June 15, 2010

You're going where to do what???

Planning this trip to Costa Rica and Panama has been a very interesting process. We decided early in April that this was the best option for Mr. CB and I, but there was so much uncertainty about Mr. CB and his work schedule that it wasn’t possible to book everything right away. It was a weird place to be ~ we knew I was going the whole time, but didn’t know if Mr. CB would be there the whole time, or if he would be there half the time and my mom would be there the other half, or if all three of us would be there together some of the time. For someone who likes to go full steam ahead once a decision is made, it was very difficult! We finally made the decision the first week of June that Mr. CB will there the entire time with me. This makes me extremely happy, of course. In a future post I’ll detail our travel plans and the fun exciting places we will be visiting, but I think most are wondering about how this whole IVF in another country works…so I’ll start there.

The doctor I will be seeing is Dr. Ariel Perez Young. His practice is established in San Jose, Costa Rica, and from what I’ve heard, it is THE clinic to go to if you’re struggling with infertility. I haven’t spoken to Dr. Perez at all. Any contact I have is through Mark Semple, the president of
Passport Medical. He’s basically my middle man (which is good since I don’t speak any Spanish!) and he has set up all of my appointments and answered any questions I have about the process. If I have a question for the doctor (I was wondering a few weeks ago what his minimum lining thickness was for transfer), then Mark will email Dr. Perez and then get back to me.

I started birth control pills when I started my May cycle. Luckily I started my period towards the end of the month, so I will be on the pill for a total of five weeks. This will suppress my ovaries and allows my cycle to line up with the time frame needed for travel. I stop the pill on June 26, and fly to Costa Rica on July 1. I will have my first monitoring appointment that afternoon, and start my stimming medicine that day as well. I go back for monitoring on July 7 and July 10. Hopefully I have tons of great looking follicles and at this point my egg retrieval will be scheduled.

On July 12, we fly to Panama with Dr. Perez. The reason you have to go to another country is because IVF is illegal in Costa Rica. I did a little research, and basically back in the early 2000’s IVF was banned in Costa Rica because of religious reasons. There are still some artificial reproductive technologies that are acceptable, but IVF is not one of them. So to get around this law, Dr. Perez takes his patients to nearby Panama to perform the actual retrieval and transfer. We’ll be in Panama from July 12-19, and during this week we will have the retrieval and transfer. We fly home on July 19, and then wait a few days before POAS! Any after care I need will be through my OBGYN.

So this in a nutshell is IVF in Costa Rica and Panama. It’s a lot of planning and traveling and uncertainty, but the same can be said for an IVF cycle in the US. What is really different is the price. We had a quote from our local RE of about $14,500 for IVF and medications. We will be approximately $4500 for the same procedure and the same medications in Costa Rica/Panama. The IVF is $2800, three monitoring appointments are $85 each and medication is roughly $1500. Even when we add in our travel costs, we will be well under what it would have cost us here. And we’re going on a vacation for 19 days! You can't beat that!


Worry Bud said...

That sounds amazing & I an praying that this is IT for you two! GL CB...please keep us all posted. I'll be thinking of & praying for you constantly. :)

Sunflower Bud said...

That sounds amazing!! It was something that I looked into as well when I thought IVF was our only option. I hope the relaxation of vacation helps!! I can't wait to hear some good news!

Ms. Understood said...

Talk about best of both worlds!!! Have an amazing vacation and successful procedure.

Vivian said...

Hey ... I was thinking of doing a donor egg cycle outside the US due to financial concerns as well ... I was just wondering how you came about to choose this program and why you are so confident you will not get screwed over?? Those are my two big fears, which is why I am doing a cycle in the US ... I am sooo nervous to spend the money (even if it's "only" $10k ... i don't want to get nothing for my money so to speak) ... anyway, best of luck and thanks for answering my questions!!

Chef Bud said...


I have personally spoken to four people who have used Dr. Perez for IVF, 3 of whom have traveled there to see him. I chose Costa Rica for many reasons...the price is the best for out of country IVF's, travel to CR was inexpensive for us, Dr. Perez has extremely good success rates, and we've gotten positive reviews from the others who have been.

In my opinion, IVF is always a gamble. I've seen so many people have perfect cycles and not get pregnant. I know there is no guarantee. Going to Costa Rica, I feel like even if we are not successful we will have had an amazing experience and vacation in the process.

Let me know if you have any other questions!


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