We spoke to Dr. Natalia Szlarb, one of the best IVF specialist in Spain, from Vida Fertility about her own fertility journey, and what life is like now, as an IVF doctor.
IVFB: Can you tell us about the decision you made to freeze your own eggs?
Dr Szlarb: I was diagnosed with serious autoimmune disease in 2010 and had to undergo chemotherapy treatment in the US. In Detroit Michigan I did research and Phd in immunology of recurrent miscarriage in 2009-2012. I knew that my ovarian reserve would suffer due to my aggressive treatment, that’s why I performed social freezing of my own eggs.
I was aware that my biological clock was ticking … that the best fertile years of my life would be gone through the fight with the rheumatological disease. I wanted to give an example to other young ambitious women and show them, that you can postpone your timing of having children, but you cant postpone your biological clock. The best quality of your eggs is when you are 20-35 years old.
IVFB: Can you tell us what an average day in your IVF clinic is like for you?
Dr Szlarb: It is very busy, and tends to look like this….
8-10am: Egg retrievals
10-12pm: Embryo transfers
13-14pm: The whole team has a meeting. Every day during this meeting, the embryologist informs us how many eggs were collected on each egg retrieval, how many and which quality of embryos were transferred and frozen, which cycles of which donors were successful, which protocols need to be repeated and which are to change. Good medical professionals speak with embryologist every day.
14-18pm. New patients ,donors, donors assignations.
IVFB: Can you remember the first couple that you helped to become parents?
Dr Szlarb: It was a difficult case from Germany. A 27 year old patient with an AMH of 0.3, an endometriosis chocolate cyst (ovarian endometriomas. The colour comes from old menstrual blood and tissue that fills the cavity of the cyst.) and only her right ovary was working.
She had 3 eggs and only one embryo but she got pregnant and delivered a healthy boy! A few years later she came back for a second child with an amh of 0,01. She was already menopausal, but we did an egg donation and she delivered a healthy beautiful baby girl!
I understood that the love of mother does not differentiate eggs … all mothers love kids the same way no matter where they come from…
IVFB: How do you feel when a round of IVF doesn’t work for one of your patients?
There is always a reason why a round of IVF has failed. It is either due to poor embryo quality due to advanced maternal age, an endometrium infection, an incorrect implantation window, immunology issues, uterus anatomical abnormalities or blood clotting which can stop an implantation.
When IVF doesn’t work I never sit and cry, I always look for a solution with my patients. It is a sign for me that we have to evaluate where the problem is. Implantation is a game of exclusion in order to find a reason of IVF failure.
IVFB: How many IVF babies have you helped to create?
Dr Szlarb: I call my IVF/egg donation babies my miracles! Since 2013 up until 2022 I have performed 600 cycles annually with 90% cumulative pregnancy rate per cycle. So that works out at about 860 successful pregnancies in my carrier so far…
Dr Natalia Szlarb will be at The Fertility Show in London on 7th and 8th May: book your free consultation, click here
Learn more about Dr Szlarb:
I have been working in gynaecology since 2002. I graduated med school in Poland, then specialised in gynaecology in Berlin Germany, and subspecialty in reproductive medicine as well as medical research and PHD in Detroit MI USA.
In 2012 I relocated to Spain Alicante, where I have been working with international patients and egg donation cycles, IVF and PGDA cycles. My job has focused on complicated international cases of recurrent implantation failure with endometrial issues as well as immunological issues.
Since 2017 I have been working as medical director of international patients in Alicante. In 2021 I became the medical director of Vida fertility Alicante where my job is focused on complex implantation failure patients.
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