Last year today, my dreams came true and I gave birth to my son. This past year was the brightest and the happiest year of my life. Any time I hold my baby, I keep telling myself: “this is nothing but a miracle.” Dr. Skinner, you’re a great doctor, very professional with a great personality. You helped me have my own baby when other doctors gave up on me and wanted me to use egg donors. Before my friend, Rachel, tells me about your clinic, I even hadn’t heard about Barbados but now in my eyes, Barbados is the land of hope.
And Helen, you walked me through all the difficult stages. You listened to all my fears and concerns and gave me peace with your calm and kind personality. Thank you for bearing with my mood and for understanding.
We will never forget what you were able to do for us, we feel so blessed!
Thank you for making this possible and keep up the awesome work!
Stephen and I were already in our early forties when our journey began. We had a rude awakening upon realizing the effect advanced age had on my eggs and then again when we discovered that he had issues with sperm quality. After three years of fertility treatments, specialists in the US painted a very bleak outcome for us and strongly recommended that we use donor eggs to conceive. But the costs to continue IVF treatments in the U.S. were unreachable, particularly since we had no insurance coverage.
There began my internet research which led me to the wonderful folks at the Barbados Fertility Clinic. Since I was an island girl born in Trinidad, a country literally next door to Barbados, I was intrigued and encouraged to find such a facility existed in the Caribbean region. The facility had great reviews and since the cost of IVF in the US is more than double that of the costs in Barbados, it was worth looking into. Then, we were blown away by the warm and courteous staff at the center who kept in touch with us regularly at every step of the way. Finally, Barbados is an island paradise with the most tranquil white sand beaches and waters you can find anywhere in the world. So, given all the factors and following our gut feelings, we booked a 10 day trip to Barbados for treatment. This decision was the best one we could have made. It was medical tourism at its best – a win-win.
The vacation was great and the procedure went smoothly without a hitch. We left Barbados feeling closer to each other and instinctively feeling in our gut that the outcome was successful. But, the two week wait was the most difficult. Finally the day came when I could take the home pregnancy test and bam – after taking about 10 tests, I finally believed that we were pregnant!
Today, we are happily raising our beautiful five-month old baby boy. Stephen Robert was born on November 7, 2012, a healthy full-term 7 ½ pound baby. So to everyone already on this journey or considering it, don’t lose hope. If a forty-five year old woman can do it, then maybe it’s in the cards for you as well. Sending you lots of baby dusts and positive vibes ~ from my family to yours!
We started off by just having unprotected sex. After a few months we moved to “timed intercourse”; doesn’t that sound fun! After a year went by we decided to talk to my gynecologist (Dr. Prakashbhan Persad). He did an ultrasound and discovered that I had a huge cyst in my right ovary and that I had polycystic ovaries in my left ovary. My husband and I didn’t really know much about cyst so we decided to do some research on it so that we really understand what it meant towards us getting pregnant. After about a week I contacted Dr. Persad to schedule a laproscopy to removed all the cyst and also to do a dye test to see if I had blocked tubes. A month after the laproscopy we went for a check up by Dr. Persad and everything seems fine with me so he asked my husband to do a sperm count. During all this time we were still hopeful that everything will be fine, no fear whatsoever. My husband did the sperm count and we returned with the results so that Dr. Persad could explain it to us. It turns out that my husband had very low sperm count and low sperm motility. I felt like if my world was crashing down cause I did have some knowledge about the difficulty of getting pregnant with very low sperm count. I could remember sitting in Dr. Persads’ office with my eyes full with tears quickly grabbing hold of my husbands’ hand trying to hold back my emotions. I could even remember Dr. Persad saying “don’t worry lady, why you crying for, everything is going to be ok”. He advised us to go to Barbados Fertility Clinic (BFC) to see a fertility specialist. I decided to research BFC and realized that we won’t be able to afford the IVF. Therefore due to financial circumstances we didn’t go BFC, and decided to go to another local fertility clinic where we soon found out that our ”only option” was IVF/ICSI.
We were both devastated. We couldn’t believe that we couldn’t conceive naturally. I remember talking to my husband about us being so young and having infertility issues. We never thought that young people would ever have fertility problems. Honestly, we both didn’t fully understood what we were about to get ourselves into! At the time I had not even heard of IVF. I knew that people got pregnant using non-traditional methods, but had no clue what they were called or what they entailed. We wasn’t scared to do the IVF but was terrified of all the needles. We thought that IVF would be the answer to all our prayers. You do IVF, you have a baby, right…wrong! At least for us it was wrong. The first cycle was a disaster. Initially the fertility doctor at the local clinic thought I was a perfect candidate for IVF/ICSI, young, healthy, no fertility issues. We soon found out that she was wrong. I was not responding well to the meds and had mild ovarian stimulation. I ended up with with only 12 eggs, where 6 eggs was given to another patient because I had chosen to share so that my IVF cost would be cut by 50%, 1of the 6 eggs fertilized. After a 2 day transfer I could barely move. The mild ovarian stimulation made me feel like my insides would explode with any slight movement. I was in a lot of pain. I thought this was normal. Later I found out that it is not normal. This cycle was a negative and it really broke our hearts. My husband and I cried lot. We truly believed that IVF would immediatly start our family.
We waited for 3 months, and got back in the saddle. Our biggest fear now was that going through this process once more and not getting pregnant which would send us into a really depressing state. We were less optimistic this time. The fertility doctor changed my protocol for this attempt and I seemed to be responding to the meds much better. I got 15 mature eggs this cycle, which was great! This time we had 1 compacting cell and 1 blastocyst to transfer on day 5 (first cycle had 1 4 cell, poor quality embryo). Suddenly I was finding myself beleiving that this was it. Everything was perfect this time! Transfered the embryos, waited two weeks and got the positive pregnancy test. We were so excited, I can remember the look on my husbands face to this day. He was ecstatic! We both cried in each other arms, full of joy. This was short lived because the first ultrasound at 12 weeks reveled that the baby had died at 9 weeks, I had a miscarriage. At this point I think we were really starting to get numb to the whole situation, and were starting to believe that we would never have an “ivf success story”. Also our closest friends didn’t support us, instead they ridiculed us, making us feel like we were less than them. A friend even said that they felt weird/award/guilty hanging out with us cause we didn’t have any children and they did. Could you imagine how we felt! But we weren’t going to give up on our dream of starting a family. To be honest I wasn’t that discouraged. I was so happy to know that I could get pregnant, and the doctor reassured us that people have miscarriages all the time and go on to have healthy babies in IVF. We were determined not let anyone discourage us with their negativity, our happiness is all that matters to us.
Sadly, my husband and I were faced with financial difficulties, we had emptied our savings, and felt reluctant to ask my husbands’ sister for more money to borrow, his mother and sister helped us financially and mentally for the 1st and 2nd IVF/ICSI cycles. Therefore we weren’t able to do another IVF/ICSI cycle. We then decided after about 3 months to adopt. Two weeks later when we received the adoption package where we would have to sign and confirm that we are officially starting the adoption process, my sister in law (hubbys’ sister) told us that she and her husband got a loan for us to do IVF one more time. It was really difficult for us to consider doing IVF again, we didn’t want to go through heartbreak again. Eventually with lots of encouragement from my in laws we did agree to try one more time, but this time we went to Barbados Fertility Clinic (BFC).
We started our 3rd cycle in December 2012. At the start of our 3rd and final cycle we were very positive. The staff at the Trinidad BFC were really nice to us. The atmosphere at the clinic was full of positive vibes. We kept reminding ourselves that if it’s meant to be it will happen. A couple days before the egg retrieval my husband, his sister, his brother in law and I all took a flight to the beautiful island Barbados. It’s such a paradise there, the first day we got there we saw monkeys in the yard of the cottage where we stayed. That was so exciting! We got to meet the staff of the Barbados fertility clinic and they were really lovely people. A couple days after was the egg retrieval and Dr. Skinner retrieved 15 mature eggs, of which 7 fertilized, and 3 made it to a 3 day transfer. We transferred 2 grade A 8 cell and 1 grade A 7 cell. Dr.Skinner was really confident that we would get positive results. She even explained to us that there might be a chance of us being successful with multiples. We flew back to Trinidad after the transfer and waited for the results. After the horrific 2 week wait we got a big fat positive. We were overjoyed but still concerned and worried about having another miscarriage. Once again we were pregnant, for the second time, but this time everything seemed perfect. The Trinidad BFC supported the pregnancy till 12 weeks. They give me meds so that my body can easily start to accept the pregnancy rather than reject it. With my 2nd cycle with the local fertility clinic, they did not support the pregnancy which probably could be one of the reasons why I ended up having a miscarriage. This time with BFC the baby was right on track with growth, my beta levels were high, and we made it through the first trimester. I am currently 14 weeks 2 days and we still don’t believe we are going to have a baby. We continue to think positive, keep our faith in GOD and pray that everything goes well and that our baby is born as healthy as can be.
I am sharing my journey with you in hopes that it encourages you to give IVF a try and for those that had failed cycles to keep trying. IVF is not guaranteed 100% success, Dr.Skinner is not God but I believe she is God sent and I also believe that positivity, faith and prays comes hand in hand to having a successful IVF cycle. There were times when both my husband and I could have given up on IVF and our dream of having a family, but we kept trying with a positive mindset and it paid off. I hope you will be sharing your IVF success story soon.
We never thought that we would have any problems having children. So it was a shock when we found out that I was infertile. Most times people think if a couple can’t have kids, it must be the woman, but I am living proof that it affects men too. For a while, I thought why me? Why did everyone else get to be normal and I wasn’t? There was so much about infertility that we didn’t know.
My wife really wanted a baby and I guess we never gave it a second thought. We put aside every plan we made and went straight into IVF, first at a local clinic and then in Barbados. At the time, I didn’t really focus on how I felt. I was sorry I had to put my wife through this, because all the medications and injections were making her ill. It was hard to watch someone you love go through something like this because of you…though my wife insists this is not a blame game.
The first attempt at IVF failed and we were devastated. Nothing else seemed important…just getting this to work and having our baby was our focus. We went to Barbados and spoke to Dr. skinner and Anna and decided to start another cycle as soon as we could. For me, the whole process was nerve wrecking. We were just trying to get through each stage successfully…even after the positive pregnancy test.
Seeing the joy on my wife’s face when our daughter was born was priceless. It was the most incredible thing when she started to cry…that’s when I knew for sure she was alive and breathing.
We were so nervous about every little including thing bringing her home, because she was a preemie. Now that she’s almost a year old and so much bigger its hard to believe all that we went through. But it was definitely worth it. It seems when I come home everyday, she’s bigger and learning something new. It’s still amazing to me. Sometimes when I look at her, I can’t stop smiling.
Before I decided to go to Barbados, I had two treatments done in the Netherlands. The treatments failed. With both treatments I had over stimulated. We also had no embryos left to freeze. And that can happen, but when asked why, we were left with no answers. There was no communication. It was tough, tough on our wallet and definitely tough on us.
Before I went to the Netherlands for the second treatment I did contact Barbados fertility clinic, but still I chose to go to the Netherlands, because I thought that since I had already undergone the first treatment with them, they would know how to treat me better the second time. But I was sadly mistaken. I got exactly the same treatment procedure and I knew while undergoing the treatment it would fail. After this we gave it a rest for a while, but I could not give up yet. I wanted one more try, and wanted to try Barbados.
So we decided to save, and save, and save and I promised my husband this would be the last try, because all this saving deprived us of doing anything fun. When we got to Barbados we were so surprised with the level of expertise and care. It was a complete difference from our previous experiences in the Netherlands. They checked us for everything, they totally analyzed every aspect to get to the bottom of our problem in order to treat us the best possible way, to give us the highest chances of succeeding. Before this, we never knew of the possibilities out there. In the Netherlands they just went with regular protocol twice, and we were always left with unanswered questions.
Of course there are no guarantees that a treatment will result in a pregnancy, but I can say for myself that I felt so much better and positive leaving Barbados after such a friendly and professional treatment. It was worth the try, because they gave it their all.
I would say, start with just sending the clinic an email, and decide from there.
I am truly blessed to have found your clinic. Everyone there has been so wonderful and has treated us so kindly and professionally throughout the entire IVF process. I’ve always felt so confident that I was in the BEST hands.
The level of expertise, quality of the lab, professionalism, and personal care at your clinic was beyond my expectations, and far superior to any level of medical service/quality that I have received in the US. Especially at the fertility clinics here in the US, where you feel that you are just a number in a line of many, where personal care is minimal, and response time is slow. I always left those clinics feeling that they really didn’t care that much about me. You guys were always available for us, and every conversation, no matter how ridiculous our questions were (and there were MANY) was answered patiently and with care, kindness and expertise.
We were greeted so warmly at our arrival, and that continued throughout our time there. I never had a doubt that I had the best chances of getting pregnant at your clinic than any other place in the world. And the fact that it was 1/3 of the price it would have cost me here in California made me even more grateful.
When I saw that positive pregnancy test a couple of days ago, I was in shock. I am so happy, excited, and most of all triumphant. Thank you so much for helping me to feel like this. After 3 yrs and 9 months of trying, four failed IUIs, for the first time in my life, I’m pregnant! I’m hoping the good news continues, but whatever happens, you have made me feel whole, and have given me the confidence that I can get pregnant.
We will always remember you guys and will always be grateful.
We have been married for 5 years and, this is the first time I’m pregnant and while I’m typing this I feel my little bambino’s kicking as if to say, Mummy, I can’t wait to meet you and Daddy! Who would have thought? We did! We never gave up!
So we got married in September 2006 excited about the prospect of starting our family right away, especially being in our mid-30’s but not being overly worried. It was bound to happen. Nope….after a few months we decided to go for a check-up and continued doing that practically every month until we narrowed it down to a few things;
Age and possible endometriosis. I’m now 41. Of course, I had no symptoms of endo but we decided to go ahead and have a laparoscopy. They found minimal scarring but the doctor was very hopeful that because the scarring was removed, I should be pregnant within one month – yay! Few months later.. Nope!
My grandmother had 10 children for goodness sake and my Mum popped out 2 within 15 months. What about me?
We had seen an ad for BFC and decided to find out more info because time was really ticking by and I wanted 10 children before 40!.
Stacy was our first point of contact and she is the person that got the ball rolling. In a nutshell, we attempted IVF 3 times and got lucky on the 3rd. I’m sure you have heard or experienced the heartbreaks, the tears, disappointment, insensitivity etc but I want you to stay positive so I’m going to focus on a few things that helped me. I went through the tears, the staying away from baby showers, getting angry at insensitive people, depression, worry about finances but then I let it go. It took some time and life was a roller coaster for me but I want you to get to the better place faster than I did where you are at peace.
BFC will give you the clinical rundown for each case so I won’t go into that.
Here we go:
A husband that continually stayed positive and caring and loving – don’t forget to reciprocate…he’s going through just as much stress as you and maybe even more.
A Mother, Father and Brother that also kept us going with positive thoughts and continuous support.
Dr. Skinner- magical hands! Absolute care and understanding
Cyrilene – breath of fresh air for those early morning appointments
Rhonda – meticulous care with our finances
Rachel – couldn’t find a better person to arrange accommodation, holistic treatments.
Bethann – “talk to your eggs” and send them loving thoughts
Anna- soft and peaceful personality that helped me though treatments. Qualities I have taken with me
Acupuncture – before, during and after treatments
Yoga- I had never tried yoga before but I bought myself a CD and let me tell you, I have never felt so good physically and mentally. Imagine a few stretches can work miracles. I used to look forward to doing it every day in the comfort and privacy of my home – me time! I felt so proud and accomplished that I was doing things to help me along my journey.
At night and before, during and after treatments, oh and during my acupuncture, I would listen to a guided meditation that got me on track for peace of mind. The one I used was specifically designed for fertility…and yes, I did say fertility, not infertility! Keeping you on the positive train! It was so lovely listening to this peaceful voice helping me visualize and heal my body to prepare a home for the little one.
I also soon changed that thought “what about me” to “why not me” if it can happen to others, of course it can happen for me and it will!!!!!!
The staff at BFC have become our friends, our support and always made us feel special, even up to today. They never let us go! Rachel and Anna send me some beautiful uplifting emails that make me feel so warm and fuzzy!
I could ask a thousand questions and each and every one was answered with the utmost patience.
Don’t look at the treatments as a task, as my husband told me, enjoy the injections, the blood tests etc. Think of why you are doing these things. He would rub and kiss my tummy and immediately I would stop fussing and smile and talk to my little eggs. It’s a journey where you can look at each step as being on your way to something grander. Enjoy it and make time to also enjoy the little vacation you have in Barbados.
After your treatments, consultations etc, go the beach, run to the beach! It’s an order, and soak up those rays, dip in the ocean and let everything go. All your thoughts, all your worries . If you had a bad day, that’s okay, we are all entitled to that. The next morning, start again…. Each day is a new day filled with hope and lots of things to do, not just treatments and poking and prodding. Embrace your opportunities. Take a deep breath and absorb the wonder of where you are.
Prayer and positive thinking EVEN WHEN I DID NOT FEEL LIKE IT! It was at the lowest moments that I forced myself to change my thoughts for the sake of my eggs and finally, the growth of that beautiful little embryo.
Prayer is so important. Did you know that there was a study done that showed that couples who had many people praying for them, even across the ocean, miles away, had more successful outcomes. I know that prayer is an individual choice. This is just one of the many ingredients that helped me. It’s the energy, the vibes, the good feelings being sent your way from a Higher Power.
It was not an easy road, but you all know that. It’s a different path for everyone but there is always a way and an outcome that happens at just the right moment, perhaps when you least expect it. Maybe I’ll have another!
My prayer and thought for each and every one of you reading this story is to keep going, don’t give up. To dream your wildest dreams and see them come true.
From our baby to yours, always with love and hope and faith.