Fertility Tourism: Sarah’s Journey for IVF in Mexico

My story starts like many. I started trying to decide whether to become a single mother in my late 30’s. By the time, I finally took the plunge I was 41 years old and already facing very high FSH and low AMH. All the same, I was determined to try with my own eggs, even though from the outset the Reproductive Endocrinologist told me I’d be better off with donor eggs. I tried for a year to get pregnant using donor sperm via IUIs. Then I upped the ante and tried a few cycles with Clomid that were even less successful. It was time to move to donor egg IVF.

Because I’m fantastic at research, (possibly a remnant of my lawyer days) I started researching my options.  Very quickly, I realized that pursuing an egg donor in the US would be outrageously expensive—at least $40K.  So, I immediately started pursuing my options: frozen egg banks, embryo donation, US reproductive clinics or going abroad. Within a few minutes, after a simple Google search, I stumbled upon the world of “Vacation IVF.” There were numerous sites and offers in every imaginable country.

For me, it was easy to narrow down the potential countries because I was very clear that I only wanted to go to a country that would allow let me see pictures of the egg donor. I quickly learned that the only countries that would allow you to see pictures of the egg donors were Mexico, Panama, South Africa, and the Ukraine. However, if I’d been simply pursuing IVF abroad, that would have left almost every country under the sun.

There are services available to help you narrow down the playing field. I found a woman, named Sue Taylor (www.IVFtraveler.com) who charges a flat rate to consult with you about your priorities.  Then she provides you with a report about which countries meet your criteria and advises about the reputation of the various clinics. I believe she also does embryo matching.

Once I had my country list, I started looking at the clinics in the various countries. I was pretty clear that if I found a donor that stood out amongst others, I would go to that clinic. I immediately felt unsettled by the pictures of the donor’s in the Ukraine so instinctually I ruled that out and focused my search on South Africa and Mexico.

I spent some time researching South Africa and the clinics there. They have a different system of keeping the egg donor banks separate from the IVF clinic. It seemed a little bit harder to navigate. But again, there were people offering services to assist me all over the place. Vacation IVF is a huge part of medical tourism and there are people there to help you navigate at every turn.

One woman works with Czech clinic because she is a Czech national living in the US who went to the Czech Republic for IVF when she couldn’t conceive in the US. She noticed a potential market helping people go to Czech for IVF. She now acts a US liaison with the Czech clinic and doctors while you are setting up services from the US. When you arrive in the Czech Republic, her sister meets you at the airport, provides transportation and acts as your interpreter at the doctor’s office.

The choice to go to Cancun, Mexico was pretty clear for me.  I have a friend who owns a hotel in Tulum (90 minutes from Cancun), who was willing to host me for the journey. I knew I loved this part of the world and felt comfortable and safe there.

The minute I watched a video about Fertility Center Cancun (FCC), I felt calmed!

Read Part 2 in this four-part series about fertility tourism

And note that Sarah is starting a Choice Mom coaching business, related to her own fertility struggles and the search for an egg donor. You can learn more here.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

  6 comments for “Fertility Tourism: Sarah’s Journey for IVF in Mexico

  1. Janie
    January 18, 2017 at 9:03 pm

    Hi Sarah

    I came across your journey while looking for IVF success stories in Mexico. I’m 36 years old, have had 9 miscarriages & a tubal pregnancy. My husband & I are on our 3rd round of IUI. We had an ovarian assessment test done & with a score of 16-20 being excellent, my score was 15. My FSH is slightly elevated, but my doctor said that is to be expected. She suggested if this 3rd IUI is unsuccessful we move on to IVF.

    I was crushed to learn that we just couldn’t afford IVF. Our medical insurance offers no assistance. I decided to look for clinical trials for IVF when I came across options to go out of the country. Armed with this new info, our hopes of becoming parents aren’t over.

    Thank you for putting my mind at ease about IVF abroad. We will be in contact with you to enlist your services if our IUI fails.

  2. July 3, 2016 at 3:31 pm

    I’m getting ready to travel from the US to Prague for my 3rd IVF cycle. The entire cycle will cost me LESS than JUST the cost of medication here in the states, and their standard of care is just as high. With my low AMH level of .2 it is only a 10% success rate, but at least we will be out $3,000 instead of $20,000 which we paid for my 1st one that did not work (with none left to freeze!). My 2nd did and I have a 1 year old, but want to give her a sibling! Follow my journey and experience here: http://megandewitt.blogspot.com/2016/07/ivf-in-prague-switching-clinics.html

  3. March 9, 2016 at 12:40 pm

    Hi Ania,
    Thanks for sharing your story. Feel free to contact me if you would like to talk more about going to FCC. http://www.choicemamababyproject.com

  4. Ania
    March 2, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Hello Sarah,

    Thank you for sharing your story was us. I am facing similar issues, all thus I am about to turn 43 in a few days I am still planning on having my own family. And just as you did, I am facing same issues with low hormones and very low Aniti Mulerian Hrmone.

    I was planning on getting it all done in Poland, where I came from but sadly I didn’t know that IVF is no longer available to single women. Same with Prague, so instead of going to Europe where I came from I started looking elsewhere. Mexico was my second choice, Columbia was my first. But after reading more about the current mosquitoes issues, I decided on walking away from Columbia, which left me with Mexico.

    One will think that thanks to the internet everything should be pretty simple and easy to find but no… every search site comes up with Fertility Experts but not the actual name of IVF clinics in Mexico. Since I am in FL, Cancun is the closest place to go to, so I started there and I came across FCC clinic, just as you did.

    Of course before making my final decision I wanted to know more about FCC and honestly I didn’t find much. I was also getting in touch with World Fertility Experts but I can’t see my self paying for something I didn’t even know if in deed exists, plus FCC send me a list of donors, while the other place will not do that till I pay for it.

    After reading your story I notice that the prices went up a little. Irega clinic is more expensive then FCC. FCC is now about $2500 more then what you paid (including egg donor and sperm donor and fee for freezing the embryos for the next 600 months = Total $9500). I was thinking of picking a donor from US but as you mention, we need to check first if such Bank will be willing to transfer the semen to Mexico, plus the legal forms and stuff, so I decided to skip this step and pick everything from FCC.

    I am a little scared due to the fact that all is still on a long distance. I just send them back the Donor Release form and I am waiting on my last lab results from my clinic here. I do like the fact that my doctor can help me here and he is willing to do what ever it takes to help me out, which is a huge relief for me.

    I also looked into the meds that I have to buy, not quite sure what the total will be but I am hoping to get them here but you are right, Canada pharmacies are probably the cheaper way to go. I just need to figure out how to do that or if I can do that.

    Right now I am trying to negotiate the price with them and I am hoping that I can do what you did, pay only so little up front and the rest there, but so far I didn’t get that option. FCC is asking to pay in full before or 60% now and the rest there. I guess some things have changed since year 2013.

    I am very happy that you got pregnant the first time. Hope all is good and again, thank you for sharing your experience with us.
    Ania

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.