This is Part 1 of the IVF Diary series. I’ll be keeping a diary of all important IVF days, starting from when we first chose to undergo infertility treatment in Prague. Click here to read all other IVF diary posts.
The First Email
A couple of weeks ago, after doing some research, we decided which clinic to go to. We initiated contact with Gennet in Prague. The Contact Us form was short and sweet, asking for the woman’s first and last name (men are not allowed to contact them, or so it seems!), email address, phone number, and you have to select what kind of treatment you’re interested in (e.g. IVF with own eggs/sperm, a donor, etc.). It also included a comment box where you get to ask a question. Mind you, the text box only allows 250 characters so this clearly is not the place to attempt to write that autobiography that you’re so keen on getting started.
I received an email a day or so later. I was assigned an IVF coordinator, yay. She introduced herself and pointed out a bunch of attachments. First, there was a PDF file of their over-100-pages-long-flyer, which tells the story of when they were founded, what kind of treatments they offer, their doctors, and much more. The email also contained a 6-page patient intake form asking about your medical and family history, and included some obvious infertility specific questions. Nothing too complicated and it shouldn’t take you more than half an hour or so to have everything filled out.
Things You Need Before Your Intake
Our clinic only needed two things before we were able to talk with the doctor for our first consultation; results of a recent hormone panel (AMH, FSH, LH, Estradiol, Prolactin and TSH + Free T4 (Thyroid)) for the ladies and a recent semen analysis report for the guys (should include concentration, motility, and morphology details). By the time we were researching IVF clinics we already had all that stuff done anyway, so there was no hold-up.
Things You Need Before Starting Treatment
Both partners need (up to date, no more than 12 months old) HIV, Syphilis, Hep C and Hep B testing done. An updated PAP smear and a pelvic (transvaginal) ultrasound are on the required list as well. And while you’re at it, they’d also like a preoperative evaluation to make sure you’re okay undergoing general anesthesia for the egg retrieval part. You can either ask your own doctor to arrange all those tests, or pay to have it done at the IVF clinic before egg retrieval. The preop exam (€125) includes testing your blood for over a dozen things, a urine analysis, an EKG, and a doctor’s note interpreting the results. Oh the joy of infertility treatments!
Scheduling the Consultation
Our coordinator gave us the link to schedule an appointment online where we could write our Skype details in the comment section. We picked the first available date that didn’t involve us having to wake up at 3 am due to the 6-hour time difference between Florida and Prague, which was about 2 weeks later. The €100 (about $120) initial consultation fee is paid upfront by bank transfer or credit card and is credited toward the cost of treatment if you choose to proceed.
We gathered all of our results and scanned and PDF-d (technical term!) them together. I also included a one page summary of our most important results which gave us (and them) a nice overview for easy viewing. The coordinator responded that the doctor would review our file and would be calling us on Skype at the time of the appointment.
Some of us (*ahem* Mr. Frugalcrib *ahem*) spent the next few weeks logging in and out of Skype to see if the doctor added us on Skype yet. Never happened, but time well spent for sure!
Find out how our consult went in Part 2.