Christchurch, Barbados -– They have been called the Mecca for IVF (In Vitro Fertilization), the best in their field, offering incomparable care and attention while holding some of the best success rates in their field of Assisted Reproductive medicine, but who are they and why are so many Americans travelling to the Caribbean for more than sea and sun?
Claudia & Michael Campbell are one such couple who found success at BFC. Claudia, a black American nurse from New York, and her white European husband delayed starting a family until she was in her 40’s. Claudia’s focus for many years, like numerous women of our age, was on her career. As she advanced in this one area of life, there was another part that was silently diminishing – a side, many women don’t recognize until it is too late- her ability to have a family.
Once Claudia and her husband made the life changing decision to start their family and nothing happened month after month, they decided to seek the advice of a doctor in New York who prescribed Clomid to boost her ovulation. Sadly, this did not result in a pregnancy. The next step was IVF. The couple decided to use a different doctor and with hopes high and their savings in hand, the couple proceeded. Heart breakingly, it didn’t work.
Claudia felt disheartened but still had hope. Wanting to try again they sought advice from another doctor who also recommended IVF but once more no pregnancy occurred.
They say that three times is a charm – and now the couple was getting somewhat frustrated but decided to give it another go. So once more, they tried a different fertility specialist in New York for their 3rd round of IVF. Claudia recalls this as her worst experience! The doctor just seemed too busy with other patients. Claudia and Michael were prepared to put up with the poor care as the doctor had been known to get success but after the two week wait, the results were back – 3rd time was not a charm – it was again negative.
Three unsuccessful attempts and funds now low; the couple was emotionally and financially drained. Some of Claudia’s treatment and tests were covered on their health insurance which helped, but Claudia felt that her insurers were being ripped off. Being a nurse, she knew that she didn’t need to have a weekly scan of her uterus, and just felt everything that was being done was to make money and not to help her conceive. It then emerged that Claudia had fibroids! She was furious that the three doctors that she had consulted and entrusted her fertility care had not detected this!
Claudia said, “Despite all the money we had spent and the bitter disappointments each time the IVF failed, my spirit wasn’t broken and we decided our only hope was by using an egg donor, which would cost us $20,000 and wipe out our finances.”
Claudia was not ready to give up. She started to search the Internet for information on sourcing a black egg donor. Her searches were futile for anyone close to home and the only thing she could find was blogs that kept mentioning the amazing service and success at BFC. Claudia saw online that the clinic holds the gold seal of approval and is accredited by the largest and most stringent American health accreditation program – Joint Commission International giving her the assurance in quality and care of practices.
Claudia emailed the medical team at BFC and received an email back from Dionne Holmes, IVF Donor/Recipient Coordinator immediately. Claudia nervously asked for the prices, and was told it was $6750 for the IVF cycle including donor meds for a donor Dionne had ready to start. Claudia said, “I asked her for the total cost twice, you could have knocked me down with a feather. Here in the USA the costs are between $25,000-$30,000!”
In June 2012, Claudia spoke to Dr. Juliet Skinner, Head Clinician at BFC. Claudia said, “I’ve been a nurse for long enough to know when someone is blowing smoke, which is how I felt with all the Drs I had seen in New York. From the moment I spoke to Dr. Skinner I knew this Dr. knew what she was talking about. I was really impressed that she had taken the time to review my chart and cases prior to the call and Dr. Skinner was the ONLY person who spoke to me as a fellow medical professional. She asked me what I thought my problem was and I told her that I thought I had an immunity problem. I knew my age would play a big factor in conceiving even with IVF, but the fact we had also tried with a donor egg indicated to me that my body was refusing to actually carry a baby. Dr. Skinner agreed, and arranged for me to have blood tests to confirm our suspicions. These tests did confirm that the level of antibodies in my blood was too high and my body was attacking the embryo. Dr. Skinner prescribed a whole new course of medication.”
BFC have treated many patients with Reproductive Immunity problems and with great success. Anna Hosford, Clinic Director at BFC said, ““Reproductive Immunity problems are actually very common and we specialize in treating patients with this condition. We take a detailed medical history from our patients in their initial telephone consultation, and when someone is failing to respond to IVF treatment or having reoccurring miscarriages, despite their chances looking favorable then this can be a good indicator to us that there is immunity problem and that the body is attacking the embryo. The good news is that we have a specific treatment protocol that can lower the antibodies in the first trimester and stabilize the pregnancy so that the baby can be carried to term. We treat couples from all over the world and it seems that these tests are not common practice in the USA. We have 12 years of experience in treating patients with this condition and have helped hundreds of patients move on from the heartache of failed IVF to the joy of a newborn baby!”
Claudia said, “It was a struggle at first to find a Dr. in New York who was willing to prepare my uterus for the trip to Barbados and carry on Dr. Skinner’s instructions for the treatment of my immunity problem, but eventually we found Dr. La Porter who really wanted to help us have a baby. Dr. Skinner and Dr. La Porter worked together to help us.”
In August 2012, the couple traveled to Barbados for the procedure. Claudia recalled, “I was so nervous that it wasn’t going to work, I prayed so hard but immediately once we met the team, I knew we were safe hands for the best care.”
The couple had a 10-day vacation in Barbados while they underwent the IVF procedure using an egg donor and then returned home to take the pregnancy test 2 weeks post embryo transfer. Claudia experienced stomach cramps and felt scared because this time was so different to all her previous IVF cycles. On day 14 Claudia took the pregnancy test and couldn’t believe it was negative! She broke down and wept, her husband said no more treatment, they should adopt, and there was no more money to spend.
Claudia phoned her girlfriend and wept tears of bitter frustration, her girlfriend calmed her down and told her to go and check the test again, Claudia went back to the garbage and there was a very faint line – she had looked at the test too early! She waited a few more days and then took another test, this time a beautiful thick dark blue line – she was PREGNANT!
Claudia called Dionne at BFC with the good news, and continued on her medication to lower her antibodies for the first 12 weeks until her pregnancy was stable.
In May 2013, Claudia gave birth to their beautiful daughter Alice. Claudia said, “I’m 48 now and I began to think we really had left it too late, but thankfully we found BFC and we can’t thank them enough for this wonderful gift, our beautiful baby girl.”
BFC is one of the first IVF units in the world to offer a combination of medical treatment and a holistic approach by treating couples both mentally and physically at their on-site spa – The Life Wellness Centre – with massage, reflexology, acupuncture, nutritional advice and counselling to cope with the whole IVF procedure. BFC believes that their approach of allowing couples to de-stress whilst undergoing treatment is one additional reason as to why they are so successful.
Anyone who has tried to conceive for 12 months without achieving a pregnancy should seek medical intervention. For further information on the work of BFC please log on to www.barbadosivf.com or call for a free confidential consultation with one of our IVF nurse coordinators +1 (246) 435-7467, or you can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
+44 1923 606269 (England)