Initial Consultation programme

Some of my patients visit St. Petersburg for an Initial Consultation before they return a few weeks or months later for their Embryo Transfer. The purpose of the Initial Consultation is to meet you in person, discuss your medical history and see the protocols/reports from your previous treatments/operations/examination, perform the necessary medical tests, create your individual Treatment Plan and discuss whether you prefer to choose your egg donor yourself from the detailed Data Base or you would like us to match a donor to you. On the same day, your partner can also provide sperm for freezing, if sperm freezing is advisable for you. If your partner’s sperm is frozen and stored, your second visit to St. Petersburg need only take five days instead of ten.

Initial Consultation programme

If you would like to come to St. Petersburg for an Initial Consultation to discuss all the issues around egg donation with me personally before the actual treatment starts, your programme is described below. It covers everything from your initial contact with us until the Embryo Transfer:

Your initial contact

Please complete the questionnaire.  We will contact you to ask some additional questions, to answer your questions too, as well as to arrange a convenient date for you to attend an Initial Consultation. You require only one day for this appointment, but I do not recommend flying in and out on the same day, in order to avoid any stress caused by a tight schedule, possible flight delays and traffic jams inside the city. I see that many patients choose a Monday or Friday appointment in order to enjoy a weekend stay in St. Petersburg.

Travel arrangements

Once the appointment date is confirmed, you need to arrange a visa, flights and hotel.

Analysing your medical history

After arriving in St. Petersburg, you will attend the Initial Consultation appointment where I will be happy to meet you personally. I strongly recommend that you bring to the Initial Consultation any relevant medical rnd_test results and reports about previous infertility treatments and/or operations. I will discuss with you your medical history in detail, which is very important to understand what can be optimised, in order to know what we can do better to achieve the desired result.

Additional diagnostic methods at the Initial Consultation

At the Initial Consultation I will perform an ultrasound (which is painless) to assess the condition of the uterus and the ovaries. If the information from your existing laboratory results is not sufficient or is too old, I may also recommend that you provide some samples of blood and/or semen for our laboratory to check. If a semen rnd_test is recommended, sperm collection can be done either at the clinic or at your hotel, using the sterile pot that we provide. We advise the male partner not to ejaculate (during sexual intercourse or through masturbation) for 2-5 days before producing his semen sample. The sperm needs to be kept at body temperature and to be brought to us within an hour after ejaculation. There are many hotels just a short walk away from the clinic, so you can usually produce the sperm in the privacy of your hotel room if you prefer. If the sperm is of sufficiently good quality, and you would like to reduce the duration of your next stay from 10 to 5 days, your semen sample can be frozen and used to fertilise your donor eggs on the day of egg collection.

Tests for IVF patients according Russian law

There are a certain number of tests that Russian law requires from all IVF patients, including egg donation recipients. If it is possible to complete your Embryo Transfer within 2 months of your Initial Consultation, all the tests can be done at our clinic and will remain valid. This way, you will not need to have any more tests done when you are back home. However, if your Embryo Transfer visit will take place more than 2 months after your Initial Consultation, some of the tests may be done at our clinic, but some must be performed again at home within 1 or 2 months of your Embryo Transfer. Alternatively, you may prefer to do all of them at your home country. Please check the costs of the tests required for egg recipients at the AVA-Peter web site

These are the tests that are required for the female partner (egg donation recipient):

  • Blood group
  • HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Lues (valid 3 months)
  • Clinical blood count (valid 1 month): RBC (red blood cells); WBC (white blood cells including count of their fractions: lymphocytes, neutrophils, basophils, eosinophils); haemoglobin
  • Biochemical parameters in blood: glucose, creatinine, bilirubine, ALAT, ASAT, general protein (valid 1 month)
  • Bacteriology smear (valid 1 month)
  • PAP smear (valid 1 year)
  • TSH Prolactin (valid 6 months)
  • A letter from a general practitioner from your home country about your state of general health and stating that there are no contraindications to pregnancy (valid 1 year).

The following tests will be required for the male partner (if the sperm of the partner is used): HIV, Hepatitis B and C, Lues (valid 3 months). 

How to choose your egg donor

Today we can offer you an opportunity to choose your donor yourself from the detailed Data Base of Egg donors or you can ask us to match a donor to you.

The detailed egg donor Data Base from IDEAS contains more than 120 ideas about each egg donor. It presents medical, genetic, social and psychological information about each egg donor as well as several photos in her age under 10. There are such big important aspects as description of the family tree and the motivation essay, but also many small and even “silly” questions, which all together create a very clear picture about the donor’s character, values, emotional and behavioral area. And of course the donor’s photos in the age under 10 complete the picture from both optical and emotional points of view. I am happy that within Russian legislation it is possible to present as much as possible information about an egg donor still leaving her identity untouched. You can see an example of such a donor profile here

If you would like to distance yourself from the process of the donor selection I am happy to match a donor to you the way I practice it since 2005. For our Matched Donor Programme we will use AVA-Peter’s Egg Donor Bank, which contains detailed optical, medical, social and psychological information about our egg donors, which remains medical secrecy. To the future recipient these egg donors have agreed to disclose only a limited amount of information: age, blood group, colours, height and weight, family situation, children, education, occupation, interests, character traits.

To ensure the right choice or match of the egg donor, I also recommend that you bring to the Initial Consultation several colour photographs of yourself and your partner (some taken recently and some when you were in your twenties or thirties). I suggest you ensure that these include two clear, reasonably large photos of your head and face (one of your profile and the other looking directly into the camera), plus another full-length photo of you standing.

We continue with the next treatment arrangement only after you have chosen your donor yourself from the data Base from IDEAS or have confirmed that you are happy with the donor we have matched to you.

It is important for the future physical and social well-being of your child and yourself that your egg donor is a good choice or match, in terms of physical, medical and social aspects. If the egg donor  chooosing [ How you can choose your donor yourself]or matching [ How we can match a donor to you] has been carried out with attention and care, your child will resemble you and/or your family very closely. This means that you will not be forced to tell your child about the circumstances of his or her conception because of the child having a different appearance to your family’s, but will instead have the option of telling or not telling.

Your individual Treatment Plan and prescription

Before you leave the clinic, you will receive your personal Treatment Plan which will include all the individual steps of your preparation for your Embryo Transfer. We can be flexible and always aim to fit treatment around your own schedule, so that your next visit to St. Petersburg takes place in the time frame most convenient for you.

We will also provide you with a prescription for the medications you need. Depending on which ones you can obtain in your own country, you may decide only to buy a certain number of these in St. Petersburg. You can purchase them all in a nearby pharmacy. None of the medications have to be kept chilled, so you can simply pack them carefully in your luggage. Please ensure that you keep your Treatment Plan in your hand luggage with you when passing Customs so that you can answer any questions about your medication easily, just by showing your Treatment Plan if necessary.

As soon as you have obtained all your medication, you will be ready to start treatment. Depending on your schedule and menstrual cycle (if still present), you may be able to start treatment within a few weeks of the Initial Consultation.

Sometimes, before starting your Embryo Transfer cycle we first need to treat general health or hormonal problems or problems within the uterus. In other cases it may take up to half a year to prepare the uterus of the recipient for pregnancy, if you have already been in the menopause for several years. My recommendations for treatment are always personalised according to your medical situation.

At home you follow the instructions on your Treatment Plan, which we discussed and wrote down for you during the Initial Consultation, in order to prepare for the Embryo Transfer. This usually involves taking hormone tablets, patches and pessaries and having 2 or more ultrasound examinations to evaluate your uterine lining. You need to ensure you have a doctor able and willing to do this, and you or your doctor will need to e-mail me the result of the scans either directly or via you.

Your Embryo Transfer visit: how long you need to stay

The dates of your second visit (for the Embryo Transfer) will already have been agreed and fixed at your Initial Consultation, and you will have received a detailed individual Treatment Plan. Please ensure you arrange a visa, flights and a hotel corresponding to these dates. We ensure that all the Egg Collection and the Embryo Transfer take place within the time frame agreed at the Initial Consultation.

Please read more about treatment itself here