Interview with FIV Marbella embryologist, Enrique Criado

Enrique Criado, an embryologist at FIV Marbella talks to Treatment Abroad.

FIV Marbella embryologist Enrique Criado

Enrique Criado - Born in 1978 graduated from the University of Jaén in 2004 and became a specialist in human reproduction in Vistahermosa Clinic in collaboration with the University Alfonso X the Wise in 2006.

From 2006 to 2012 his research focused on the cryo-preservation of eggs, embryos and sperm in assisted reproduction patients, leading to his authorship of several book, chapters and scientific articles. He had the opportunity to work for 5 years in several of the best clinics in Italy and the United States enabling him to learn the latest techniques and laboratory investigations in improving cell freezing protocols. These cutting edge techniques were then applied in clinics in Spain, where he has since worked as Laboratory Director.

Advising several clinics in laboratory design, he has proven, with experience, that "the engine of the clinic" (the IVF laboratory) has to be built with appropriate materials, air filtration and positive pressure, which ensures the sterile conditions necessary to obtain best results.

Why should patients get treatment in Spain?

Spain has very high standards and a permissive law regarding fertility treatment. The overall cost is also somewhat lower than in a lot of other European countries, which is another important factor for patients seeking IVF treatments in Spain. We have seen a year on year growth in medical tourism, especially in the reproductive field, as the combination of a holiday experience with an AR treatment has a great impact on reducing stress levels with patients feeling more relaxed, which subsequently has an impact on success rates.

How do international patients usually find out about clinics in Spain and your clinic?

Most international patients find our clinic through searching the internet, especially patients from the UK who are very active online. They are present in fertility forums where Spain is highly rated due to its high standards of quality and expertise along with very good success rates. Many gynaecologists now know our clinic and refer patients to us for their treatment.

What languages are spoken at your clinic?

In our international department we have coordinators speaking English, Italian, French, Arabic and Russian

How quickly can patients start treatment at your clinic?

We have no waiting list; treatment can be arranged to suit patients’ wishes.

Why is Spain such a big player in egg donation?

Egg donation in Spain is very popular given the very permissive law. For UK patients the fact that donation is anonymous makes them feel more comfortable with the procedure. In the UK donation isn’t anonymous and the donors can be tracked down later in life. In other European countries, like Italy, egg donation is not permitted by law.

Does your clinic have an egg donation programme?

Yes. Donors of all ethnicities are available, with a multitude of nationalities, blood groups and physical characteristics. The advantage is that patients requiring rare phenotype donors do not have to wait. The donors all have good physical as well as psychological health and they undergo exhaustive gynaecological, serological and genetic examinations.

What other treatments do you offer at your clinic?

We offer all the latest fertility treatments.

At FIV Marbellla we grow the embryos to the blastocyst stage that occurs around the fifth day of development; an important milestone in IVF. The purpose of this treatment is to enable the selection of embryos with higher implantation potential, exponentially increasing the chance of pregnancy.

Recently we acquired new Planner incubators which use CO2 in addition to oxygen to develop blastocysts. In traditional incubators the temperature falls due to the amount of gas lost after opening, meaning the culture conditions of embryos change, potentially affecting their development and viability.

The new Planner incubator is designed to allow for immediate recovery of the gases’ temperature after being opened. This feature greatly enhances the culture conditions for embryos.

We also recently installed the Early embryo viability assessment test (Eeva), one of the latest technologies out of Silicon Valley, which drastically reduces any opening of the incubator altogether as the embryos are analysed through video imaging.

Leaving the embryos completely undisturbed in a controlled culture environment from which they do not have to be removed for examination.

Why have you chosen to offer the Eeva test at your clinic ?

Eeva is one of the most ground-breaking developments in IVF; it provides IVF clinicians with predictive information about the embryo’s development potential against scientifically and clinically validated cell-division parameters.  The results from the Eeva test have predictive and objective information to help improve the embryo selection decision. 

We are proud to be the 1st clinic in Spain to offer this test to IP patients. We always strive to offer our patients the latest IVF innovations and technological developments.

How does the Eeva test work? And how is it different to other screening options?

Eeva consists of a special microscope that fits inside a standard incubator and takes video images of your embryos every 5 minutes. These images are then examined by Eeva’s uniquely intelligent software to automatically analyse embryo development. The software completes a prediction and identifies the embryos  as either  ‘High’ (high chances of developing into a blastocyst) or ‘Low’ (low chances of development).  

No other screening option, to my knowledge, offers this computerised and objective analysis of the embryo.

Eeva supports embryologists in selecting the best embryos for IVF transfer, increasing the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Who would you recommend this test to?

I recommend this test to all our patients. The Eeva test helps predict the most viable embryo and makes the choice of the best embryo more scientific and objective. It also gives our embryologists valuable information, which we can share with our patients.

Is there a video where infertility patients can see the results for their own embryos?

Yes, this is an essential part for the patients as it explains the procedure in images and involves them in the decision-making process. Our embryologists will use the video to explain their reason for transferring the selected embryo and the patient can keep the video.

Does it increase chances of IVF success?

Having only recently introduced the Eeva test at FIV Marbella we do not yet have enough data to measure  it's impact on the overall pregnancy rate. However we are happy to announce our first pregnancy following Eeva's prediction.

Watch the FIV video about Eeva


                Visit the FIV Marbella website



Author profile

Fiv Marbella is a pioneering infertility and assisted reproduction clinic in Marbella, Spain that works at the cutting edge of innovation and research to provide the latest treatments to its patients. The multidisciplinary team of fertility specialists and embryologists work together to offer a comprehensive range of infertility assessments and treatments, including IVF, PGD, Eeva, prolonged culture to blastocyte stage, egg donation, embryo adoption and sperm recovery techniques.

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