The important role of a patient care coordinator in assisted reproduction treatments

Saúl Mizrahi
Patient Care Coordinator , Clinica Tambre

IVF Abroad

Role of a patient care coordinator in ART treatments
From this video you will find out:
  • What is the Team at Clinica Tambre and how they work together?
  • What are the tasks of the Patient Care Coordinator?
  • What assistance with traveling and safety is offered?
  • Can I get information on medical tests that can be done in my home country?
  • What is the patient journey from the initial contact to the last visit?


How do patient care coordinators assist fertility patients?

Watch this webinar in which Saúl Mizrahi, Patient Care Coordinator at Clinica Tambre, is explaining the important role of a patient care coordinator in IVF and egg donation treatment.

A patient care coordinator is a crucial part of your IVF process. This is your first contact with your clinic, no matter if you are having your treatment abroad or not. The coordinator is in touch with you on a daily basis. The role of the patient care team involves answering all patient’s queries, and this is a person who talks to you and is in between you and the doctors to help you. The patient coordinator is responsible for answering your emails on time or making phone calls or giving you feedback on how everything is, so you won’t feel that you’re having treatment abroad, you have constant communication with your coordinators during the entire procedure and finally complementary therapies. The patient care coordinators are also the ones who help with organising your trip to the clinic and will guide you through the whole IVF process. It’s important to have an individual approach to make sure that your treatment is very personal and that everything goes according to plan when it comes to visits, additional tests, etc.

Clinica Tambre offers an online support system so that you can feel taken care of even though you live abroad. Most of the time, you can buy your medication in Spain (while coming for the consultations), or the clinic can send you necessary prescriptions which you can use in your home country.

Patient journey

A patient journey starts with the first contact, you can either call the clinic or request a call from the coordinator and then organize an appointment with a doctor. You will be asked to send all the medical records and blood tests beforehand, those should be current results. This way, the doctor is already aware of your case and can give you a diagnosis based on a previous study done with your tests and your medical records. At that point, your visit is planned, during which the doctor will do a full evaluation of your situation. During your first visit, the doctor will perform an ultrasound and indicate, which tests you need to do, then you will be ready to move forward with your treatment, and you will receive a treatment protocol. This treatment protocol includes all the details of the treatment, when you will need to start the medication, when you will need to have your ultrasounds, etc. Once you are home, you can start the procedure, you can start taking your medication.

When you’re ready, you will be flying for your second trip to Spain and depending on the treatment that you are undergoing, the stay will be shorter or a little longer. At that time, the patient care coordinator will be there with you as well so that they can explain everything before the procedure is done and after the procedure is done. It is recommended to fly home the next day after the procedure, so you can rest and relax after this procedure. When you arrive home, 10 days later, you will perform a blood pregnancy test, and hopefully, you will be able to share the good news with the whole team.

- Questions and Answers

Do you know how I can get a visa for treatment in Spain?

This is a very common question. Sometimes, for some patients depending on the country where they live, it’s a challenge to come to Spain. What we do at the clinic is that we can facilitate a letter saying that you are flying to Spain for medical treatment. Most of our patients receiving these letters need to go to the embassy of Spain in their own countries and with this letter most of them. I can say that all of them because I haven’t had recent denials, they have had the permission and the authorization to fly to Spain. The visas have been issued, as I mentioned before, medical treatment is a strong reason to come to Spain. We as a serious clinic with over 40 years of experience in the field, we’re well known, not only locally but internationally, and by giving you a letter saying that you are coming to Spain for a treatment, you shouldn’t have any kind of problems with the visa.

What is the cost of IVF with medication without PGD?

We have different plans, as you know everything starts with this first consultation where the doctor will recommend which is the best IVF treatment for you. We have the regular IVF, we have the IVF with pre-genetic screening, or we have other ways of doing your IVF treatment. The costs can start from 4995 EUR, however, I recommend contacting us directly, so we can give you a personalized cost estimate based on your specific case and what you will need. The medication is another important question, it’s not included in our treatments. What we can do as a clinic is to provide you with the prescriptions, and you can go to any pharmacy in Spain or your country and buy the medication just to give you a broad idea an IVF treatment medication for IVF treatment is around 1200 to 1300 EUR here in Spain. It will depend on the pharmacy you go to, but that’s the average price, so you can have an idea and compare it with the prices, in your own country.

Do many people opt to stay in Spain so there won’t be any need for a second trip? I would be afraid to go home and then not be able to return for the second part of the treatment given the pandemic situation upcoming this winter. How do you think this will go? How long would it be to make it one long trip? Combining the first and the second trip.

Understanding the current situation and some travel restrictions or some limitations when patients fly back to their countries, we have many options. We have the option of having a treatment in one visit, however, it is important, for example, with an IVF treatment why we recommend to come here to Spain for a first visit because initially a sperm sample needs to be left and this sample if it’s okay, it will be frozen and studied for the procedure. Other options we have are that we’re able to give online consultations, and instead of having the on-site consultation, we can have the online consultation, however, the recommendation always is to be here if this is the case that is being considered. There could be a situation happening, which we do not think honestly it will happen, but we do have the option of starting the preparation back home, and then you could only come at the time of the egg retrieval and then the embryo transfer. It’s important to know that you will need to be here the day before the egg retrieval, then the next day when we retrieve the eggs your partner, we’ll be able to leave his fresh sperm sample, so we can fertilize the eggs and wait 5 days in the incubator until we’re able to perform the embryo transfer, this is in case of a regular IVF. In the case of egg donation, it can easily be done in one trip working in the same way, however, the doctor will need to study the sperm before and let you know if it’s possible to leave this fresh sample in the second visit. If you’re using donor sperm, it shouldn’t be a problem at all because your second visit to the clinic will be only for 3 days in the case of egg donation. After all, if it’s an IVF with donor sperm, we will be able is to fertilize the eggs the day of the egg retrieval with the donor sperm that we already selected for you and then 5 days later you can easily perform the embryo transfer, so yes it is a possibility.

What is the law in Spain for donors and surrogates?

There are three important things to know about the legislation in Spain. The first thing is that surrogacy is not a possibility in Spain. Donation is possible, however, the law says two important things, the first one is that the donors are completely anonymous. This means that the doctor will be the one selecting the right donor for you according to two different criteria. The first one is blood group compatibility and the second one is physical characteristics, so this means that the doctor will find a donor for you, that’s compatible with you, and that looks like you, so the baby looks like you. Using those principles and understanding that, it’s perfectly possible to have an egg donation treatment in Spain, to select the proper donor for you and do it, but surrogacy is not allowed, and egg donation is possible under these conditions.

What is the waiting time to get an egg donor?

Normally, the waiting time to find a donor is about 2 to 3 weeks, it will be the only time to find the right donor for you a compatible donor for you, and a donor that looks like you. To find a donor that looks like you, we count on technology besides you will fill the form of a physical characteristic. We use Fenomatch technology, which allows us to select from the donors that were already selected by the doctor to see their pictures and with the system compare them with your picture to find the donor that has the best match. This is a process that won’t take long, and as I mentioned, it could be two to three weeks approximately.

What is the maximal age for women for treatment in Spain?

The maximum age is 50 years old, however, this needs to be evaluated by the doctor. Once you have the first consultation as you know each patient is different, the doctor will tell you if at 50 years old, you’re able to perform a treatment or not. It’s important to know that the recommendations are based on scientific evidence, and the doctor will give you the best recommendation is to make sure that there are no further problems and that you have a successful result.

Is it possible to request that the sperm donor be from Spain? Or is that the best match overridden by the phenotype only?

As I mentioned before, the legislation is very strict, so this means that the only criteria to select a donor is blood group compatibility and physical characteristics. This means that we will find a donor that phenotypically matches you and a donor that’s obviously compatible with you. Many patients ask if Fenomatch is used as well for sperm donors, yes, it is. Fenomatch is used for all donors, and all our donors need to pass through a very exhaustive selection process to be part of our pool of donors, but yes, Fenomatch is used, we cannot choose any donor based on nationality or culture, or heritage. This is only the selection criteria.

Is embryo adoption possible at your clinic (Tambre)?

Yes, it is an option. We do have the option of creating an embryo from an egg from our bank and from sperm from our bank. This is also what is important to know that we will use Fenomatch technology for that. There is also the option of adopting an embryo and having an embryo that maybe another couple decided to donate to another couple, so this is also an option, however, the waiting time will be longer as we need to find a compatible embryo for our patient. We need to find embryos done from gametes with the phenotypical characteristics that match the recipient’s mother, but it is a possibility. What we always recommend is to maybe have a procedure done using the regular techniques, but yes, it is a possibility as well.

How much is the embryo adoption typically? Between that and phenotyped matched egg and sperm, which is more expensive?

Basically, what we do for the treatment is charging for the procedure of performing the transfer, for the medical assistance of your preparation. Normally, the embryo adoption treatment it’s a treatment that involves only transferring an embryo that was already created, and it’s less expensive than creating a new embryo from frozen eggs and frozen sperm. If you would like to have more information and you would like to receive the cost estimates for this process, just let us know, you can easily write to us at information@clinicatambre.com, and we can give you a call, we can explain all the options available and also we can send you the cost estimates.

Are you working with other countries? for cycle monitoring?

We are used to working with international patients, so this means that each coordinator, we have a multilingual team of coordinators, so we have a network of places where you are able to have treatments done, for example, in the UK, which is most of the patients I work with. English speaking patients mostly, we do have places, scanning agencies where you can easily go to have your ultrasounds done, you can go to have your tests done and have everything prepared for your treatment, but yes, we do have an international network of clinics and diagnostic center that will be able to assist you.

Are they any restriction in this time with COVID-19?

To be honest, there is a limitation, there is a curfew that I guess is happening in many countries that from midnight to 6 am, it’s not possible to be in the streets wondering, but there are no limitations to travel to Spain. As I mentioned, if you come for a justified reason such as a medical procedure, there shouldn’t be any problems, there are no problems, and we haven’t had any kind of problems with that so far. The limitations, they depend on the countries. The most challenging situation we’ve been experiencing with patients from the UK is the mandatory quarantine that sometimes they need to take when they return from Spain, so for this, we cannot do anything about it. To come to Spain and to have everything done here, there are no restrictions also, the safety measures that we have adopted in our clinic are very strict, individual waiting rooms, everything is disinfected, social distancing is very important and wearing a mask is now mandatory, not only in our clinic but in Spain in general. If you come to Spain, you will see that even if you are in the middle of a park with no one surrounding you, you need to wear a mask, so this is something that it’s mandatory, and it’s helpful to keep the safety and to maintain safety, and avoid the increase of cases around, those are the measures but to fly to Spain, there are no problems. We’re receiving normally patients, it will depend on the restrictions of their countries once they fly back from here.
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Saúl Mizrahi

Saúl Mizrahi

Saúl Mizrahi is without doubt one of the most beloved coordinators of Tambre's UK Patient Care team. His friendliness, honesty and experience mean that many people have fond memories of him when they finish their treatment. Saúl has over 10 years of experience in the healthcare field and is fluent in Spanish and English.
Event Moderator
Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka

Caroline Kulczycka is managing MyIVFAnswers.com and has been hosting IVFWEBINARS dedicated to patients struggling with infertility since 2020. She's highly motivated and believes that educating patients so that they can make informed decisions is essential in their IVF journey. In the past, she has been working as an International Patient Coordinator, where she was helping and directing patients on their right path. She also worked in the tourism industry, and dealt with international customers on a daily basis, including working abroad. In her free time, you’ll find her travelling, biking, learning new things, or spending time outdoors.
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