“Just relax and it will happen…put a pillow under your hips…you ARE having sex aren’t you?” Does this sound familiar? For many couples suffering with infertility, these frustrating comments are usually filled with good intent, but ultimately they do nothing short of add to stress levels when trying to get pregnant.
Infertility is not in the mind, but a medically diagnosed condition known to any couple trying to achieve a pregnancy over a period of one year without success.
Many studies show the negative impact stress has on couples suffering from infertility. These studies reveal the disheartening news that when stress levels go up, pregnancy rates go down.
IVF treatment is stressful in itself. After HIV, the World Health Organization lists IVF treatment as the highest stressor a person can deal with.
So the question remains — how can couples trying to reduce stress to increase their chances of a successful outcome accomplish this overwhelming challenge? A solution resides at Barbados Fertility Centre, on the beautiful Caribbean island of Barbados.
Barbados Fertility Centre (BFC) is the only Joint Commission International-accredited center of excellence for IVF treatment in the Caribbean. BFC was established to promote holistic treatments that compliment traditional IVF treatment to reduce stress and increase success, a formula that has proved itself for more than a decade. The natural beauty of the island helps couples to unwind when they take a break from the hectic pace of everyday life to enjoy all this paradise destination offers.
BFC houses the Life Wellness Centre (LWC), a spa that allows patients to easily transition from traditional medical treatment appointments to holistic medical treatments. LWC offers patients massage, acupuncture, chakra rebalance, nutritional advice, reflexology and counselling to deal with emotions associated with fertility treatment.
Couples travel to Barbados from every corner of the globe for fertility treatment. A growing number of couples, who are attracted by the center’s high success rates and low treatment costs, are from the United States.
Kelli Harrington, from Washington, married her husband when she was 39. They decided to immediately start a family, but after 6 months, had no results.
Kelli visited an acupuncturist and soon became pregnant; however, her joy was short-lived when she sadly miscarried at six weeks. By now, Kelli had turned 40 and consulted a fertility specialist in the United States, who presented the couple with a daunting schedule of fees. The price increased with the woman’s age. Kelli estimated her bill would top US$40,000.
The couple needed another option, so they investigated fertility treatment overseas. A friend recommended BFC after successfully undergoing treatment there a few years earlier.
Kelli thought saving money to have treatment on a tropical island would be nice, but she didn’t think they could realistically afford it. Moving forward, she arranged a telephone consultation, which she assumed would cost a hefty fee as well, but was delighted to learn that a 45-minute call to the head clinician at BFC, Dr. Juliet Skinner, was actually free of charge.
Once Kelli looked into the cost of flights, accommodation, treatment and medication, she was shocked to learn the total bill was to be a quarter of the cost of treatment alone in the United States.
“Our decision was made,” said Kelli, who works in the travel industry. “My husband and I both enjoy travel so we were really excited to be going to Barbados for treatment. I had my medical records sent to BFC and they helped me to order my medication.”
Once in Barbados, the couple was delighted to spend only a few hours at the clinic. They stayed within walking distance and spent most of their time enjoying what Kelli describes as a two-week, stress-free vacation, where they enjoyed the country and, most importantly, each other.
Kelli combined her medical treatment with acupuncture sessions in Barbados and was pleased that the IVF process went smoothly, obtaining four viable embryos, which she had two implanted and two frozen. Back home, a pregnancy test was positive. She was again delighted, but sadly miscarried again.
Kelli was, of course, upset and felt discouraged, but she wasn’t devastated because she knew she still had two frozen embryos at BFC and was confident that she had found the right place to help her conceive.
People don’t realize there are more affordable fertility treatment options outside of the United States.
She and her husband returned to Barbados for a six-day stay, where they used the frozen embryos and again underwent holistic therapies to help her unwind during the process.
This time, Kelli’s dream became a reality with the help of BFC. She is now the proud mother to baby Jack!
“People don’t realize there are more affordable fertility treatment options outside of the United States,” said Kelli. “BFC is JCI-accredited and I believe that they have the right approach combining holistic therapy with traditional treatment. I am convinced that acupuncture helped me to conceive and, in my mind, helped to balance my body.”
Kelli is now enjoying motherhood and her beautiful son, Jack, who celebrated his first birthday.
“Sometimes I look at him and I still can’t believe he is really here, even though it’s been a whole year,” said Kelli. “He was so worth all the heartache and struggle, he is just awesome!”