Overview & Ingenes
2016 Uterine Surgery
2016 Pregnant but miscarried
2017 Pregnant but miscarried
2018 4 IUIs - no success
2018 2 IVF transfers own eggs - no success
2019 1 IVF transfer with donor eggs - no success
2019 Ingenes donor eggs IVF at Ingenes - pregnant/blighted ovum
2020 Epic miscarriage - 2 ER visits & 2 D&Cs
2020 IVF transfer with donor eggs - pregnant
Due April 4th, 2021
Scheduled C-section planned at 37 weeks
“The longer you have to wait for something, the more you will appreciate it when it finally arrives. The harder you have to fight for something, the more priceless it will become once you achieve it. And the more pain you have to endure on your journey, the sweeter the arrival at your destination. All good things are worth waiting for and worth fighting for.” ~ Susan Gale
We have been trying to have our baby since 2016 and it feels surreal that he’s finally on his way. These five years have been long, and trying to have a baby has become a way of life. We feel so much gratitude to everyone who has helped us along the way! Doctors, nurses, work, family, and friends… all have been good to us.
Our journey started with Dr. Breen when I was referred to him for a dermoid cyst surgery in 2016. I had never been to an OBGYN before. The surgery ended up being more extensive than anticipated because of discovered fibroids and endometriosis, but Dr. Breen took care to preserve my ability to carry children. After I healed from this surgery, I got pregnant twice but both times miscarried. The first pregnancy was a blighted ovum and the second had a heartbeat but measured a week late. The prevailing theory was that these miscarriages were due to chromosome issues because of my age. Still, we felt confident that if we could just find that one good egg, success would be ours.
Time passed and we didn’t have any more positive results which was extremely stressful. After many months we went to a fertility center and learned that our best chance was IVF with donor eggs. The cost was something that we could never even consider and it was hard to process this information. We ended up opting for IUIs which, in hindsight, were a waste of time and money, but felt like the only door open to us. Four IUIs later we still had no success. We had used up all our savings and Jason had sold his motorcycle and scooter to help cover costs.
It seemed like we were at the end of our journey but somehow couldn’t let go. After many big feelings we started researching affordable IVF in different states and, in the process, discovered IVF in Mexico. Oh joy! What a game changer! We found a Facebook group dedicated to a doctor in Matamoros. The convenience of being located right at the border, as well as the seemingly affordable price, made us take out a loan to go see him.
I didn’t mind the inconveniences of this doctor’s clinic. The very long waits in his lobby, the limited time he spent with each patient, the somewhat rustic appearance of his office - all of it seemed worth it because we were going to get our baby. There were many women from all over the States there with me and we experienced a sort of camaraderie as we shared our excitement of finding this IVF option. We spent at least a year and over 10,000 dollars driving down to Matamoros for treatment. Many times I drove through the night to reduce the amount of time I was away from work; in hindsight, it was grueling.
After two IVF tries with my own eggs, and one attempt with donor eggs, after no transparency from the doctor and even a 7 hour wait in the waiting room without food or water before my last transfer, we were out of money and could not proceed further. Sadly so much was wasted in going to him.
One of my co-patients from the doctor in Matamoros had switched early on to a clinic in Monterrey called, Ingenes. She kept encouraging me to do the same but the change was daunting. Walking a few blocks across the border felt so much easier than driving a ways into Mexico. My work had already been incredibly generous with me and I wondered how I could request another round of IVF in a place that might be harder to get to. In addition, once again, the financial struggle loomed in front of us. We were still paying off the bank loan, had sold everything we could, and I was working a second job many nights to help cover the debt.
The burning drive to have our baby though was all consuming. I had a virtual appointment with Dr. Enrique Rodriguez, the director of Ingenes in Monterrey, and was so happy with what I learned. He was kind, knowledgeable, easy to talk to and relieved a lot of our stress. We decided that the only way we could borrow more money was if we availed ourselves of the live birth guarantee program that Ingenes offers. With a new loan from my mom, we paid 10,500 for four retrievals, multiple transfers, live birth guaranteed, or our money back. With this purchase, the happy part of our journey finally started!
Going to Monterrey was such fun! We took the bus down and enjoyed a lovely stay at a beautiful hotel in the old part of town. The houses with their brightly painted colors were just so attractive and we had delicious meals (including plenty from vegan restaurants!) throughout the city. We walked a lot and used Uber to get to the more distant locations. We visited an HEB just for fun, and took a day trip up to Santiago, a little mountain town that also hosts the fantastic Cola de Caballo Waterfalls. It really was a time of joy and we were thankful to have this opportunity to travel together.
Our very first embryo transfer at Ingenes, November 2019, resulted in pregnancy! After so many years of failed attempts, this felt incredible! Unfortunately, it also resulted in a blighted ovum which my body refused to recognize for the longest time. The blighted ovum was absolutely confirmed on December 26th, 2019 and my miscarriage only took place at the end of January 2020. While my other two miscarriages had been pretty textbook, this one was of epic proportions. I had terrible hemorrhaging that took me to the emergency room twice, I had to take Misoprostol which I would never wish on anyone, and finally had to have one emergency D&C followed by a second scheduled D&C in late February.
When the blighted ovum was diagnosed, Dr. Breen strongly encouraged me to meet with Dr. Winifred Mak at UT Health. Dr. Mak is a compassionate RE with extensive professional accomplishments; she specializes in early pregnancy loss. I went to her in the midst of my miscarrage and she took over from Dr Breen in seeing me through it. She also performed quite a few tests to try and diagnose our infertility issues. While most my tests came back negative, the endometrial biopsy she performed did indicate the presence of endometritis (not to be confused with endometriosis). Dr. Mak treated me with two weeks of Doxycycline, followed by a second endometrial biopsy to ensure that the treatment had worked.
Our next transfer at Ingenes took place in July of 2020; smack in the middle of the pandemic. After returning home I was waiting out the two weeks between my embryo transfer and pregnancy test, when I saw a mother deer and her two fawns, one nursing, right outside my kitchen window. Seeing such a beautiful sight brought me some measure of hope. Later that day a rainbow appeared in the sky and, with these two good omens, I could no longer resist a home pregnancy test. The result was positive. Theo was on his way!
Dr Mak followed me through 12 weeks with weekly scans to ensure that Baby was developing properly. She then referred me to Dr. Sheppard with Maternal Fetal Medicine at Seton and also graduated me back to Dr. Breen’s care.
While each doctor played a critical role in our success, and we truly love them all, Dr Breen has gone beyond his duty in supporting us. While not an RE himself, he always took part in my IVF treatment which wasn’t his responsibility. Dr Breen was the constant through these five years and, without his support, IVF abroad wouldn’t have been sustainable. All our doctors and nurses, since switching to Ingenes, have been outstanding - but we could never have come this far without Dr Breen’s help.
Part II ~ The Ingenes Experience!
Centro Empresarial Nuevo Sur Torre 1, Av. Revolución 2703, Ladrillera, 64830 Monterrey, N.L., Mexico
Ingenes is a fertility clinic that has several locations throughout Mexico. The Monterrey location is most convenient for Texans although, flying to the location in Mexico City, is certainly an option too.
The Monterrey clinic is located at Nuevo Sur and can be found on the 8th floor of a bank building. The building is most easily identified by approaching it from the outdoor escalators near the roundabout. When getting off the escalator, the bank building is just to your left. In order to access Ingenes, you enter the bank lobby where there is a log book for visitors to sign. A bank staff will then help you gain access to the elevators so that you can reach the 8th floor.
The Clinic is modern and as clean as can be with white tiled floors and bright white walls. There is a pharmacy, office spaces, private recovery rooms, and procedure rooms for retrievals/transfers. If I remember correctly, between all the doctors, embryologists, anesthesiologists, nurses, receptionists etc, there are around one hundred staff members.
The only hard part of going to Ingenes is making the initial contact, particularly if you do not speak Spanish. If you call the phone numbers you find on their website, you typically reach only Spanish speaking employees. I was able to find someone who spoke English but then they were not very responsive to my needs. You can bypass this by simply contacting Dr Enrique Rodriquez at his email address listed below.
Dr Enrique Rodriguez <email@example.com>
Dr. Enrique Rodriguez, Director of Ingenes, Monterrey, is a very knowledgeable, responsive, kind, professional and generous doctor. Each time we met him he patiently answered all our IVF questions, took extra steps such as a mock transfer to ensure an easy transfer later, helped us find interesting places to visit in and around Monterrey, and made our Ingenes experience one that was truly fun. His sense of humor is spot on and he even had me laughing through transfer which, as there have been studies proving the benefit of laughter immediately after transfer, gave me a sense of wellbeing and hope. From both a medical perspective and from one of comfort, we couldn’t have found ourselves in better hands. His responsiveness is not limited to our office visits as he is always prompt in answering the emails I send his way. Additionally, Dr Enrique welcomed interactions from my doctors in the US and was happy to collaborate with them.
Initial Video Consult
Ingenes requires a video consult over Zoom as your first step. I believe it costs around USD 50.00 and is well worth it. After contacting Dr. Enrique by email, he will help you arrange the telemedicine consult. This will help you determine if Ingenes is the right fit for you and you will be able to ask all the questions you might have. In turn, Dr. Enrique will ask you for basic health information, and will want to know about your past fertility journey etc.
Note: Always inquire if there are current or upcoming discounts available. I paid several thousand dollars less than their posted rate because of an anniversary discount.
There are a few different IVF packages which I honestly don’t completely understand. Also, the prices I’m quoting are now a few years old and may have changed.
You can purchase a single retrieval and transfer, with no guarantee, for around USD 1500.00.
Then there is the 3+ package. The 3+ is a guarantee program and the listed price is around USD 12,000. This includes 3 retrievals if needed, numerous transfers, and a 72 hour live birth guarantee or 95% of your money back.
The final package is 4+. Similar to the 3+ but offers 4 retrievals instead of 3 and is listed around USD 13,000.
We purchased the 4+ package after our video consult with Dr Enrique. The anniversary promotion of 10,500 was about to expire so we chose not to wait. After speaking to Dr Enrique on the video call, a member of the financial department came on the line and we arranged a time to complete the transaction. I paid by providing my card number over the phone. The only complication was that my card declined such a large amount and so Ingenes had to split the 10,500 and make it two charges.
Own Eggs Vs Donor Eggs
There is a very large difference in cost when using your own eggs vs donor eggs. Interestingly, it is cheaper to use donor eggs at Ingenes because the medications for the donor are included and all you need to purchase are the few medications for yourself such as progesterone, estradiol, and maybe a bit of prednisone, baby aspirin etc. This is obviously not a reason to choose donor eggs but it’s something to be aware of.
If using own eggs, the cost of medications for a single retrieval and transfer can run as high as USD 3500 - give or take several hundred depending on how your body responds.
ICSI is used for both own eggs and donor eggs at no additional cost.
Included in the cost are also the scans needed for retrieval and transfer.
A deal breaker for many people in using donor eggs at most clinics in Mexico is that the donors are anonymous. No photos are provided and the doctor chooses the donor for you. This suited us well but it’s not necessarily the right match for everyone. At Ingenes you fill out forms describing what is important to you in a donor - both physical features as well as hobbies, interests, etc. In addition, while Mexico has a diverse population in regard to physical attributes, skin/hair coloring etc, darker tones are predominant and easier to come by in donors. I am quite fair myself but am happy to have a child with different coloring than me. The birth of my baby is certainly going to be an interesting surprise! As a side note, I actually requested someone with black hair just because I love dark hair, and told Dr. Enrique that my main priority was a healthy baby.
If you want to freeze sperm it is about USD 300.00 to freeze three samples.
Medications are additional as well and, as mentioned above, if using your own eggs can be several thousand dollars.
PGS Testing is available for around USD 4000.00
If Karyotyping is required and is not covered by insurance in the US, it is available in Mexico for just a few hundred dollars. We did Karyotyping for my husband in Nuevo Laredo for USD 250.00
Santiago is a beautiful little town up in the mountains and one we visited pre-COVID. The buildings are all old and painted in lovely colors. The front of the houses were right up against the street but then they opened up to pretty walled in backyard gardens. The views of a nearby lake and surrounding mountains were outstanding and there is a significant temperature drop with the altitude. A little higher up the mountain from Santiago is the Cola de Caballo (horsetail waterfall) and such a lovely place to visit. To get to Santiago we rented a car and my husband drove us which was an adventure in itself!
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