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April 22, 2021

Our Family: Nikoleta and Karleen


"We’ve been blown away by the treatment, the care,  and respect we received at HSFC"



One sunny morning, we met with our lovely patients Nikoleta and Karleen for a chat. The couple were very much in sync with one other right from the start, often completing each other’s sentences!


A modern romance

Nikoleta, a Greek national, lived in America for several years before moving to the UK. She met Karleen online and, after a while, they moved in together and began to feel ready to start a family.


Karleen tells us, “having kids was something we both wanted, although I was never keen on carrying the baby. Nik has always been maternal, very eager to carry the baby and have that experience.”


Nikoleta, at 35 years old, felt more than ready to start the process of having her eggs retrieved and embryos frozen. “We didn't have a date in mind for embryo transfer, but we said let’s get things started and have the egg retrieval.”


Choosing Harley Street Fertility Clinic

Before embarking on their fertility journey with HSFC, Nikoleta and Karleen conducted a lot of their own research. “We talked to same-sex couples and heterosexual couples who went through IVF. We got a bunch of different suggestions. We wanted the very best, the highest success rates, the best feedback. We wanted the best clinic because we wanted the best outcome." The couple admitted that in the end, choosing Harley Street Fertility Clinic was easy.


The treatment process

Nikoleta had 24 eggs retrieved, 19 matured and 17 fertilised. By day 5, the couple had 13 strong embryos. Both admit, “we didn’t know what to expect. A couple of friends struggled and they only got 1 or 2 embryos... but [it was] because of some of the extra steps that HSFC took [that we had] such a high number of viable embryos.”

Nikoleta explains that the egg retrieval was easier than she expected. “The egg retrieval was very quick. The team explained everything and it was all very well mapped out.”

Karleen admits that although Nikoleta was anxious about the whole process, the couple felt that at consultation and other appointments, they had ample opportunity to ask any questions.

“I felt like I was getting my own unique treatment - it wasn’t just generic," Nikoleta tells us. Karleen says that the entire process was “smooth and very efficient. It was always very clear what the next steps were going to be.”

When asked about the genetic testing (PGT-A), the couple decided to go ahead to make sure they had the best possible outcome. "After the PGT-A, Dr Venkat got in touch to make sure we understood what the results meant.” They tested 2 embryos, both came back normal. 


Praise for Harley Street Fertility Clinic Staff

During our interview, Nikoleta and Karleen praise all staff at the clinic, starting with the reception team, Stephen and Joana, as well as Carina and Bijal, our Patients Coordinator. “The appointments were all at a convenient time for me. [The staff] were able to accommodate different times - it was great for us and we appreciated it especially because it’s a very busy clinic. “ 

Nikoleta says that the experience with the scanning nurses was one of her favourites. “Tanya was fantastic! All the nurses make you feel comfortable, you feel like you've met them before. You usually feel awkward having scans but they make you feel comfortable. They are very professional and also very kind.” 

“These embryologists never stop. They work weekends so they can keep an eye on the embryos, and they keep calling me to update me. It’s so nice to see the clinic’s number on your phone which means a new update on your embryo. Sam (Lab Manager) and Maya (Embryologist) were both fantastic.”

“Dr Venkat? She is so lovely!" Nikoleta praises Dr Venkat, telling us that she kept them informed at all times. “[Dr Venkat is] knowledgeable and very kind. It doesn’t matter if it's 8 in the morning or 4 in the afternoon, she's always energetic and enthusiastic.”  

Nikoleta’s words were always very reassuring for Karleen, who was not able to be with Nikoleta during her appointments. “It’s nice to hear that she’s been very well looked after and supported."


An enjoyable experience from start to finish

Karleen admits that at times, the couple felt that there were a lot of appointments and lots of travelling back and forth. However, “looking back you realise every single appointment is useful.” 

As a same-sex couple, Nikoleta and Karleen each had the option to use their own eggs, and they also took the sperm donor into consideration. When deciding on how they would approach their fertility treatment, Karleen says that “Dr Venkat explained everything to us, which was great!”

Karleen admits that her role, at the moment, is a supporting one. “Nikoleta has to deal with all the steps and do the injections - I am the moral support. I keep telling her how awesome she is, and to be positive.”


What's next?

With 13 frozen embryos, Nikoleta and Karleen are now happy to slow down for a while. The couple will enjoy the summer and keep hoping that September is the month they will have the embryo transfer. Nikoleta says that it would be magical for their journey with Harley Street Fertility Clinic to end with a baby.


A message for other same-sex couples

Karleen says: “everyone’s journey is different. There are obstacles to overcome and challenges to face, but HSFC will absolutely help you - 100% we would recommend."

Nikoleta says, “from the same-sex side of it, I never felt I was treated as I was different. It was always very respectful. When I spoke about my partner, although the staff never met Karleen in person, everyone used her name. My message for others would be: go in open-minded, because the success you will receive, regardless of what you heard about other clinics, is there!”

Nikoleta tells us she was “blown away with the treatment, the care and the respect we received throughout the process. I genuinely believe that the extra steps that HSFC took contributed to why we are successful.”

We are wishing the lovely pair a wonderful summer and we look forward to catching up with them in the near future.