“It is a privilege and an honor to treat our international patients,” says Russian-born and raised Elena Trukhacheva, MD, MSCI, Partner in Reproductive Medicine Institute (www.reproductivemedicineinstitute.com), a Chicago area based practice. “Our staff boasts a unique mix of different languages, cultures and ethnicities. That, along with specialized training in meeting the needs of out-of-town, or out-of-the-country, patients, makes our clinic a rather seamless choice.”
Patients seek treatment in the United States for a multitude of reasons. Often times, the laws of other countries prohibit or limit certain practices which may include Gestational Surrogacy or Gamete Donation. In many parts of Europe, restrictions are placed on the use of egg and sperm donors, severely limiting the choices for recipients. For example, the United Kingdom changed its anonymity laws for children born of egg or sperm donation; Germany and Norway ban egg donation; while Austria and Italy ban all egg and sperm donations for Invitro Fertilization (IVF). In addition, most European countries do not allow payment to a woman for carrying a pregnancy, a hardship which affects the number of willing participants.
State of the Art technology also draws patients from far and wide. “Our ability to screen patients for single gene disorders including Cystic Fibrosis, Thalassemia and types of cancers including BRCA 1 and 2 can be very reassuring for those who carry the mutation(s) or are already the parents of an affected child,” says Trukhacheva. “In that vein, we are also able to offer HLA Matching in combination with testing for single gene disorders. This is beneficial for many families who already have a sick child and want to add to their family, avoiding a genetic disease. There is also emerging data about 24 chromosome testing using array CGH technique to improve outcomes for patients with advanced maternal age and recurrent pregnancy loss.”
Team RMI works to help prospective visitors coordinate the details, not just of the medical procedures, but of travel arrangements as well. Leslie Anastos, one of our specialized clinical staff members, has a system in place for simplifying the process.
“We have designed our practice to accommodate patients ‘wherever’ they are,” says Leslie Anastos from the Downtown Chicago location of Reproductive Medicine Institute. “Patients call or email me (312-664-0305 /LAnastos@TeamRMI.com ) to coordinate scheduling either a phone consult or an in-person consult to start the process. Our practice also offers a wide range of multi- lingual personnel to help with communication. Our goal is to ensure that your travel time is decreased and your treatment time at our center is maximized.”
To that end, required pre-testing (Blood tests/ultrasounds), can be ordered and coordinated with a patient’s local physician (upon request) to reduce the amount of time spent in Chicago. In addition, medications can be ordered via patient’s local pharmacy, an online pharmacy or a local Chicago pharmacy. RMI will coordinate the ordering of all medications and pre-testing. Genetic Testing is also managed through the Team RMI office and staff, allowing patients to have one contact throughout their journey.
Most often, Team RMI assists international patients by coordinating In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with 3rd party reproduction (Gestational Hosts & oocyte donors), communicating with the patient’s respective agencies to coordinate all details of the IVF cycle for each party. For patients using a Gestational Host, the Intended Parents must make a minimum of one visit to Chicago (typically 3-4 days). Leslie Anastos and Team RMI will organize this visit based on a patient’s schedule and timing of the IVF cycle in order to efficiently achieve all required testing. For those using an oocyte donor, it is required that the Intended Parents make a minimum of one visit to Chicago (typically 7-10 days), specifically timed during the oocyte donor’s IVF stimulation cycle.
Genetic Testing is also managed through the Team RMI office and staff, allowing patients to have one contact throughout their journey.
“At first, it may seem as though there are a myriad of details,” says Anastos. “But, the truth is, that most patients spend some time talking and emailing me, and then the next thing we know, there’s a positive pregnancy test or a picture of the baby on our Facebook page!”