In case you’ve read Part I (Interview With an IVF Coordinator at an International IVF Clinic), you were probably already looking forward to this very post. If you haven’t, go ahead and read our interview with an IVF coordinator first.
In this post, we’re interviewing one of the IVF doctors at GENNET.
I was tempted to slip in another question about my estrogen levels at trigger day, but Mr. Frugalcrib wisely prevented me from making things too awkward ;).
Let’s get to it!
Please introduce yourself.
My name is Martin Valachovič and I am the chief IVF physician at the GENNET clinic. My experience with IVF treatment dates back to 2013.
In your experience, who is the “average” patient?
Due to the fact that our clinic specializes in treatment with donor eggs, our mainstream clients are often older childless couples, mainly from abroad. Egg freezing is also one of our options. A majority of our patients are people who attempt treatment repeatedly.
What are the most common reason(s) people seek IVF abroad?
Well, the main reason is especially our experience of many years as well as the price at which our clients receive first-class treatment. GENNET is one of the leading clinics in the field of assisted reproduction, not only in the Czech Republic, but also in the rest of Europe. Moreover, due to the liberal legislation in the field of assisted reproduction, the Czech Republic belongs to countries that have the longest experience in the area of infertility treatment.
How many patients use their own egg/own sperm vs. donor treatment? Is there a big difference in this ratio when comparing patients from abroad to Czech patients?
My estimate of the ratio of own/donated gametes is 50/50%. The difference in the interest in donated gametes in the Czech Republic and abroad is in my opinion about the same, perhaps there is slightly more interest abroad. The reason for this could be greater awareness of the population, but also the search for clinics in countries where the legislation allows treatment with donated cells.
Some foreign patients like to have their own doctor set up a protocol, are you open to using other doctor’s protocol?
I would say that it depends, the approach is individual. Of course, some patients have requirements regarding medication, methods etc., but the physician should have the final say on this. So it is a matter of mutual agreement in the end. We definitely have certain options for individualization of protocols. Unfortunately, it is not always possible.
Do you sometimes refuse treatment? Why?
Yes. The age limitation is 48 years+365 days and BMI 35-40 is the maximum limit. Treatment for patients with BMI over 40 is not available in our facility.
What is the maximum number of embryos you transfer?
My recommendation is 2 embryos at the most. Of course, the current preference is only single embryo transfer. However, when our patients request 2 embryos, we do carry out the transfer of 2 embryos, provided there are no medical reasons which make us sign an informed consent regarding a higher risk of complications with the patient (especially uterine scars after surgeries such as myomectomy, C-section, cervical conization etc.).
Are GENNET doctors active in the scientific community?
We are definitely very active. Not only the physicians but the entire medical staff of GENNET clinics undertakes training and attends conferences in the Czech Republic and also abroad. We regularly attend international conferences, such as the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) congress. We are not just listeners in various conferences, but often also active lecturers.
Do you keep track of and publish success rates, like for example the CDC does in the USA and ESHRE does in Europe?
Of course we keep statistics on the success rate of individual treatment types in our clients. Unfortunately, such statistics are frequently misleading due to the fact that we do not have adequate feedback from our foreign clients. We are able to follow pregnancy rates at the most, which are provided to us by the majority of clients shortly after the treatment. Nevertheless, we do not have enough information about the subsequent course of pregnancy and childbirth.
Are there big differences between IVF in the Czech Republic and IVF in other popular countries for fertility treatments, like Greece or Spain?
The differences in methods are only minimal nowadays. In my opinion, there are more differences in experience or equipment of particular clinics than essential differences. Of course, there are various possibilities of treatment due to legislative limitation, and there are clinics which are not able to perform specific procedures or methods. In many countries, infertility treatment with donated cells is limited by legislation, or rather there is the so-called open identity and the clinics do not have enough donors available.
What, in your opinion, do you see as the biggest improvement(s) in IVF in the last years, and what do expect will be the most important new development in the near future?
In my view, the possibility to detect various genetic defects as early as in embryos is outstanding such as PGS and PGD technologies. I can see great opportunities for the future of ovascience – that is, detection of various pathologies at early stage of development with subsequent treatment (nowadays there are already cases of mitochondrial transplantation etc.).
Interesting stuff, right? I want to thank Dr. Valachovič for his time answering our questions. It’s very valuable to us as patients to get a first-hand look at the inner workings of an IVF clinic. I was especially curious to see how clinics handled success rate statistics for patients abroad. I know that it’s a challenge to keep track of patients among clinics that take on many foreign patients, as is often mentioned in publications.
Up next will be an interview with one of the embryologists, where we’ll hopefully find out more about fertilization rates, embryo grading, and freezing requirements.
In case you have a question you like to have answered, feel free to comment below and I can check and see if a staff member is able to answer your question.