Derrick and his wife, Galina, feared that conceiving a child might not be possible for them. Both were in their early forties, and Derrick had undergone a vasectomy when he was younger. In 2011, the couple went through an IVF cycle in Jacksonville, Florida. Two embryos were transferred but no pregnancy resulted. A subsequent transfer of two frozen embryos was also unsuccessful. The couple next consulted a specialist in Gainesville, Florida, who gave them little hope, considering their ages and medical histories.
"Time was not in our favor," Derrick says. He started looking for other options. On the internet, he found information on Barbados Fertility Center. After reading about the center's high success rates and personalized service, he talked with Dr. Skinner, who explained the additional tests that could be performed to test Galina's fertility and his own. The couple quickly reached a decision to travel to Barbados, despite the reservations of some family members and friends who distrusted medical treatment outside the US.
Derrick booked flights and hotel accommodations in Barbados at a discount, and the couple arranged for lab work, ultrasound, and other tests to be performed at home before their trip. As Galina prepared for egg retrieval, she received prescriptions from BFC via email and ordered the medications she needed from a European pharmacy at a greatly reduced cost, compared to the price in Georgia.
The couple set off to Barbados and stayed on the island for two weeks. They enjoyed their beachfront hotel and all-inclusive vacation package, which offered excellent food and evening entertainment. At the center, the IVF procedure went without a hitch. "Little things add up to big things," says Derrick. "When they implanted the embryos at BFC, they invited me into the room so I could be there to hold my wife's hand and watch on the ultrasound as they put the embryos in." (He had not been allowed in the room for the procedure in Jacksonville.)
Back home in Georgia, a drugstore pregnancy test proved positive, and Galina's pregnancy was soon confirmed by her local ob/gyn, who had fully supported the couple's decision to undergo IVF in Barbados. Derrick and Galina are now the proud parents of a healthy baby girl.
Derrick estimates that his sperm retrieval alone cost US$3,000 less than it would have at home. Even including travel and vacationing costs, he calculates they ultimately saved $1,500. But cost wasn't the only benefit of treatment in Barbados. Derrick and Galina complain that the doctors in their area are too often rude and uncommunicative. "You're just a number. When we went through IVF in Jacksonville, the doctor would walk in, do the ultrasound, and he would finish that up and he was walking out the door."
The couple found a different atmosphere in Barbados. "The people [at BFC] were very compassionate," Derrick says. "They didn't feel like it was a waste of their time to answer our questions and communicate." Derrick and Galina weren't surprised at that by the time they reached the center, because they had completed an hour-long telephone consultation with Dr. Skinner before traveling to Barbados. "Just that in itself was probably more communication than we'd had with our doctor throughout the entire course of IVF in Florida," says Derrick. "Dr. Skinner explained everything. She was very thorough, and everybody was so friendly. The whole thing was a good experience."
Last updated on 5 December 2015
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.