As options for combatting infertility increase, couples in Cayman are seeking help locally and overseas to start families.
The South Florida Institute for Reproductive Medicine has launched an advertising campaign locally to let Cayman residents know about the work it does in the field.
Oscar Marcado, the clinic’s administrator, said the centre sees a lot of clients from Cayman, many of whom say they “have to work really hard to get here”.
Marcado said the centre, to make its presence better known to people in Cayman who are dealing with infertility, is offering a price guarantee to Cayman clients.
It is offering a 15 per cent discount to anyone who finds a verifiable cheaper price from any competitor of the centre within the geographical area of any of its clinics in south east Florida.
Marcdo said medical staff at the centre deal with patients of all ages, although those patients are mostly in their late 30s or early 40s, as women are choosing to begin their families later in life.
The centre was founded in 1991 and has offices in several locations, including Miami-Dade, Broward, Collier and Palm Beach counties.
It caters for both male and female infertility. Among the programmes offered by the centre are in-vitro fertilisation or IVF, intracytoplasmic sperm injection, andrology, inseminations, natural IVF, low cost IVF, mini stimulation protocols, fertility preservation, egg freezing and donor programmes.
Almost one third of the clinic’s patients come from outside the United States. Out-of-the-country patients are offered reduced rate accommodations at local hotels.
In vitro fertilisation is a process by which egg cells are fertilised by sperm outside the body: In vitro. IVF is a major treatment in infertility when other methods of assisted reproductive technology have failed. The process involves hormonally controlling the ovulatory process, removing ova (eggs) from the woman’s ovaries and letting sperm fertilise them in a fluid medium. The fertilised egg (zygote) is then transferred to the patient’s uterus with the intent to establish a successful pregnancy. The first successful birth of a “test tube baby”, Louise Brown, occurred in 1978. Robert G. Edwards, the physiologist who developed the treatment, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2010.
The term in vitro, from the Latin root meaning in glass, is used, because early biological experiments involving cultivation of tissues outside the living organism from which they came, were carried out in glass containers such as beakers, test tubes, or petri dishes.
Today, the term in vitro is used to refer to any biological procedure that is performed outside the organism it would normally be occurring in, to distinguish it from an in vivo procedure, where the tissue remains inside the living organism within which it is normally found. A colloquial term for babies conceived as the result of IVF, “test tube babies”, refers to the tube-shaped containers of glass or plastic resin, called test tubes, that are commonly used in chemistry labs and biology labs. However, in vitro fertilisation is usually performed in the shallower containers called Petri dishes. One IVF method, Autologous Endometrial Coculture, is actually performed on organic material, but is still considered in vitro.