Having difficulties having a baby? Worry no more. IVF or in vitro fertilization is now accessible to couples that aren’t lucky to have a baby immediately when they decide to have a family.
I met recently the father and daughter tandem behind Victory A.R.T. Laboratory Phils Inc. (VALPI), Doctors Gregorio Pastorfide, an OB-GYN and pioneer of IVF in the Philippines, and Gia, reproductive endocrinology and infertility specialist, over lunch in Makati.
Dr. Pastorfide said Victory A.R.T Laboratory Phils Inc. is part of the Hong Kong-based Victory Group of A.R.T. Laboratories.
“It is the pioneer IVF laboratory in the Philippines,” he emphasized.
Dr. Pastorfide, if you’re unfamiliar with the name is a renowned and internationally acclaimed OB-GYN.
VALPI, he said, continues to assist and provide infertility solutions using state-of-the-art equipment and an ever growing and adapting medical team in the last decade.
Dr. Pastorfide said that infertility is nothing new among married women in the Philippines. “You are familiar with how some couples try to cope with it. Some do the traditional sayaw sa Obando, others who find it impossible to conceive a baby resort to adoption.”
The doctor added, “Now you can try having one with the help of Assisted Reproductive Technologies or ART. It has been around the last decade or so, but not very many know about it.
Located in the heart of Makati City, VALPI together with its experienced and customer-oriented staff, provide trying couples a chance to conceive their parenting dreams into reality.
Victory Group of Laboratories traces its roots in Central Hong Kong. It was established in 1998. Victory Central HK is a leading IVF facility in Asia with over 1200 cycles a year.
A few years later, Victory Group expanded to its second branch in Makati, the Philippines and is one of the pioneer laboratories in the country with over 250 IVF cycles.
To date, Victory Philippines offers a decade of solid and innovative ART and genuine patient service.
Following the demand for IVF centers, another branch was opened in Malaysia. A growing number of patients go to Victory JB Malaysia for egg and sperm donation programs.
The recent addition to the family is Victory Kowloon in Hong Kong.
But Filipino women who have infertility problems need not travel outside of the country. “We are right where you need our assistance and care,” emphasized Dr. Pastorfide.
“Victory is committed to provide state-of-the-art fertility treatment in an empathic and caring environment. Our goal is one with our patients, from conception, to the delivery of a healthy baby,” he said.
“Our staff includes highly trained and dedicated reproductive specialists, embryologists, fertility nurses who understand the challenges that each patient undergoes.”
The laboratory plays a critical role in the success of infertility treatment. “We, at Victory, implement a gold-laboratory standard. Investing in technologies necessary to maintain a clean room environment, and strict sterile practices from garment to equipment used for culture,” shared Dr. Pastorfide.
We asked the doctor who were his high-profile patients. But, the doctor insisted that he couldn’t divulge them as he is bound by doctor-patient confidentiality clause.
“Fertility treatment is highly sensitive and complex, thus, we value our patient’s right to privacy. All records involving patient’s case is stored in our database and handled in a strict confidential manner. We respect the moral and ethical beliefs of our patients thus, we treat each egg, sperm and embryos according to consent,” the doctor explained.
The “Natural Method” relies on the woman’s ability to produce her own egg, which leads to the natural production of the female hormone estrogen vital for building up the endometrial lining necessary for implantation. For women who do not produce egg naturally, as with Polycystic Ovaries (PCO), a small dose of stimulatory hormones may be required.
“Artificial Method” is reserved for women who have a lot of difficulty in producing their own eggs as with severe PCO. Estrogen tablets are then used to develop the endometrium lining rather than relying on the woman’s natural hormones.
Monitoring for FET is by transvaginal ultrasound scanning and/or using ovulation prediction test. Once the ovulation is detected, the frozen embryos are replaced two to three days later. On the day of embryo transfer, frozen embryos will be removed from the liquid nitrogen storage tank and thawed to resume its bioactivity. Embryo quality will be assessed after the thawing process and only embryo with good survival rate, which indicated with at least 75 percent intact blastomeres will be chosen for transfer. The embryo transfer procedure for frozen-thawed embryos is as in a conventional embryo transfer. After embryo transfer, patient will be given progesterone hormone pessaries to support the endometrium lining.
But, IVF can only be helpful to young infertile women. The doctor said, “Older women can have problems as well, so we suggest that when couples want to have their babies and the women feel she is having fertility difficulties, they should immediately seek assistance. Our clinic is open everyday and there are doctors there who can attend to their needs.”
How much will IVF cost? We asked. The doctor smiled and said, “Just tell the couple to go to my clinic. We can talk about it there.”