This London-based woman shared her story about weight loss, and fertility tourism to Spain.
After my initial consultation with a fertility clinic I discovered that most clinics recommend a BMI of below 30 as the best weight range for fertility health. So having been advised by my doctor to try the “Lighter Life” weight loss programme I have already managed to lose 40 kilograms (90 pounds) over a period of five months. This has reduced my BMI from 51 to 36 and so I’m much closer to a healthier range for fertility. I haven’t found the weight loss that difficult, as the programme removes choice of conventional food out of the equation and instead provides food packs and bars as meal replacements.
At the same time there are weekly sessions where you get counselling in a group format and discuss the reasons why you eat, when you eat and issues around food. The basis is cognitive behaviour therapy and transactional analysis. Once you get to your ideal BMI there is a 12-week programme of reintroducing conventional food with different food groups and types of food being brought back each week. At this stage the lessons you have learned about your behaviour around food will be proved and hopefully you won’t go back to your earlier eating patterns.
Research – Fertility Show
While losing weight I have been doing more research around fertility and decided to attend a Fertility Show. which took place in London. There were a lot of fertility clinics represented. mainly from Spain and the USA, as well as the well-known clinics from the United Kingdom. I went from stall to stall finding out about their treatment methods, speaking to consultants, and also attended many of the seminars and talks held around general fertility treatments (blastocysts etc), alternative homoeopathic treatments (e.g. acupuncture), optimum health for fertility (diet and supplements). Of course they were all selling their products, but it was hugely informative.
Some of the things I gleaned included the various clinics abroad that have modern treatment methods and offer a good alternative from the UK market, where there are some difficulties in waiting times for egg donation for example. I also found the healthy fertility regime talk from Dr. Marilyn Glenville on good health and lifestyle really good. I bought her book “Getting pregnant faster – Boost your fertility in just 3 months,” which I think is excellent, and have started to take the Fertility Plus for women, Omega 3 Plus and Vitamin C Plus supplements she recommends. I’m hoping, along with my weight loss, this will put me in good stead for embarking on motherhood in the coming months.
Spanish Fertility Clinics
After the Fertility show I decided to take up an offer from one of the Spanish clinics I had discovered, which does egg donation at a reasonable price (they offered a discount at the Fertility Show). IVI Madrid has a very good reputation and, having spoken to them, I really liked their approach. I am scheduled to go for an initial consultation with them. They request that you complete basic info and have a contact clinic in the UK so that some scans can be done in UK and the details sent on to Madrid. I have found a clinic that will do the necessary scans in the UK and fax/email the info over to Spain. Not all UK clinics will do this, and some want to charge you for a UK consultation too, which would obviously add to the cost.
The consultation at IVI Madrid will involve a chat with a consultant with an initial scan and maybe some tests. I just need to be there for the day. If I decide to go with them, then I get a prescription for medication to down my own cycle. This may go on for a month or two as they have to do a mock cycle to check the meds that work for you. Then I would get a scan in the UK to check whether my womb is reacting as expected to the meds. Once all the checks and tests are made and confirmed as OK, I would just wait for the right donor.
In Spain it’s the consultant who does the matching, based on the recipient’s ethnicity and looks etc. (I had to send them a photo for my file.) Spanish law has complete anonymity, so there is no way for the child to contact the donor (egg or sperm) at age 18. This is different to UK law, so you have to weigh that in your thoughts about where to go for fertility treatment.
I decided that the chances of success for me are better in Spain. Mainly because, in the UK, egg donation is usually part of an egg sharing programme, so you have fewer eggs to choose from. The cost in the UK is the same or more than in Spain, where you get all the eggs from a donor.
The USA clinics seem to be the most expensive. Plus, flights to the U.S. are going to cost more than to Europe. I don’t have that much money to play with as a single woman, so I have to go with my instincts of where success is most likely.
So, my journey to Motherhood continues and I’m feeling pretty positive! 🙂
Mikki’s note: Speaking of Spain, that country is now becoming another place for Choice Motherhood, according to this article. Some neighbors, notably France and Italy, are much less accepting of single motherhood by choice. But it sounds like Spain is joining Finland, Germany, Sweden, Belgium and the United Kingdom as places where single women do have options for building a family. (We’re also getting strong traffic these days from Brazil!)