Guest blog by Jennifer “Jay” Palumbo, a freelance writer, public speaker, infertility/women’s rights advocate, former stand-up comic, author of the blog, ‘The 2 Week Wait’, and proud IVF Mom.
On June 26th, Cayman Fertility Centre, a sister clinic to Barbados Fertility Clinic (BFC), celebrated their official grand opening in the Cayman Islands in an area known as “Health City”. Guests gathered to hear CFC’s Medical Director, Dr Joseph Davis, a US board certified Reproductive Endocrinologist welcome everyone, as well as provide a tour of the full-service state-of-the art fertility clinic. Before the ribbon cutting ceremony, the Ministry of Health, Dwayne Seymour, made a speech describing the impact the clinic would have on all who visited not just the medical team that worked there but on the island. “I know Dr. Davis, his team and our wonderful island will do amazing things and bring the gift of family and life to many,” he said.
What may or may not have been known to all the guests is the clinic had begun treating patients a few months earlier. We spoke to one patient, Abby, about her experience as she traveled to Cayman Fertility Centre from Saint Louis earlier in the month of June, and as one of the first patients to have her IVF cycle with Dr. Davis, we wanted to get her feedback.
Abby’s story is one that many can relate to. She got married when she was 26-years-old and started trying to conceive when she was 28 thinking they would get pregnant right away. When it didn’t happen within six months, Abby decided to be proactive and speak to her OB/Gyn about her concerns. Her doctor ran some blood work and discovered a slight hormonal imbalance they hoped to address with Clomid. Unfortunately, Abby did not respond well to the Clomid and she felt that both the medications, the hormones and the stress of infertility were becoming too much of an emotional strain that they decided to take a break.
Stress and its impact on fertility is a topic that is discussed often and something we, at Circle + Bloom try to offer support and resources for. We’ve seen how stress is compounded when we try to conceive month after month without positive results. It creates an emotional downward spiral that’s difficult to break. Recently, Thrive Global shared an article on this topic and how, stress can affect two important hormones, cortisol and progesterone, that are essential when it comes to both trying to conceive and a healthy pregnancy.
One of the reasons Dr. Davis left a busy New York clinic in the United States is he was attracted to the idea of creating a clinic you could go to where you could remove all external stress factors and increase your clinical care in an optimal environment can be beneficial for patients during fertility treatment.
This appeared to be exactly the case for Abby. Time had passed and it wasn’t until age 35 years old that her OB/GYN referred her to a fertility specialist (Note: the rule of thumb is if you’re a woman under the age of 35, and you have been trying to conceive for one year, OR if you’re a woman who is over 35 and you have been trying to conceive for six months, you should see a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) for a consultation.). At her local clinic, they had tried four cycles of intrauterine insemination (IUI) and Abby described the anxiety and stress of getting to these appointments; the traffic, coordinating hers and her husbands work schedules, etc. and then, her husband would typically have to leave after his sample was given to head to work while she would complete the IUI on her own. In addition, she wouldn’t know which doctor would be performing the procedure until they came into the room.
When she turned 38 years old and fertility treatment in the states had not been successful, they started looking at other options and that’s when they became acquainted with Cayman Fertility Centre.
Dawn, the IVF Nurse Manager, contacted them immediately and they had an initial phone call with Dr. Davis in January of this year where they discussed both their trip and trying IVF for the first time. Abby said the experience was the opposite of her IUI’s in the States as there was no traffic to worry about, her and her husband could be together for each appointment, they were able to go to restaurants, the beach and enjoy the island between monitoring appointments. Plus, she had one doctor and a dedicated medical team, so she knew exactly who was treating her and didn’t have to repeat her medical history over and over again.
At the time of the opening, Abby was in at the start of her “two-week wait” and we have learned that her cycle was successful. She is now pregnant and we couldn’t be more hopeful for her and her future pregnancy. What was encouraging was something Dr. David Stone, an OB/GYN at TrinCay Medical pointed out at the opening. Right after the ribbon was cut, Dr. Stone noticed a striking rainbow arching across the skies outside the clinic. This is what we wish this clinic to be: a sign of hope, peace and serenity for those who need it.
Jennifer “Jay” Palumbo is a freelance writer, public speaker, infertility/women’s rights advocate, former stand-up comic, author of the blog, ‘The 2 Week Wait’, and proud IVF Mom. Her articles have been featured on the Huffington Post, ScaryMommy, Time Magazine, Pregnantish (to name just a few) and as an infertility subject matter expert, she has been interviewed on news outlets such as CNN, NPR and BBC where she has demonstrated her ability to make even reproductive issues fun and educational. She also volunteers for various organizations including the Alliance for Fertility Preservation, Resolve, the National Infertility Association, March of Dimes and Gilda’s Club. You can follow her on Twitter at @the2weekwait or on Instagram at @jennjaypal.