We left our house later than expected, racing along I-5 towards the border. Clutched in my lap were maps to two clinics in Tijuana. The first one Reproductive Medicine Institute was in El Centro and not far from San Ysidro border crossing. We immediately got lost and had to ask for directions. Eventually, we found ourselves 30 minutes late and nestled into the doctors office.
The place matched the pictures online, except for the name of the clinic. IMER was the name on the doctor’s card and this did make me feel a little bit suspicious. But the doctor, Dra. Sandra Orendain Talavera, seemed professional yet friendly. Her English was quite good and my husband’s Spanish filled in the gaps. She reviewed my tests, gave me a thorough ultrasound, and promptly recommended IVF. This time I was ready. I mean, we had come just for that reason.
After going over the procedure (roughly 20 days) and asking all of our many questions, we were then sent to the accountant’s office for the bill. The amount was expected ($7,000 with medication). We left trying not to make any rash judgements. I did feel myself become excited. So far the office was clean, the doctor seemed good, and the price was affordable. My husband wasn’t exactly sold, and this I left unspoken.
We decided to leave our car in the parking garage, instead of navigating Tijuana’s busy streets. We promptly hailed a cab (a white one, without a meter). We told him where we wanted to go and he quoted a price of 100 pesos. Of course, we were getting ripped off; but this is the way of traveling in a foreign land at first. The other clinic was located closer to all the big hotels in town and next to a fancy mall that looked made more for the night than for day shoppers.
The new clinic, inside the Hospital del Prado was busy. We were sent to the fourth floor and found ourselves in Centro de Fertilidad Del Prado. This clinic was smaller with less locals lining the waiting room, but there was the smell of fresh coffee and the smiling face of Alexandra, the receptionist. Within minutes I found myself being weighed by an efficient nurse who used a clipboard like a shield. Eventually, we were called into Dra. Elena’s office for a consultation. Her English skills were definitely much better than my Spanish skills, and she primarily communicated with Cristian in Spanish. In many ways this was positive (even though, I had a hard time following the conversation) because it really helped Cristian to understand the process. Up until the first doctor’s appointment, IVF seemed as something an alien uses to land on Earth.
Dra. Elena reviewed my lab tests and questioned the amount of sucrose in my blood. This piqued my interest, not in the least because diabetes was mentioned, but because perhaps she was really looking at my tests. I will have to be tested again. She gave me a short ultrasound, but she did take pictures to use later. I forgot to mention that in my previous appointment Dra. Talavera found 7 to 8 follicles and this really raised my hopes. This could mean the possibility of 8 eggs being harvested. The more eggs, the better chance at having quality embryos for transfer.
At the end of the consultation and IVF being the recommendation, Alexandra gave us a sheet all in Spanish listing the cost and what it included. Basically, the same as the first clinic, except they will include a FET transfer (without medication) if there are eggs leftover from the first cycle.
After the appointments, we left in a daze and walked towards the fancy mall. We quickly decided we wanted to eat like the locals and hailed another taxi. The taxi driver’s recommended the Mole House. Inside the Mole house, which was really a house complete with a piano in the corner, we were seated at a table for four, close to an older couple kissing.
The prices were average San Diego lunch prices and we hoped for a delicious offering. We then compared the clinics. Fortunately, both seemed like decent options. Unfortunately, this made the choice harder. The first one is a part of RedLara and the doctor gave a thorough ultrasound. And all the information was in English. The second clinic had more of a down-to-earth atmosphere and the doctor really seemed smart and analytical.
We have a tough choice.
Once we navigated the border, which brought to life all the NPR specials I had heard of long waits, vendors, and disabled people, we made it back to the U.S., marveling at how we had just navigated a foreign country less than an hour before. To our surprise Tijuana wasn’t a scary border town with renegade thieves trying to steal our goods, but a city alive with real people. In fact, we made a grave error by leaving our car past closing time in the parking garage and the owner waited for us to return. He even had gone to the clinic looking for us. Upon parking we had asked him for directions, so he knew where to possibly find us. His thoughtfulness was touching and one positive sign for the first clinic.
After a restless nights sleep, we decided to visit one more clinic in the San Diego area. HRC Fertility in Oceanside. http://www.havingbabies.com I had written this clinic off because of the distance, but now if I’m contemplating going to Tijuana, Oceanside seems close. Also the prices listed are half of the other clinics. Yet, this makes me leery because there is always more not included. Regardless, I’m going to pay the $315 consultation fee, just to make sure that Mexico is the way to go. I think this will put any lingering doubts at bay.
So, by the end of the week, we should have come to a conclusion.