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New full-service fertility clinic opening in Victoria

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For years, patients on Vancouver Island trying to start a family through fertility treatment have had to travel to Vancouver for care, adding to an already costly endeavour.

But that’s changing as a new clinic opens in Victoria.

“Patients on the island deserve to have access to medically necessary treatments, including IVF and other fertility options,” says Olive Fertility Centre reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Ginevra Mills.

Olive Fertility Centre has moved into a new home in Victoria’s James Bay neighbourhood from a former satellite office downtown. The new space features an embryology lab, which is key to expanding fertility care on the island.

“We can take eggs out of people, mix them with the sperm in the lab and make embryos and put those back into the patients' bodies,” says Mills.

The clinic is open to see patients, and the medical director says some procedures are being offered, such as intrauterine insemination. But the embryology lab has been delayed by construction.

“We’re working on it,” says medical director Dr. James Graham. “The procedure room and everything like that is held to the level of the hospital so everything has to be medical grade.”

Once the space fully opens, it’ll mark the return of the first full-service in vitro fertilization clinic on Vancouver Island since 2019.

“Accessibility is so important,” says patient Lauren Davies.

She and her partner Kelsey are expecting their first child in April with the help of IVF at Olive.

“We started the process before the new clinic was open and it meant a lot of back and forth to Vancouver, which is a very large added expense to an already expensive time in your life,” says Kelsey.

The women are early childhood educators and small business owners. They say there’s no coverage for IVF in B.C. so the added hotel and travel expenses to the mainland were a big burden.

They’re relieved care will be closer to home as they plan to expand their family in time.

“We both went through IVF simultaneously so both of our eggs are frozen and the next pregnancy, I will be carrying Lauren’s egg is the plan,” says Kelsey.

“A lot of people who are in these intimate relationships, they want to be able to carry their partner's baby and for us that was always so important that we be able to trade essentially and carry each others,” adds Lauren.

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