Making Family Dreams Come True
Eugin Clinic fertility treatments are designed especially for British women with one out of every ten (in Europe) women choosing Eugin it leads Europe in egg donation. Since 1999 they have been helping over 15,000 women make their dreams of a family come true.
Since its inception in 1999, Eugin Clinic, located in Barcelona, has become one of the foremost fertility centre in Europe in terms of number of treatments. The clinic offers the unique advantage of performing an online diagnosis that helps eliminate waiting lists and makes the whole process more comfortable. In addition it is the first European fertility clinic to receive the Top Quality Certificate from TUV, the German certification provider.
We talked to Doctor Valérie Vernaeve, the centre’s medical director.
Fifteen years helping women from all over the world to achieve their dream. Why come to Barcelona?
In Spain, we have one of the longest-standing legislations on assisted reproduction in Europe. In 1988 – two years before the UK – the Spanish parliament was one of the first in Europe to pass a law that allows these treatments to be carried out. It is a well-drafted law, which is clear, concise and in line with medical practice, and which health professionals feel completely at ease with.
Is the Spanish law so different from the English one?
Although they are similar laws, there is one key difference: in Spain the sperm donor is completely anonymous, whereas in the UK, if the child wishes to do so, he or she may know about the donor’s identity as soon as they turn 18.
Furthermore, the legal framework in Spain allows any woman who wants to be a mother, regardless of her marital status and sexual orientation, to have access to assisted reproduction techniques. The law is clear, and at Eugin we know this and comply with it, availing ourselves of it without the slightest hesitation.
Let’s imagine that you receive Anne and Rachel in your consulting room, a lesbian couple who want to have children. What treatment option would you recommend them?
At Eugin we always seek the treatment that is most suited to the needs of our patients. Depending on the age of the woman to undergo the treatment, we would recommend an artificial insemination or in vitro fertilisation treatment. If the two women want to take part in the pregnancy, we can offer a specific technique that involves both of them: the reception of oocytes from partners (ROPA).
When would they be able to start and how many times would they have to come to Barcelona?
At Eugin, we don’t have waiting lists: the treatment can begin when the women feel ready. To make the whole process easier and reduce travel costs, we offer them two alternatives: a couple of short visits to Barcelona or a single stay, which can last about 15 days – during which time the treatment is completed. Overall, the process typically takes about a month.
The choice of the donor is usually one of the issues that most concerns the couple who are to undergo treatment. How is this selection done?
Sperm donors and egg donors are selected after undergoing a rigorous process, involving both a medical team and psychologists. A thorough clinical examination is carried out, which includes tests to detect genetic diseases such as cystic fibrosis or hereditary anaemia, in addition to other complementary tests. After these tests, only one in ten sperm donors are accepted, and in the case of egg donors, one in three.
Another aspect that tends to worry patients is the likelihood of the treatment being successful. What does it depend on?
Each case is unique and every woman has her own circumstances, but in general, the chances of success are determined by the type of treatment to be followed, and by the age of the woman who undergoes it. In the case of the simplest treatment -artificial insemination – it is usually performed about three times on average until pregnancy is achieved, since it has a cumulative success rate. In the case of IVF, however, we are talking about up to 60% of pregnancies, when it is performed by means of egg donation.
Finally, we would like you to tell us, from a personal standpoint, what fulfils you most about your work?
My position in Eugin allows me to implement efficiency improvements in all processes, thus contributing towards helping the women who visit our centre to fulfil their dream, which is, to get pregnant. I take all this on as a challenge which I face every day with great enthusiasm, always giving the most of myself and never losing sight of the real purpose of my job: to help each and every one of the women who come to us.
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This option is becoming very popular. Semen donors’ websites are readily available and easy to deal with. It is also quite affordable.
A specialised centre may charge a little bit more, and that’s because they will make sure that the donor has undergone a proper medical screening. They also take care of the paperwork – an informed consent is needed to register your baby – and, their expertise boosts your chances of getting pregnant.
When things don’t come easy
One out of six women will find some sort of difficulty when trying to conceive and this ratio will increase even more rapidly when you reach your mid-thirties.
Choosing the right Fertility Centre is not that difficult if you get the right advice. Below is some general guidance:
Barcelona is a popular destination because Spanish Law says that all women can access fertility treatments regardless of their sexual orientation or marital status. You have probably been there, and if you haven’t, it’s time you enjoy that city.
- Audited success rates
Look for Success Rates. These figures reflect the likelihood of pregnancy offered by that particular centre. This information is very important, so it is advisable to make sure that these figures have been audited by an independent body.
- Verified quality
As for any medical treatment, especially if you travel abroad, it is important to be confident that the centre meets international ISO quality standards. Total Quality is what you should be looking for.
You are taking an important decision. You need to understand all the details, and, of course, to be able to express yourself in your own language.
- Emotional Support
Take it from us, fertility treatments can turn into an emotional roller coaster. Personal attention, years of experience, as well as having a dedicated emotional support team at your disposal are all important.
You will appreciate having your own space. Look for private room availability.
- Start whenever you want
There is no reason why you should have to wait to start out on your journey towards having a baby. Why not ask for a weekend appointment? They are readily available of course, and this may suit you better.
- The cost of your treatment
You have the right to know everything about your treatment, which obviously includes the cost clearly stated beforehand. When comparing prices, bear in mind other associated costs such as the price of travel, the stay, or how many days you will have to be away from home or from work.
- Medical attention 24 hours a day
Although complications are rare in assisted reproduction treatments, make sure your centre provides a round-the-clock service. Peace of mind is priceless.
- Blood and Genetic Test
Should your treatment require an egg from a donor, many women are concerned about blood group compatibility and often request a genetic test to rule out communicable diseases. Check that your centre offers you both things.
- Donor anonymity
Again, if you require a donated egg, the laws are different in each country. In Spain, donation is altruistic and anonymous. It is the responsibility of the clinic to provide you with the best matching and an exhaustive medical screening.
- Research and team
Assisted Reproduction Techniques evolve very fast, and every month there are new developments, so make sure your centre is up-to-date. A very high level of research activity is a good indicator. Larger teams of more than 200 professionals per centre allow for greater specialization.
EUGIN CLINIC (www.eugin.co.uk) is one of the biggest fertility clinics in Europe