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Dr. Catherine Minto Bain: Helping Women Perform the Most Amazing Act in the World

Sunday, March 22, 2015

THE PEAK TIME TO HAVE BABIES for women is between 18 and 28, with your eggs being most viable at 25. Our foremothers may have opted to have their children earlier, but in this age of educated, career-oriented women, many are choosing to hold off on the baby--making till later in life. Although, there is now an option of freezing eggs to be used at a later date (a popular option for those diagnosed with cancer who fear not being able to conceive after chemo and other treatments), most women do not decide to go along with such a procedure until they are around 33, at which point their probability of conception has already begun decreasing.  

In your 40s your chances of giving birth drops to 1 in 20. Whereas a female in her 20s may need only 20 eggs via IVF, a woman in her 40s may require up to 100. But, with the evolution taking place in the fertility field, women, even older ones, are getting a chance to perform the most amazing act in the world: giving birth.  

This information was given by Dr. Catherine Minto Bain, co-owner of the Trinidad IVF and Fertility Centre, where she not only trains staff but oversees marketing, PR and brand management. She lectures in obstetrics/gynaecology at UWI Medical School, is a lead researcher in women’s health and fertility, and dabbles in photography (which she admits was a serious career consideration). However, in spite of all these illustrious titles and portfolios, her first words to describe herself are, “I’m a mother and a wife.”

If pressed, she will speak of her amazing children, and give you a story of being a University student and walking into a party to see ‘the most beautiful man she ever set eyes on’, who, 20 years later, she remains happily married to. 

Maybe it’s this mix of creativity, her own fairy tale and her scientific acumen that pushes her to create beautiful things, and what’s more so than the joy of family? It’s no wonder she left the baby delivery business behind over ten years ago and decided to enter a new, rapidly evolving field that puts her closer to creation’s ground zero. 

“My job’s a bit like a detective. Helping you figure out what’s going on and what is needed. IVF isn’t the only thing we do. And not everyone who comes to us comes for that purpose. Some persons just need treatments for other causative factors, and/or advice on conception. Others just wish to ensure that they are physically healthy enough to have a good pregnancy and healthy babies.” 

A lot of their work also lies in educating persons about their conception options, as well as helping individuals figure out if they even want to have children. “Some persons are content knowing they figured out what they wanted, and may end by deciding not to conceive.” 

When she moved here from England and entered into private practice, Dr. Minto Bain also experienced the business side of medicine, and focussed her energy on creating clinics that excelled in superb quality healthcare. 

With full UK IVF unit accreditation, a new state-of-the-art IVF theatre and laboratory and over 18 years’ experience in the local market, The Trinidad & Tobago IVF & Fertility Centre offers a complete and highly personalized service. “The company has an ethics community that is dedicated to ensuring the welfare of all children produced,” she says.

Perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of the clinic is their dedication to attempt to make their services accessible to all, regardless of finances. With IVF costing sometimes upwards of TT$60,000, the centre offers the option of egg sharing, so mothers can donate eggs and so reduce procedure costs. 

The fertility centre is LGBT friendly, and accepts both egg and sperm donors, and interested persons are always welcome to come to the clinic for a free health evaluation. And while you may think it’s not as common a for females to donate as a male, the centre sees a lot of persons from both genders and even couples who either have decided not to have children of their own, or simply wish to help other couples experience the joys of parenthood. Information is anonymous and all staff is extremely discreet.

To think that just 40 years ago, IVF and fertility treatments were almost unheard of, the fact that over a million babies have since been born as a result says that regardless of persons agreeing or disagreeing with it, it is here to stay. With persons like Dr. Catherine Minto-Bain at the forefront of these events, it may be safe to say that our health and next generation of pioneers are in good hands.

Dr. Catherine Minto-Bain will be speaking at the Health and Wellness Expo 2015, hosted by U The Caribbean Health Digest at the Hyatt Regency, March 31st to April 2nd. Trinidad and Tobago IVF and Fertility Clinic will also have a booth at the Expo and welcomes visitors. Entrance is free.


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