Whitney and Quention A., Alabama, US
Whitney met her husband in 2008. He had been married previously and fathered three children, all before he was 20. At that time, he had decided to have a vasectomy. Whitney desperately wanted children, and she told her husband that IVF was an option. "Little did I know that this would be a very tumultuous row to hoe," she says.
In the summer of 2009, the couple began fertility treatment in Birmingham, Alabama. They had a good insurance plan that covered IVF up to US$30,000. The first round of treatment yielded no embryos. The second round ended in the same result. Then the doctor recommended a vasectomy reversal. Whitney's husband had the operation—at an $8,000 out-of-pocket cost—but the surgery was unsuccessful.
Whitney wanted to keep trying. She found a book: Budgeting for Infertility: How to Bring Home a Baby Without Breaking the Bank. It suggested going abroad—a new idea for the couple. Whitney did some additional investigating on the internet and found Patients Beyond Borders. "Several emails and a great deal of research later," she says, "I was put in touch with the wonderful, amazing, considerate, beautiful Anna [Hosford] at Barbados Fertility Center!" Whitney was impressed with the center's success rates and the testimonials she read. "The phone call with Dr. Skinner sealed the deal! Her optimism and clinical experience made us feel like this was the right path for us," Whitney says.
The couple saved their money and at last set off on their trip to Barbados in July 2012. They arrived Friday night and met with Ms. Hosford at BFC on Saturday morning. They chose to stay in Barbados for three weeks, enjoying the island and—once their embryo retrieval was performed—getting daily updates on the embryos' progress. Because of their two previous failed attempts, Whitney and her husband decided to transfer three embryos. One of them implanted. Whitney became pregnant and went on to deliver a boy, Miller, on February 19th, 2013. Said Whitney, "he was eight weeks early, but is healthy as a horse!"
Whitney has nothing but praise for Ms. Hosford. "Anna and I were intensely involved for several months. She was my guardian angel in every sense of the word. She was so patient, caring, and thoughtful. She never rushed us or hesitated to patiently answer our many questions. She took the time to explain every step in their protocol for in vitro, and this was so meaningful, as we had not had this kind of consideration at the Birmingham clinic."
At BFC, the cost of one round of IVF including the testicular epididymal sperm aspiration (TESA) procedure was about $7,500. That's about half of what the couple would have paid at home. "The lab work and drugs were extra," Whitney says, "but the drugs were much cheaper than I had originally planned, about $1,500." She calculates that travel expenses brought the total to the same amount she would have paid locally, but she was so pleased with her experience that she would recommend fertility treatment in Barbados to anyone. "Everything went wonderfully!" says Whitney. "We thoroughly enjoyed our time in Barbados and would love to recreationally visit again."
Last updated on 7 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.