23 Feb Interview with our IVF collaborator REDIA
“We decided to reduce our profits to put a smile in our patients´ faces”
Dimitri Kavakas is the founder and CEO of IVF Redia, a company that selects the best assisted reproduction clinics depending on the profiles of each client, offering exclusive financial services with a guarantee of the birth of the baby, which greatly benefits patients in making their dreams come true. Thus, it collaborates with the best clinics all over the world (Europe, Latin America, Asia or Africa). One of these, of course, is Reproclinic, as we are one of the clinics with top quality patient care and high success rates in Spain.
In order to give you a bit more information about his project, we wanted to talk to him first hand and ask him some questions that will be of great interest to those patients who come to our clinic with a complicated story of infertility, with several failed attempts and with an uncertainty and concern that, with the passage of time, is increasing.
1. How is IVF Redia created?
After many years in academia and business administration, following a PhD in International Relations, I focused on the fertility sector as an international manager in an assisted reproduction clinic. That was the starting point of my engagement in the world of fertility treatment.
Six years ago, I set up my own company, Redia LTD, based in London, UK, to offer a unique product: an IVF reimbursement guarantee insurance for patients, in collaboration with fertility clinics in different countries. This idea was born out of the financial insecurity faced by fertility patients as they begin a journey to realise a dream of parenthood, but not knowing when the journey will end and how much money it will cost.
We started by providing this money-back guarantee to UK patients travelling abroad to clinics in Spain, Greece and the Czech Republic. Hence, our portal is called Ivftravel.com. However, we quickly realised that more patients from other countries were looking for this plan. In addition, we also understand now, which is reinforced by the recent pandemic, that many patients do not want to travel abroad, so we have tried to find solutions for our plans for local patients (UK clinics for UK patients, Spanish clinics for Spanish patients and so on).
IVF Redia is growing quickly due to the great interest of fertility patients from all over the world in our programmes, which have already expanded outside Europe by introducing South African clinics and we are currently starting a large project in India, Canada and the USA.
Reproclinic is a very strong partner. The clinic has established a network of operations that can treat patients from all over the world, minimising the time the patient has to spend in Barcelona. They are focused on personalisation of treatments and excellent care support.
2. IVF Redia guarantees the birth of the baby. Some people think that having this guarantee is too risky. What has led you to offer this global solution?
Actually, this entails financial risks for us. However, we took this decision because if we only guaranteed pregnancy, we felt we were cheating patients.
The main objective of offering a guarantee is to fulfil the patients’ dream, which is to have a baby, not just a positive pregnancy test. Knowing that 15% of positive tests will end in a biochemical pregnancy and maybe another 5% will have a miscarriage in early pregnancy, our ethical behaviour cannot allow patients to pay a large sum of money without guaranteeing them success and giving them what they want: a baby! This is why we decided to reduce our profits in order to bring a smile on our patients’ faces.
Obviously, we do our best and only work with the best clinics to increase the potential for success. And Reproclinic has all these qualities that we are looking for in a good partner.
3. Not all reproductive clinics have the same pregnancy rates, how do you handle this?
Our reimbursement plans have different budgets per clinic, based on clinic prices and success rates. As I said before, we have a good relationship with clinics that produce good results. In the past, we made necessarily unpleasant decisions to stop partnerships with centres that did not produce, and instead we cultivated relationships with clinics that produced good results and offered good service and care to our patients.
4. During the pandemic, we experienced a pause in the number of fertility treatments globally and then some improvement. Uncertainty about how the virus acts, the risks of infection, border closures and job losses have put the brakes on many families’ dreams of having a baby. From your experience, what concerns do patients have or have had?
Both the pandemic itself and the governmental response to it and the strict blocking rules in several European countries have created frustration for many fertility patients. This is because time is very important to them.
What we have experienced during this time is that fertility patients tried to find solutions to both their financial situation and the restrictions of travelling to make their dreams come true. Thus, the demand for fertility treatments never stopped. However, logistics forced them to postpone treatment for a few months. In March 2020 we faced this postponement of treatments, which resumed in the summer, and recently we faced another wave of similar postponements before Christmas 2020 and early 2021. Let’s hope that with the vaccination campaign things will be back to normal soon.
5. Could you explain us how the selection process works and who would be the optimal candidate for your programmes?
We have a selection process since we ensure our own financial viability, so we avoid offering money-back guarantee plans to patients with a very low prognosis of success. For this reason, when a patient is interested in one of our programmes, she must initially meet our age criteria, which is 37 for IVF egg treatment and 50 for egg donation.
We have a combined IVF plan, which has one cycle of IVF with own eggs and, if it fails, patients move on to egg donation. This has an age limit of 43 years. In addition to age limits, we also have medical criteria, which is an evaluation of the ovarian reserve (patients’ own eggs), endometrial and sperm quality. Therefore, we ask for certain results, from recent tests that the patients have or in some cases have to repeat them.
6. In your opinion, why a patient should opt for these programmes?
We identify three main reasons/benefits for patients to choose our reimbursement programmes. The first is financial forecasting. Patients can know exactly how much it will cost to accomplish their baby birth so they can plan financially and know how much they have to save.
The second reason is risk-sharing with us, they know that if they do not achieve their goal, they will get their money back, thus sharing the risk of failure with us. Finally, and given that choosing a quality clinic is not easy and requires advanced knowledge, they can trust that our partner centres are of high quality, as we are risking our invested money and it is in our interest to work with the best.
7. IVF Redia has an innovative project in its hands. What solutions does IVF Redia offer patients?
Redia has a group of IVF coordinators who care for patients in our programmes. These are also the collaborators that our clinics have, who are in contact with our patients from day one until the birth of the baby. Redia is also preparing a technological platform, which we will be launched very soon. A secure online platform where our patients will have their own personal space, through which they can communicate with us and with the clinic that attends them. Both they and the clinic can attach documents and test results to this to eliminate any exchange of personal documents via unsecured emails.
The frontline of this platform will be an app for both iPhone and Android, which helps the patient to plan and monitor their treatment in every moment. The doctor at the clinic will be able to upload the protocol into the app and will alert the patient every time he or she needs to take a medicine, have a test or a blood test. He or she can change anything in the protocol if necessary and the app will automatically update itself. Patients can upload check-up reports and test results into the app, and the doctor can have immediate access to these documents.
Without no doubts, working hand in hand with collaborators of this calibre such as IVF Redia, strengthens our value proposal in which our main objectives are based on reducing the anxiety that our patients feel when faced with the impossibility of seeing their dreams come true, avoiding their financial worries and guaranteeing the success of the treatment through the effectiveness of our methods and our professionals.
“Reproclinic is a very strong partner. The clinic has established a network of operations that can treat patients from all over the world, minimising the time the patient has to spend in Barcelona.
They are focused on personalised treatment and excellent care support.”