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Coping with infertility

Over the course of years, many couples try to have a child, yet to their disappointment they are unable to conceive. Some of them may even give up trying, instead choosing to adopt. However, for many couples there exists a new solution called assisted reproduction. Why should a couple try this innovation if they are unable to conceive?
First, both the male and female partner need to consult a doctor and establish if there is a medical reason why they are not capable of conceiving.
A variety of different tests will determine the best course of action to increase this puzzle-and riddle-like chance for a successful pregnancy.

About these developments, I interviewed Juliet Skinner, MD (the consultant gynaecologist and head clinician at the Barbados Fertility Center) for a more detailed explanation of infertility treatments available for couples.

“There are many couples who suffer from infertility. What are the reasons for not being able to conceive?”
There are many reasons why a couple may not be able to conceive: there could be female factors or male factors, or even a combination of the two. There may not even be any obvious medical reason at all: this is known as unexplained infertility.
Whatever the reason for infertility, if a couple has tried for a year with no successful outcome, then they must seek medical intervention. Depending on the diagnosis, it may be necessary to try iIntra-uterine insemination (IUI) or a fuller form known as an vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle. Each couple we treat is individual, and no two couples are the same. We take a detailed medical history from both the male and female partner, and ask for tests to determine the cause of their infertility.

“What kind of tests are performed?”
Male infertility is very common and affects about one in twenty men. Our intention is to analyze the male partner's semen for its motility, which shows how well the sperm can swim. In turn, we examine the morphology; this is the shape of the sperm.
Female infertility is far more complex, and there are certain diseases such as poly cystic ovarian syndrome, endometriosis, and fibroids, which all affect a woman's ability to conceive. Age plays a substantive role in female infertility. Moreover, men and women are unlike, with women born with all of their eggs and after 35 there is a marked decrease in ovulation.
We also specialize in reproductive immunology and advanced fertility treatments such as hysteroscopy and laparoscopy. We take into account many factors and determine the best course of action for each individual patient.

“Can you please tell me the difference between IUI and IVF?”
IUI is the introduction of prepared sperm into the uterus to improve the chances of pregnancy. IUI can be used when the female partner has open fallopian tubes and the male partner has normal semen parameters.
IVF refers to the procedure whereby the embryo is fertilized outside of the body, so the female eggs are retrieved and are placed in glass with the male partners prepared sperm. When we fertilze these in the embryo, these are then transferred back to the uterus.

How much do these procedures cost?”
A couple can only try IUI if the female has open fallopian tubes, and this procedure starts at US$375 for the procedure. A full IVF cycle is US$5750. However, as we treat each couple based on their individual medical history, costs can vary depending on the medication that they need to prepare for treatment. We work hard to keep our costs down and have not increased our prices since 2007. This makes us a very attractive option for couples in Europe and the United States, since our costs can be as much as half the cost.

"What options do a couple have if the male partner’s sperm is of poor quality?”
In such a case, we prepare the sperm in such a way as to use the male partner’s sperm of the best quality, and we can also take sperm directly from the testis, if necessary, to find sperm that is strong enough to fertilize the egg. In addition, if necessary, we can also use donor sperm.

"What is Clomid used for?"
Clomid is used to stimulate the ovaries and, in turn, release eggs from the ovaries.

“Is it true that after IVF some women taking Clomid, as well, become pregnant with more than one child?”
Clomid increases the number of eggs that we retrieve and, in turn, means we can end up with more than one good grade of embryo, which in turn has a good chance of survival. The decision concerning how many embryos we transfer back to the uterus is taken in consultation with the couple and very much depends on their medical history.

"I have heard many positive stories about your Barbados Fertility Center. What makes you different from other fertility clinics?”
We offer our patients individualized care, and we do everything we can to increase every couple’s chance of success, even if that is only 1 percent, since that 1 percent could mean a baby!
We combine cutting-edge treatment with holistic therapy at our on-site spa, The Life Wellness Center, which means our patients are at their optimum of relaxation to undergo treatment. We have a high success rate of 80 percent of women under 35 and offer low-cost treatment compared to our international competitors.
Finally, we are JCI-accredited, assuring our patients of the best practices upheld at BFC .We are listed among the elite group of clinics that hold JCI accreditation, about which we are proud.

I would like to thank Juliet Skinner, MD, for this valuable information. If you have tried for over a year to conceive, please contact the Barbados Fertility Center at
+1 246-435-7467 or visit their web site at www.barbadosivf.com for more information.


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