Which city should a CHR-Europe be?

CHR is contemplating opening a center in Europe, to serve patients in Europe, Russia and the Middle East with difficult-to-treat infertility cases.

As a reader of the VOICE, you are probably very aware of the fact that CHR serves patients from all over the world. Indeed, over half of CHR’s IVF cycles are initiated with so-called long-distance patients, which means that their homes are beyond the larger New York Tristate area. Among those, roughly half come from other regions within the U.S. and the other half from outside the U.S., meaning patients using our international fertility treatment program. After Canada, Europe is CHR’s second-biggest market among non-U.S. long-distance patients. The difference between Canada and Europe, however, lies in the fact that much fewer European than Canadian patients ultimately come to NYC, instead staying somewhere in Europe to receive treatments.

CHR is considering opening up a fertility center in Europe for patients in Europe, Russia, Middle East and more. Photo by Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash.

The principal reason lies, of course, in the difference in distance and quality of required travel. Many among our European patients over the years, therefore, have asked why CHR does not operate or collaborate with a center somewhere in Europe that would be reachable more easily for European patients and where they could receive the typical CHR’s treatments without having to travel to NYC. CHR has, indeed, contemplated a CHR-Europe and has watched the European market for the possibility of establishing one, but on a number of occasions, in a number of European cities and countries, mostly because of legal restrictions to practice and/or other restrictive local regulations, we decided against starting such a venture.

In many European countries, circumstances have, however, changed for the better in recent years. CHR is, therefore, once again considering the possibility of a CHR-Europe and a few cities have attracted our attention. Our preference is a centrally located city in Europe, not too south and not too north. We would like the city to be culturally “interesting” for the center’s visitors from elsewhere, who usually have considerable free time during IVF cycles. The city, therefore, should be of good size but not too large because nobody likes to fight traffic jams. Importantly, the city must be easily reachable by road, train and air, with the airport relatively close by and well connected with direct flights throughout Europe. Obviously, IVF-related laws must be liberal; and the city must have an active academic research community interested and willing in scientific collaboration.

Even more so than in NYC, CHR-Europe would act as a center of last resort. Wherever CHR may establish its European presence in the future, therefore, its purpose would not be to compete with local primary IVF centers but, like in NYC, to concentrate on those patients all over Europe, Russia and the Middle East who have either already had failed IVF repeatedly at other centers or been refused treatments with their own eggs, being forced, often prematurely, into egg donation. Unfortunately, this practice is in Europe as prevalent as in the U.S.

In looking at many options and talking to colleagues in many countries, we have identified three cities with remarkable histories as potential finalists. We, now, seek the opinion of especially our European patients in deciding which of these European cities they would consider best suited for establishment of a CHR-Europe. These cities are:

  • GLASGOW, Scotland, UK
  • PRAGUE, Czech Republic
  • BOLZANO, Italy

If you are one of our European readers, please send us a quick e-mail at [email protected] to share your opinion with us. If you have a different location to suggest, let us know where and why you are proposing it ahead of above listed three options. We really would like to hear your opinions!

This is a part of the October 2019 CHR VOICE.

Norbert Gleicher, MD, leads CHR’s clinical and research efforts as Medical Director and Chief Scientist. A world-renowned reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. Gleicher has published hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and lectured globally while keeping an active clinical career focused on ovarian aging, immunological issues and other difficult cases of infertility.