant and still happy with her BFC experience. “I am certain that the relaxed environment of Barbados played a major part in our success,” she says. Bella’s obstetric care was proceeding well under the supervision of her hometown physician, but she remained in contact with BFC. “My husband, who is not a fan of doctors, had nothing but praise for the clinic and its staff. We will definitely return there should we decide to try for a second baby,” she says.
*name and city withheld by request
Last updated on 23 May 2012
Before Leaving the Hospital: Get All the Paperwork
Impatient to be gone, and often suffering the woozy side effects of surgery and post-operative pharmaceuticals, patients too often find themselves back at home later, missing important documents that could have more easily been obtained on site. So before you hightail it out of your hospital or clinic, be sure that you have all of your important documents.
Generally, larger hospitals provide complete medical documentation as part of the standard exit procedure. However, some smaller clinics may rely more on verbal instructions, and they are less likely to build and maintain a dossier on your case.