Deciding to undergo assisted reproduction treatments is a big step, and it is an even bigger one to choose to do it abroad. There are many reasons why prospective parents who are trying to get pregnant might travel to undergo treatments such as In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) or artificial insemination in a country other than their own: time taken to be seen; availability of donor material; or cost. While IVI’s clinics maintain the same standard of excellence and attention to our patients throughout Europe, these factors may contribute towards convincing the patient that it is better to travel outside of their own city. The transfer of the embryo into the female patient’s body is a momentous step in the treatment, and it can help to know that she has packed everything she could possibly need. These ten important items, some for the medical procedure, and some to make the trip go more smoothly, should not be left at home.
The first item on our list may seem like an obvious one to some, but it is definitely worth mentioning. Your passport is your most precious identification, and even if you are travelling within your own country, do not leave this at home. It is a vital document that confirms date and place of birth, and may be required when you are registering at the clinic. And there is an even greater need for it if you decide to fly: nobody can deny that your passport should be at the top of your packing list.
Nationals of the European Economic Area (EEA) and Swizz nationals are eligible for treatment free of charge should they require medical assistance while travelling. This does not include the planned treatment that they are undergoing with IVI, but, of course, it is always a good idea to travel with the knowledge that medical treatment will be easy to obtain should the worst happen and you are involved in an accident or some other event outside of your control.
When choosing to go through IVF abroad, remember that you are travelling through all the normal channels. Whether you have booked with a budget airline or are flying business class, whether you have opted for a hotel or rented an apartment for the duration of your stay, there are things that can and might not go to plan. Travel insurance ensures that any costs associated with missed transfers or delays will not eat into the funds you have set aside for trying to get pregnant.
The female patient may be on medication to help stimulate egg release. These include hormones or other types of medicine. When travelling to the clinic where the transfer will take place, she will need to continue with her scheduled medicine. Make sure to have all the correct information on medication in case it is needed at security at the airport.
Along with medication involved in the treatment, the patients must both bring all of their medical documents. This should include all the medications taken: dosage, brand and generic names; MRI reports and X-rays; and a medical summary of the treatments undergone at home and the ones you are travelling for.
Travelling can be stressful, and undergoing medical procedures even more so. Put the two together and you have a recipe for the most testing trip of your life. Make it easy for yourself and prepare a folder of all the information you could possibly need. This should include: flight information; transfers between the airport, accommodation, and clinic; addresses of the clinic and accommodation; useful telephone numbers, such as that of the clinic and accommodation; and possibly even taxi numbers. Make sure to include the country code in all telephone numbers, as if you need to call, you may not be thinking in the most efficient way with all the other things to worry about!
Of course, in Europe there is a single currency, the euro, and so patients travelling from within the EU will not need to change money before travelling. For patients who are coming from further afield, it can be useful to check rates in your home country and see if it might be better to exchange money before getting on that flight. Even for patients closer to home, making sure to carry enough cash for meals, taxis, and emergencies, might take a weight off your shoulders during this difficult period. IVF is an emotionally testing procedure, and IVI recommend doing everything possible to keep annoyances such as running out of cash to a minimum.
IVI medical professionals will communicate with patients in their chosen language, but taxi drivers and waiters may not. Bringing a simple dictionary can really help. Those few phrases will make most interactions easier. Go for a simple tourist’s dictionary or phrase book into your native language. Make the trip as easy for yourself as possible.
The patient is going to find herself spending some time lying down, whether directly before or after the embryo transfer, or in the two days afterwards. Hormones play a part in making her tired, and the requirements of undergoing medical attention in any country are sure to be stressful. Bringing a favourite pair of pyjamas or other loose, comfortable clothing, can make her feel more relaxed.
A Good Book
There is going to be a lot of waiting around! At the airport or while travelling, and in the few days after transfer before heading home. Making sure to bring something to keep yourself occupied is a must. A book with a twisting plotline may be just the ticket, or perhaps a laptop loaded up with films. Whatever you do, consider options. A hard-hitting thriller may sound great at home, but directly after embryo transfer the patient may prefer to indulge in something light.
Packing for undergoing IVF abroad may seem daunting but with our checklist hopefully, you will end up bringing everything you need to make the process go as smoothly as possible.