Coming to GENNET from Ireland – usefull tips from our irish patient
We thank very much to our dear patient from Ireland who agreed to give us an interview about the whole process of IVF treatment, planning the stay in Prague and coming to our clinic. We are happy for her kind words, for choosing our clinic and giving us an opportunity to help her on her way to become mother. ♥
- Why did you decide to undergo IVF treatment abroad? Why did you choose GENNET?
I decided to do IVF abroad because the waiting lists in Dublin were so long. I wanted to do PGTA and only a couple of clinics do it in Ireland, so to get into them was going to take months. The clinic I was looking at in Ireland send the information to the Czech Republic to be tested too so the PGTA testing isn’t even completed in Ireland.
I had recurrent miscarriages and I went to Bloodworks in Dublin a lot for bloods throughout my pregnancies and fertility journey. When I mentioned that PGTA was the next step to Linda in Bloodworks she advised that I look into GENNET in Prague. She mentioned that she often sends them blood results and hears back from them in a matter of hours. Initially, I thought it was not for me because I thought you would have to travel to Prague for weeks and didn’t understand why people would go abroad however, when I went home and googled it my perspective changed.
You only really need to travel for a week. I probably would have travelled for less but for covid and the fear of failing a PCR test and not being able to fly. You start stimulation in Ireland and you go for scans in RepoScan in Ireland. They are affiliated with GENNET so reports are sent directly to Prague within an hour. Because of covid, and the need to complete a PCR test prior to flying, I went to Prague for my second scan on cycle day 10. It is advised that you complete this scan in Prague anyway.
Cost is usually a big factor for people and I saved approximately €4k by going to GENNET (even considering a return trip for a transfer as embryos are frozen for PGTA), however for me, it came down to efficiency, time and no waiting lists for IVF.
- What are the biggest differences between IVF treatment in Ireland and in the Czech Republic?
For starters, my husband was allowed into the clinic. As mentioned, I had recurrent miscarriages and the first scan he attended was a stimulation scan in GENNET.
We couldn’t believe the efficiency. Once I contacted GENNET I had an appointment with a doctor in just over a week.
In Prague, on our first appointment, we met our coordinator. Having a good coordinator is key and ours was brilliant. Veronika was her name. We didn’t even get a chance to open the magazines and she was in front of us introducing herself! We met the doctor, got bloods taken, gave a urine sample, had a scan and meeting with the nurse to go through trigger injections and were out in 45 minutes. Everything seemed so dragged out in Ireland in comparison.
There are different doctors with different specialities, so you feel like you’re getting the best care when you have an appointment about genetics and immunology.
The coordinator always responds and always answers any little question you have about the process. She sent us information from the Czech Republic covid site so we could check the map and make sure Ireland stayed low risk. The information pack about the IVF stimulation itself was so detailed. The day I got my period and needed to start stimulation was a Saturday and another coordinator responded to me within 30 minutes to give me details about when to take the drugs and what day to book my first appointment for.
Cost is a factor too. It is worth considering IVF fails a lot of the time and disappointment is inevitable at some point in the journey. There is so many stages to get through before you have a live birth. This is compounded when the cost is also high. Therefore, if it is costing you half the amount to do it in a different country, why not? In addition, I found not working in between appointments and scans refreshing and stress free.
- Is there something what surprised you on treatment in the Czech Republic?
The fact that you only need to travel for egg retrieval and embryo transfer surprised me. I didn’t realize that the relationship between the scan centres in Ireland and GENNET existed. When I got my scans done in Ireland they were very efficient and the sonographers personally knew the doctors etc as they had travelled to Prague to meet the team in GENNET previously.
I had read before we travelled that GENNET organise pre-op exams with a GP in Prague. That happened to be right by our hotel and was included in the price. It was good to get general bloods and ECG completed generally.
- How difficult it was to travel from Ireland to the Czech Republic during Covid-19 pandemic?
I organised everything myself. Some people organise their trip through coordinators in Ireland however, I liked putting the trip together and felt it took my mind off the IVF itself. I travelled for a week, although I could have travelled for less. I was in Prague for 3 days, had my second scan on day 4 (first scan was completed in Ireland on the day of travel), egg retrieval 2 days later and home a day after egg retrieval. So, I probably didn’t need to be there for the first 3 days, however, as mentioned I wanted to complete my PCR test as soon as possible and be in Prague ready to go. We learned what covid tests needed to be completed prior to travel in both countries, completed the relevant locator forms and apart from that it was no difference between that trip and any other travel I had done.
My husband rang our coordinator before our egg retrieval to see if she could advise on where to get a PCR test for coming home. Not only did she book us in for the test but it was also paid for as part of our IVF treatment.
Nothing to do with IVF but in Prague everything was open – restaurants, shops, open top buses. It was such a treat to eat out and stay in a hotel (which wasn’t available in Ireland at the time we travelled). The clinic is extremely central, and Prague is beautiful.
We stayed in a 5 star hotel, in the centre of Prague and it was very cheap. I wouldn't say you need to stay right beside GENNET but our hotel was approximately an 8 minute walk. If you're staying anywhere in the old town or the main street in the new town you will be within walking distance of GENNET. We were very torn between booking an Airbnb or a hotel - because I don't like needing to eat out 3 times a day everyday for a week but there was a nice pool and spa in our hotel and they put us in a huge room. There is also so many nice cafes in Prague where you can get simple breakfasts like eggs or granola and salads at lunch. We didn't have a bad meal over there and there's a lot of Italian restaurants, which is always a good fail safe for dinners.
- Was it difficult to arrange medication and scans in Ireland?
I would say medication is the only thing that caused me the only bit of hassle and that’s because of the HSE in Ireland.
To get IVF prescriptions you need a “high tech” prescription in Ireland. These need to be signed off by a consultant in Ireland. These are required so that you can avail of the drugs payment scheme and the cost of the medication is capped. You can get prescriptions fulfilled that are prescribed from another EU country in Ireland however, for high tech meds such as IVF drugs, you need a high-tech prescription.
Thankfully, I read a from a few forums that Medipharm in Dundrum are helpful. They arrange the high-tech form for you with the HSE. They require the original prescription from Prague and the same prescription rewritten by a doctor in Ireland. My doctor wouldn’t rewrite it for me due to insurance reasons but I managed to get it re-written from the Irish clinic (they don’t do PGTA so were aware I needed to move elsewhere). Getting that second prescription in Ireland was the only “hassle” per se and I would recommend talking to your doctor as soon as you consider Prague to see if they will re-write it. In addition, my coordinator sent the originals by DHL for a cost of €40. They arrived the next day. When you google it you can see which doctors will re-write the prescriptions for you therefore, if you know sooner you can become a patient of theirs in advance.
You start stimulation in Ireland, and you go for scans in RepoScan in Ireland for €100 each. They are affiliated with GENNET so reports are sent directly to Prague within an hour. I didn’t realize that the relationship between the scan centres in Ireland and GENNET existed. When I got my scans done in Ireland, they were very efficient and personally knew the doctors etc as the sonographers had travelled to Prague to meet the team in GENNET previously. My cycles are very regular, so I knew when my scans were required and booked them in advance to ensure I got a morning appointment that suited me workwise on the right day. GENNET need the reports by 1pm. You can cancel them if you give 24hours notice at a cost of €50. In addition, there are other private scan centres in Ireland (e.g. Ultrasound Ireland) and I found between the two Ultrasound centres and the two Reposcan centres in Dublin I was well covered for any days I needed scans.
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