Recently, we talked in great detail about Dr. Rene Allen of the Santa Barbara Fertility Center, and now we’re here again with an interview with the good Doctor.
You can find our previous article, here or continue reading for the interview.
How long has the Santa Barbara Fertility Center been established?
Seven years – since 2008.
On a personal level, what attracted you to working in the field of fertility?
It’s a positive field and there is no better feeling than being able to tell a patient or couple that the cycle was successful, but I was especially inspired when showing the family the baby’s heartbeat on the initial ultrasound.
Is there a typical person who attends the Santa Barbara Fertility Center?
There is no typical person except those who want to have a baby that can’t otherwise do it on their own. Our patients really vary from ethnicity, geography, income level to traditional and non-traditional families. In addition we see patients with medical and hormone problems that may not be trying to conceive as well as patients preserving their eggs or sperm to use later in life when they’re ready to have a family or prior to undergoing chemotherapy.
What services do you offer which are of particular relevance to gay couples, either male or female, who are thinking of starting a family?
With every couple we discuss options and personalise the treatment for them. For males it is more limited to egg donors or a surrogate or traditional surrogates. Alternative embryo donation is also an option. Female same-sex couples can often use donor sperm for insemination, but often choose one of the partners to do IVF to provide eggs and then the other to carry the pregnancy. Our typical strategy for gay and lesbian couples is egg donation & surrogacy, egg and sperm freezing and for females, artificial insemination. Our egg donors and surrogates are thoroughly vetted physically, emotionally and psychologically by our certified professionals. Also, we perform surgeries on reproductive organs to correct the problems.
Are there any special things, legal or otherwise, to consider as a single lesbian or gay person, or a lesbian or gay couple when thinking of starting a family?
It is crucial that a legal contract is in place between all parties which includes intended parents, egg donors, surrogates, etc., prior to going through any procedures. For the non-biological parent in the same-sex relationship, the law as stated in the United States requires them to adopt the child after birth to gain the rights as their legal guardian. This law may not be the same in the United Kingdom.
After an initial consultation, how long can one usually expect between the consultation and a successful pregnancy?
Depending on what treatment is needed and when the patients find their preferential donor and surrogate, if necessary, it could be as little as 2 – 12 weeks.
What success rate do you have?
Our success rates vary depending on the age and medical conditions of the patient, but generally with egg donors we are 70% successful.
What distinguishes the Santa Barbara Fertility Center from other similar centres?
We are committed to the highest level of compassion, empathy and nurturing. We pride ourselves in providing whatever “hand holding” is necessary for the patient to feel comfortable during the process. I give out my personal cell number and make myself available 24 hours a day. We have excellent success rates, but our personal care, connection to the patient and attention to detail distinguishes us from other clinics.
Which do you think have been the greatest achievements of the Santa Barbara Fertility Center?
Creating happiness – the amount of thank-you cards, visits from families with their new babies, and touching social media testimonials we get on a daily basis makes what we do deeply fulfilling.
The way we do it, not just what we do, is what counts. Patients who have been in other clinics appreciate the boutique feel of Santa Barbara Fertility Center. Patient satisfaction regardless of outcome is our priority.
Again, on a personal level, which part of your job gives you the most satisfaction?
I’m a relatively new dad myself so I know first-hand the joys of being a parent, but also knowing we provide outstanding and personalised patient care and that when we get the results we want and it all comes together, the WHOLE team celebrates.