Tuesday 22 October, 2019

Seeing Double – Barbados Fertility Centre hits 2000 and 2001 at once

Meet the Merritts - Isla and Wells.

Meet the Merritts - Isla and Wells.

All’s Wells that ends Wells!

Unless you’re Isla, of course.

Have no clue what we’re talking about? Well, Wells is the 2000th baby to be born into the Barbados Fertility Centre (BFC) family and Isla is his twin sister.

What’s better than one bundle of joy? Two? Maybe, maybe not. But what is a fact is that two babies require double the amount of everything, especially love and care.

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And for a couple who may have had problems conceiving, learning that not one but two children are on the way after a successful round of in vitro fertilization (IVF), the news is sweet times two.

Loop sat and chatted with a member of the Barbados Fertility Centre, Marketing Director, Ralph Hosford about reaching the milestone of 2000 babies.

He said:

“We are absolutely elated to celebrate this huge milestone with the Merritts. To walk the fertility road with a couple and to see their success is something that we never tire being a part of! From our small office in Bay Street to now having the next generation all over the globe - it truly is a humbling reward.”

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So for those who may not know how or when the clinic started with baby number one. We dug and went back to the beginning. With a broad smile, he said, “The first baby is a little boy born right here on the island in October 2003.”

Two thousand and one babies later, Loop asked how has the perception of IVF changed, as some people still seem skeptical. “IVF treatment has been around since the 1970’s so the treatment itself wasn’t that surprising. Some people may have thought that the market here may not have been big enough but the internet has had a huge effect on our business. Eighty-eight per cent (88%) of our patients do not reside in Barbados. They come through Grantley Adams International Airport to avail of our success rates. We are seeing growing numbers year on year from the USA and Canada as the word continues to spread. BFC is the only JCI accredited IVF center in the Caribbean and with this gold seal of approval, we operate on a global platform assuring patients of the best medical practices and safety standards,” Hosford said.

With many people having gotten a little taste of IVF from the popular show Being Mary Jane and then some locally seeing a snippet from Barbadian Tracy Fowler’s experience, Loop asked Hosford if some people still think that IVF is only an option for a certain type of person with a certain level of income?

He replied, “IVF is not an inexpensive medical treatment. It takes a whole team of people and an enormous amount of very specific technology to give our patients the best chance of success. Embedded in our mission statement is our ethos, to give couples the very best chance at having a family. We do everything we can to make their dreams come true. For our team even 0.1 per cent increase in success is a baby for one of our couples.

“We haven’t raised our prices for Barbadian or CARICOM patients in 10 years and understand that for a lot of people, this is a huge expense. But we have heard time and time again directly from our patients, that investing in their legacy is the best investment they have ever made with uncountable rewards.”

Blown away by the large number of success stories we asked him to tell us about a "miracle" story from the Centre. “Wow! There is almost too many to tell! But here is what we know 16 years on. For some couples the path to conceiving is a straight one and for others the road takes different twists and turns. The key is not to give up hope. When couples place the trust of their dreams in our hands we take this responsibility seriously and every member of the team is committed to making their dream of having a family become a reality. Every time a BFC baby is born it is a miracle. Every time we help a patient become a parent - miracles occur.”

So how did the Merritts feel knowing their bundle of joy is the 2000th one for the Centre? He said, “I think they were just as excited as we were!”

Hosford added, “We become family during this process and to know there is such a special number attached to them was cause for even greater celebration. The couple like all those who come to BFC know first-hand what it is to struggle to conceive and when we shared with them this landmark they were thrilled.  

“In a few years when they come to visit with Wells (2000th) and Isla (2001st) from Kansas, we will have a very special place on the Wall of Hope for them!” 

As we explore the lives of some twins, in ‘Seeing Double’, you’ll probably learn that there is more to being a twin than matching clothes, and sometimes the start and journey are totally opposite even for an identical pair.

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