Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 16th 2014 Contents B6
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Wednesday, April 16, 2014
This Easter, the magic returns to Queens Hall as the Crazy Catholic and
D C Shell Theatre take you, your family and friends back to Fairy Land!!
From the producers of Rapunzel, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty,
Snow White, Rumpelstilskin, Red Riding Hood, Bollywood and Phantom of the NAPA
comes a brand new play based on the story by the Brothers Grimm.
Another memorable show for the entire family,
written and directed by the Crazy Catholic.
You are invited to fairyland - Magic,
Romance, Comedy and Non-Stop Fun
Please add us!
D C SHELL THEATRE
and CRAZY CATHOLIC
Don't dream... come!
GOOD FRIDAY 18th April - 7.30 p.m.
GLORIA SATURDAY 19th April - 4.30 p.m.
EASTER SUNDAY 20 April - 6.30 pm
EASTER MONDAY 21 April - 5.30 pm
HOLY THURSDAY 17th April - 8.30 p.m.
OPENING DAY: 2 persons on 1 ticket ($150)
BUY 1 TICKET: Get 1 ticket free ($185)
Produced by D C Shell Theatre
Pioneers in Family
Fairy Tales, Bollywood
& Clean Comedy.
Queens Hall Box Office opens from
14 April at 11am daily 624-1284, 621-5104
732-5796, 683-6496, 796-4272, 750-0104
Yesterday we featured an interview
with Dr Catherine Minto-Bain of the
T&T IVF Fertility Clinic, giving her
thoughts on the local fertility treatment
scene. Today, we feature Dr Juliet Skin-
ner of the Barbados Fertility Clinic (BFC)
who spoke to us ahead of a fertility con-
ference she hosted in Port-of-Spain in
March. Here, she speaks to Joshua Sur-
tees about the issues involved with
infertility and its treatment.
QSo what are you doing in T&T?
A I m here to speak at the seminar
on infertility. The goal is to raise awareness
amongst patients who have problems
Patients are often unaware that it is
a medical condition with various causes
that are very much diagnosable and treat-
able and solutions can be formed in terms
of getting them pregnant and having a
baby. And it doesn t always need hi-tech
stuff. Many times we find they might
need something as simple as ovulation
induction or intra-uterine examination.
But there is a group of patients that
will need hi-tech medicine in the form
of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF).
Who do you treat?
Our clinic treats people from all around
the world. Eighty-five per cent don t
actually live in Barbados, they come to
us for care from up and down the
Caribbean, the UK, USA, Europe, Canada.
Last year we had people from Australia
and China, which is pretty astounding.
It begs the question, why?
Well, it s because we have JCI accred-
itation (Joint Commission International
is the USA s biggest health care accred-
itation body responsible for accrediting
20,000 organisations). For some in the
Caribbean they don t have a local service
so we would be the closest for them. For
people in the US it s cost-driven, it s far
less expensive to come to Barbados and
get IVF and our success rates are on par
with the US and better amongst some
groups. With our UK patients it s driven
by availability. In the UK the NHS has
a massive shortfall on IVF care: for specific
treatments like egg donors you would sit
on a waiting list for four to five years.
The HFA, the UK s regulatory body,
took the decision to remove anonymity
for sperm and egg donors. Availability
has gone down because people are not
willing to be donors any more because
they don t want the potential of a child
knocking on their door in 16 years time
(wanting to find out who their biological
father or mother is.)
What is IVF and can people conceive
within the ten-day treatment period in
Well, yes. To give you the basics, IVF
is where we stimulate someone s body
to produce eggs, we harvest those eggs,
we fertilise them with sperm in a lab-
oratory, we culture those embryos for
generally five days, we select and we
Although it takes six weeks from the
day she starts any medication to the day
the embryos go back (inside her) we need
them to be with us for ten days for over-
For T&T patients we have our satellite
clinic where all of their pre-care and
initial early screenings and scans can be
done here so they only need to be in Bar-
bados for about a week. Two weeks later,
patients do their pregnancy tests back
at home and we co-ordinate from afar
and then once pregnant they go to their
doctor like any other patient for their
first assessment and scan.
What s the most common problem
for people trying to conceive?
The big categories are blocked fallopian
tubes for the woman and severe male
factor in men, which means the sperm
count is low.
Blocked fallopian tubes can be caused
by infection, commonly chlamydia. A
third of the population worldwide will
test positive for chlamydia by the age of
20.The greater the frequency or severity
of infections like that the greater the
chance of infertility. If it s detected and
treated early you ll be fine but unfortu-
nately infection is often silent.
With blocked tubes the only option is
With something like polycystic ovaries,
where a woman is not ovulating, the
treatment options are very simple. It
might be that they re not getting regular
periods or getting two periods a year.
We might focus on giving them med-
ication to make them release eggs on a
Intra-uterine insemination is a simple
option where we take sperm, prepare it
and put it in at the top of the uterus;
that might work if they have problems
to do with the cervix. She may have had
an operation or a mucus interaction prob-
It can also work for unexplained infer-
tility when we don t know why they re
not getting pregnant.
Are the sperm and egg donors anony-
mous at your clinic?
We do both known and anonymous
donations. Let s say somebody has under-
gone an early menopause and trying to
get pregnant at 45 and not making any
good-quality eggs: they have an option
where they could use a known donor, a
family member aged 18-35. The benefit
would be that that person is genetically
related to them.
If you don t have a person like that,
there are anonymous donors who vol-
unteer their eggs. For a single woman
who hasn t met Mr Right and wants
to have a baby, she can select a
known or anonymous donor also.
Importantly, donors do not have
any parental rights, legally.
There are sperm banks in Cali-
fornia and Denmark and on the Web
sites there is a lot of information
about the donors.
You can select the things that are
important to you. It goes initially
on physical aspects---ethnic back-
ground, height, colour of eyes---then
educational levels, interests, sports,
religion. You come up with a shortlist
and choose one.
What you need to
know about IVF
IVF PART 2
Dr Juliet Skinner, gynaecology and obstetrics consultant at the
Barbados Fertility Centre visited the T&T Guardian offices to explain
the latest issues in fertility treatment. PHOTO: ABRAHAM DIAZ
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