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IVF # 3 - in Prague

A blog by Megan Swanek, May 6, 2016

Right after our little girl was born, my husband booked our flights to Vienna, Prague and Budapest. He is amazing at the mileage game, and scored our business class tickets, valued around $7,000 each, for just $150. It was a huge leap of faith for first-time parents with a newborn to take, and we wondered if we bit off more than we could chew. We didn't yet know what a trip to the grocery store with a little one would entail, let alone spending three weeks trekking around three different cities.

As we started researching the three cities, we realized that the US dollar goes very far Prague. We wondered how much IVF would cost there, and were amazed to find out that it was well under $5,000, including medication. In the United States, medication alone costs $4,000! What about doing IVF while we're there, we wondered? Was their standard of care as good as the states and would it be safe for me?

I did not know what data to look at, or even where to begin in researching clinics abroad. In the US, we now know to look at the SART data, something we did not find out until after we had financially committed to our first (failed) IVF, which cost $20,000. Imagine paying that amount for ... nothing! We paid for the hope of becoming parents, and didn't even have any left to freeze.

Luckily, my husband has a cousin who is a doctor, and I was able to get her more-informed opinion. I sent her an email with a list of the clinics we were considering. She was able to get a list of "approved" clinics from her attending physician at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, who happened to know a doctor in the Czech Republic. Armed with this knowledge, we felt safe proceeding.

Initially, we were considering clinics in Brno (Reprofit and Unica), not realizing how far it was from Prague. Since I will have multiple appointments, we don't want to be traveling back and forth, almost 130 miles, one way. Currently, we are deciding between the Prague Fertility Centre and GYNEM Fertility Clinic.

It has been tough with the language barrier. Even though their employees speak English, a typical email reads something like this:
Dear Mrs Megan Swanek.
Thank you very much for your confidence in turning our clinic.We are also pleased to hear that you have learned about Unica via a great references. Our clinic has been engaged in the IVF treatment since 1994; making us the IVF centre with the longest tradition in the Czech Republic. We always strive to emphasize quality; we will very gladly help you.
We fly in 68 days, and I am a bit behind in setting all of this up. When we thought I had melanoma, I obviously could not proceed with any fertility treatments, so everything came to a grinding halt. Besides missing my second month of IUI treatments (which are covered under my current insurance), I stopped exploring the option of IVF all together.

But now, I am excited to move forward. We are thrilled about the possibility of giving baby A a sibling, but remain cautiously optimistic, since my fertility has naturally declined in the two years since my first failed IVF.

Next steps: sending the doctors my hormonal profile so that they can work up my treatment protocol, which my primary care physician ordered yesterday. I'm hoping to have consultation via skype soon, and will keep you updated on the process!


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