Causes & Treatment

A fertility clinic’s 9-5: why Spain’s IVF is top-drawer right now

Jessie Day  |   11 Aug 2022

7AM – coffee, patient co-ordination & the Tambre experience

I flew in to Madrid from (a very hot) London last night. So the first thing I appreciate (and there are many) about Clínica Tambre is its beautiful – not to mention cool, calm and collected – reception and waiting areas. Everything is considered, from the interiors to the garden relaxation area and precision-led, careful patient coordination. 

So, morning espresso in-hand, that’s where we start. What does the patient experience look like in Spain’s top clinics right now? Tambre’s Head of Patient Care, María Vázquez, sets the bar:

clinica tambre eloise visiting

Being there for international patients 

We know how complicated fertility travel can be. My team’s aim is to make it seamless – between us we speak multiple languages (including Spanish, English, French, Italian, German, Dutch and Arabic), which certainly helps!

You’re away from your own country, and it’s easy to feel out of control. This is especially true when dealing with a fertility struggle, so we assign a co-ordinator for every patient, putting your unique situation at the heart of your care plan. We also team with carefully-selected partners back in your home country, to coordinate tests, scans and medication requirements closer to home, if you need it.

Your journey so far – we want to hear it

The first touch-point in our patient experience is getting to know you – as an individual, a couple or both – and running through how we work, at Clínica Tambre. We’ll go through what you’ve done so far – any previous fertility treatments etc – and your personal situation, helping to build a relationship between you and your co-ordinator.

The first appointment

This will be with one of our doctors. And it can be either here in the clinic, or online (this is very popular with our international patients). Your co-ordinator will be able to explain almost everything, but a doctor jumps on board at this point to talk testing, procedures, medications and what your care plan might look like.

Empathy, honesty and hand-in-hand coordination 

Your coordinator will be at your side, throughout your journey with Clínica Tambre. For us, supporting patients with empathy, transparency and meticulously organised coordination is the number one priority. You are an individual, with a unique story and your treatment should always reflect this.

8AM – doctor chats & treatment overview

Coordination done, we step down the softly-lit hall to chat through a quick Q&A with Dr. Marbán (or another of Clínica Tambre’s experienced fertility specialists).

Q: What happens during my appointments?

Your patient journey will usually work around two clinic visits. The first focuses on building a personal case study, and medical history, which we’ll use to create a tailor-made treatment plan. The second visit is all about egg retrieval and/or embryo transfer.

Q: Could you outline the treatment process, from start-to-finish?

Of course! We work around these five key steps:

  • First contact – your coordinator runs through possible treatment options and confirms your first consultation date
  • First visit (1 day) – an in-person or online consultation with one of our fertility specialists, diagnosis and treatment planning and any necessary testing arrangements
  • Start treatment (at home) – your team will guide you through this process, with continuous direct contact
  • Second visit (1-9 days) – we’ll transfer the highest qualified embryo
  • Results (back home) – 10 days after transfer, we’ll help you complete a pregnancy test

After your pregnancy test (and whatever the result), aftercare is very important. If your result is negative, your coordinator will arrange a next steps consultation with your doctor, whenever you’re ready. And if it’s negative, we’ll provide ongoing support until week 12 in your pregnancy.

How long will I be in Spain?

We appreciate how difficult this journey can be, especially for international patients. We’re really flexible, and many of our patients undergo almost all of their treatment (blood tests, scans etc) in their own country. They just come to Spain for the embryo transfer, and – if they like – that first consultation.

What happens in the first consult?

This is a medical consultation, so we’ll perform a scan, checking follicles, uterus, endometrial lining, and we may do certain routine tests, such as a smear test and blood tests. We’ll also collect any sperm samples at this point, and do a DNA fragmentation test, if needed.

What day do you transfer?

We always do our embryo transfers on Day 5. This is most popular with our patients, but it also follows the current medical research, showing better success rates. We also go for single transfers, wherever possible. 

clinica tambre treatment process IVF

Any do’s or don’ts after embryo transfer? 

Sure! I always advise:

  • Following your medical team’s instructions. For example, keeping your medication exactly as instructed
  • Resting for two or three days – you don’t have to stay in bed, but we recommend no heavy lifting, taking it easy etc
  • Other than this, we say live your normal life – it’s almost impossible not to fixate on the transfer, but give yourself a break where you can!

10AM – my ultrasound scan, with Dr. Marbán

Next up, Dr. Marbán performs the same scan patients will undergo in their first consultation. We’ll be checking how many follicles I have, where I am in my cycle and what’s going on in my uterus right now. 

I know from experience how tricky a scan can be. But the Clínica Tambre experience is really something else. Think soft glow, low lighting and a totally serene space. 

Watch the video for how it all went.

clinica tambre waiting room

12.30PM – waiting room (of dreams) tour

Scan done. I’ve just got time for a quick tour of Clínica Tambre’s (frankly gorgeous) indoor waiting area spaces – there’s a garden space too, but more on that later. 

From colour palette (soft greys, blush pinks, marble and natural wood) to warm lighting, nice music (no whale music here – just unobtrusive, upbeat and calm, much like Tambre) and discreet, nook-like spaces, it sets the bar high for IVF patient experience in Europe right now. 

clinica tambre egg donation process

2.30PM – the donor selection programme, explained

A key part of the egg donation process is, of course, the donor selection programme. Tambre get started on this as soon as your initial treatment confirmation. Dr. Marbán takes me through how it works, here are my quick notes, ahead of an afternoon in the lab:

Clínica Tambre works through three levels of screening to select both male and female donors: 

Donor screening level 1 

  • Interview + initial screening with the Nursing Department 
  • General physical evaluation + blood test

Donor screening level 2

  • Expert psychological evaluation
  • Mental health assessment + screening for personality disorders
  • Semi-structured interview and specific tests

Donor screening level 3

  • Medical consultation with the Head of Tambre’s Donor Department 
  • Female donor procedures include: speculum evaluation, vaginal ultrasound, mammary exploration and blood test 
  • Male donor procedures include semen analysis and blood test

The blood test at this stage screens for the following + more: 

  • General blood analysis
  • G6PDH
  • AMH, where necessary
  • Serology for specific conditions 

There’s also a vaginal swab, and further tests for male donors. 

3.30PM – inside the embryology lab + meeting GeriⓇ

A world-class team. State of the art facilities. The latest technology, for optimised embryo selection, and transfer. Plus, a GeriⓇ Incubator. 

I’ll quit talking now, let you watch the videos, and check out the embryology team at work. But as an IVF mum who’s used to seeing my developing embryos by photo, I have to talk about the GeriⓇ. This award-winning time lapse incubator really is the ultimate in embryology, and has revolutionised culture practises across the globe. 

geri embryo development clinica tambre

Clínica Tambre’s GeriⓇ is designed to: 

  • Incubate fertilised eggs into embryos, pre-transfer
  • Create an individualised, undisturbed incubation space, recreating the maternal uterus environment
  • Integrate with an embryo monitoring system, capturing the critical developmental stages in real-time 

Seeing is believing, and I feel so privileged to have seen GeriⓇ in action at Clínica Tambre. Hopefully more clinics around the world will follow suit with this kind of technology, for times when real-time progress is an exceptional comfort.

5.30PM – chilling in the garden

Heat of the day whiled away in the cool embryology lab, I head out to Tambre’s outdoor rest and relaxation garden space. Already blown away by so much I’ve seen, this was the most perfect wind-down. The garden is open all year round (with outdoor heaters and blankets for the cooler months), and an oasis of greenery in Madrid’s hustling nature. 

clinica tambre roof terrace

I could stay here for hours, manifesting the leafy greenery, perfect blue sky, dusk-pink fabrics and soft early-evening lighting into TRB HQ back in London. But my airport transfer has arrived, and it’s back to writing up my Clínica Tambre experience, and why it’s absolutely a contender for best IVF clinic in Spain, right now. 

Connect with Clínica Tambre for exceptional support, today. 

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