By Sara Marshall-Page
We have spoken many times before about the misconceptions of travelling abroad for fertility treatment. The image so often conjured up is that of white washed walls, unclean wards, staff that don’t speak English and absolutely no way of guaranteeing standards.
But let us put your mind at rest, we can tell you that this couldn’t be further from the truth having visited Clinica Tambre in Madrid, Spain.
Walking through the courtyard of fruit trees and into the beautiful waiting area, with its individual waiting room booths and stylish art deco chairs and sofas, you could be mistaken for believing you are checking in to a hotel for the weekend.
Before Tracey and I arrived, we tried to take our minds back to where they were when we were going through fertility treatment. What would we have wanted to know and see? Would travelling abroad be the right thing to do? We decided to write a list of questions for ourselves that we would get answered and share them with you.
So to start with, we want to know that the clinic has high standards and is trustworthy. So how do we find this out?
“If you are in the UK or the US you have the comfort of the HFEA and SART – regulatory bodies that ensure each clinic sticks to the rules so to speak. They have inspectors to make sure that standards are met and success rates are audited. These results can be seen on the HFEA and SART websites. In Europe though, fertility treatment is governed by the standards set out in the EU Tissues and Cells Directive. Although this establishes set standards for quality and safety that should be met in all EU fertility clinics, not all countries within the EU have accepted or implemented these standards. For this reason, do not assume your chosen clinic will adhere to these standards.
At Clinica Tambre you will see many certificates from governing boards, Just one example of this is below:
Clinica Tambre is registered with the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), the Health Ministry regulation, and is also the first private clinic to become a finalist in the EFQM Excellence awards.
Next, we wanted to know what the success rates were at Clinica Tambre?
“Our results are audited by the SEF (Sociedad Española de Fertilidad) as well as by the independent organization BVQ. Our excellent success rates reflect the engagement and the dedication of each member of our team to make our patient’s dream come true. If you head to our website you will see our success rates, just click here.”
We wanted to compare the costs between the UK and Spain. Is it cheaper? Is there a set rate or will there be a succession of ‘add-ons’ that will increase the cost once we are there?
“Spain has a price range that competes not only with the UK but with many countries in Europe. After the first consultation with the doctor and the recommended treatment plan, our team of coordinators will explain all the treatment options and pricing. The costs include all the necessary interventions to undergo the treatment, however the medication and blood tests are not included.”
If we decide to have treatment at Clinica Tambre, how much time would we need to take off work?
“The patient journey consists of two visits, the first consultation with the doctor can be done in one single day. During this visit the doctor will assess the patient to give the best diagnosis and indicate the tests that must be carried out before starting. A treatment plan will also be made so the patient can start the treatment back home. When everything is ready, a second visit for the treatment will be scheduled – this visit can take up to nine days depending on the treatment.”
What do we do first if we decide we want to start treatment?
“After your first contact request through our website or by calling our clinic, you will be attended by one of our patient care coordinators who will listen to your case and will help you schedule your first free consultation with one of our doctors on a day and time that you prefer. Our clinic will help you arrange everything for your first visit including accommodation assessment and airport pick up. Once you arrive at our Clinic your assigned coordinator will give you a warm welcome and assist you with everything you need before your consultation.”
Have you had treatment abroad? What was your experience? We’d love to hear from you, email firstname.lastname@example.org