The Scoop: Barbados Fertility Centre has set up a clinic in a tropical paradise to encourage singles and couples to relax and enjoy themselves even as they undergo fertility treatment. The doctors create a personalized healthcare plan for an affordable, upfront cost and arrange a treatment schedule that includes plenty of downtime by the pool or on the beach. Couples who want to expand their relationship and family have increasingly turned to Barbados Fertility Center to cut the costs of their IVF treatment or egg freezing and book a tropical vacation at the same time.
Russ and Sasha’s love story is truly an international affair. The married couple started their relationship in North Carolina, moved to Sasha’s home country of Trinidad three years later, and conceived their first child at a patient-focused fertility center in Barbados.
Sasha said they had been married for five years and had been struggling to get pregnant naturally when Sasha’s friends suggested she look into Barbados Fertility Centre. The friendly staff members and white sandy beaches sold the couple, and they signed up for IVF treatments in a tropical getaway.
Russ and Sasha stayed in Barbados for a total of 10 days. They had three morning appointments at the Barbados Fertility Centre’s clinic, and the rest of the time was theirs to spend swimming with turtles, taking a trip on a submarine, and relaxing together on the beach. The vacation setting helped the couple take a breather from the stress of trying to get pregnant.
“It’s like the best vacation you’ve ever had,” Sasha said. “There were days when we were on the beach, and I wasn’t even thinking about the embryologist calling.”
Sasha and Russ left Barbados feeling rejuvenated — and expecting their first child. Theirs is one of the thousands of Barbados Fertility Centre success stories.
Dr. Juliet Skinner and Anna Hosford founded Barbados Fertility Centre in 2002 when medical tourism was just beginning to get on people’s radar. They envisioned a facility that could offer singles and couples an affordable and low-stress option on their fertility journey. They worked with medical professionals in the Caribbean and the U.K. to turn their vision into a reality.
“The original idea was that couples could go on these romantic flights to Barbados and come back pregnant,” said Ralph Hosford, Marketing Director at Barbados Fertility Centre. “A lot of couples treat it as a second honeymoon or a babymoon — for many of them, it’s their last romantic getaway before pregnancy.”
Personalized Medical Care in a Tropical Paradise
Over the years, Barbados Fertility Centre has welcomed patients from 49 countries. Some are frustrated by the impersonal medical care or long waiting lists at home, some are looking for affordable care options, and some are just enamored with the idea of going on a vacation while receiving fertility treatment.
Americans currently make up about half of its patients. Ralph told us the fertility center has seen a dramatic increase in the number of Americans (particularly in New York, Florida, and California) inquiring after its services in the last three years, and he said most of that growth comes from former patients telling their friends about their experience.
Singles and couples can reach out to Barbados Fertility Centre via Facebook, Instagram, email, or online contact form to find out more about the treatment process. All potential patients are assigned a coordinator who works with them from start to finish.
Barbados Fertility Centre treats all patients as people, not simply as a number in a file. Its medical team maps out a personalized fertility treatment program based on the patient’s particular situation and goals. Its fertility experts can provide sound counsel based on years of experience.
The on-boarding process includes a free 45-minute consultation with a doctor. If a couple likes what they hear, they can make a deposit and get flights to Barbados for their multi-day treatment.
The beauty of getting IVF treatment at Barbados Fertility Centre is that couples only have four appointments at the clinic, and the rest of their time can be spent relaxing by the beach, getting a massage, and enjoying a tropical vacation. It’s a great way to unwind and strengthen their relationship as they work on building a family.
“By the last day, they’ve got sand on their feet, and they’re suntanned,” Ralph said. “It really makes a difference to us — and to them — that we are on a paradise island. They come for a vacation, and we throw in hopefully successful treatment at the same time.”
Americans Now Enjoy a Three-Week COVID-Free Vacation
The U.S. healthcare system is notoriously complex, confusing, and costly, so it makes sense that many Americans are seeking more affordable services in other countries. Ralph said that Barbados Fertility Centre can often cut the cost of IVF treatment in half for couples — even when you include airfare.
In March 2019, Barbados Fertility Centre’s team opened a second clinic in the Cayman Islands just to meet the demand from the U.S.
Even during a global pandemic, business has continued to thrive at Barbados Fertility Centre. “We had the luxury of being on a small island where they could control the borders and get the virus under control,” Ralph said. “So, it’s actually increased our appeal to the U.S. market because we are COVID-free.”
Barbados went under a serious lockdown for two months during the spring of 2020 to get its community spread under control. The beaches were closed. Airlines shut down operations. And citizens were asked to only go out to get groceries. The clinic could not welcome international patients during this time, but now it is back to its normal operations — just with an added week of quarantine for some people.
When Barbados opened its airports in July, it did so with the caveat that travelers from the U.S., Brazil, India, and other high-risk countries quarantine themselves for a week after their arrival.
“We were worried the quarantine policy would deter Americans, but a lot of people quite like it,” Ralph said. “Over the last few months, about 80% of our patients have been Americans who are working from home anyway and figure they may as well work from home in Barbados.”
Many American couples don’t see the added week in quarantine as a downside because it’s one more week in paradise. One more week away from the virus and social distancing restrictions.
American couples can get away from their everyday worries by visiting Barbados for a three-week trip that includes a restful quarantine, a virus-free vacation, and fertility treatment. It’s a win-win-win as far as Barbados Fertility Centre’s current patients are concerned.
“We want people to come, enjoy a stress-free holiday, and hopefully get pregnant at the end of it,” Ralph said. “We take it very seriously, and we are heavily invested in our patients.”
Overwhelmingly Positive Reviews Speak to Its Success
Barbados Fertility Centre provides heartfelt and sincere services to singles and couples of reproductive age. The staff gives emotional and medical support to all patients on their fertility journey because, as Ralph said, “that extra 1% of effort could be a baby.”
Since its establishment in 2002, Barbados Fertility Centre has seen over 2,400 babies born — and counting. Its testimonials page is full of heartwarming stories and encouraging words for anyone hoping to start a family.
“I am thankful for this process because without it I wouldn’t have stumbled across my strength,” said a single woman who froze her eggs at Barbados Fertility Centre. “I know my future babies are in great hands.”
Nick and Cristal spent over 10 years struggling to conceive a child. Then they came to Barbados Fertility Centre, went through IVF treatments, and had twins. “My heart is so filled I can’t believe it,” Cristal said after the birth of her little boy and girl. “I can’t thank you all enough! I find myself sitting and crying for no reason just looking at them.”
“You can relax. You can enjoy a vacation. You can enjoy each other,” said Sasha and Russ, whose relationship and family have flourished since their stay in Barbados. “It’s nice to be able to have a moment to forget about the fertility struggle and just enjoy each other.”
Some couples said they thought Barbados Fertility Centre sounded too good to be true, but then they stepped in the doors, received the welcome packet, and realized it was very real and could be successful.
Barbados Fertility Centre makes sure to share a lot of the stories, reviews, and thank-you cards from its patients because those words can help someone feel safe and optimistic about scheduling fertility treatment abroad.
“Our patients are eager to spread the word,” Ralph said. “When they find us, they feel like ‘I have to tell everybody about this.’ They want people who are struggling like they were to know there is a better option.”
Barbados Fertility Centre: A Low-Stress Way to Get Pregnant
Singles and couples from all over the world have turned to Barbados Fertility Centre for assistance on their fertility journey. Couples like Russ and Sasha are often wowed by the treatment’s affordable pricing, romantic setting, and supportive staff — and they have even greater cause for celebration when they return home pregnant.
Whether it’s providing IVF treatment to a couple or freezing a single person’s eggs, Barbados Fertility Centre aims to make the process as easy as possible on the patient.
Even as the Barbados Fertility Centre grows, the team makes an effort to build relationships with patients and retain that personal touch that has made them so popular in the first place. That’s why the team has placed a cap on how many patients it takes on every month at its two facilities in the Caribbean.
“Our patients appreciate that our staff members know who they are and make them feel welcomed and supported as they go through treatment,” Ralph said. “We don’t want to add to their stress — we just want to make it easier.”