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7 questions to ask fertility clinics before egg donation treatment

If you are reading this article, you are probably in the process of choosing a clinic for your fertility treatment, and may have already contacted a few IVF clinics. If so, you will already know that fertility clinics comparison may be difficult.

How to easily compare Egg Donation Program offers received from IVF clinics?

  1. Ask the fertility clinics the right questions. (see below)
  2. Ask the same questions to all the fertility clinics.
  3. Keep the same order and number questions or use bullets.
  4. Make sure the IVF clinics answer ALL the questions. If they don’t – reply and clearly mark which answers are not clear enough.
Questions to ask fertility clinic

E-mail the questions to the clinic or ask them during initial consultation

What questions should you ask your chosen IVF clinics?

1. What is the clinic’s IVF success rate? What does it mean? How is it measured?

Ask the fertility clinic if their egg donor success rates refer to:

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  • Only one or a number of IVF cycles (e.g. cumulative indicators of 2-3 IVF attempts)
  • Clinical pregnancy – 6 week
  • Clinical pregnancy – 12 week
  • Take home baby – “live birth”

The evaluation of IVF treatment success is extremely difficult, especially when comparing one fertility clinic to another. For more information, go to the article on egg donation treatment success rates prepared by EggDonationFriends experts.

2. How many donor oocytes will I receive during IVF program with donor eggs?

The number of donor oocytes you receive determines the number of embryos you get after fertilization. From the medical point of view, it is always better to have more embryos than the bare minimum. You can always decide to freeze the remaning embryos and use them in the future. Ask your fertility doctor about the number of received oocytes. Is the minimum, average or maximum number of eggs guaranteed? It’s important – bear in mind that statistically speaking, you can receive on average 2 embryos from 6 fertilized eggs.

3. Does the clinic offer a guaranteed minimum number of received oocytes?

Clinics often guarantee a minimum number of oocytes the recipient receives. Important: if the IVF clinic offers “all oocytes from the donor”, common practice in IVF clinics in Spain, ask for more details.

  • Ask the fertility clinic what happens if only 3-4 oocytes are retrieved from the donor.
  • Ask about the average number of oocytes received from the donor.

4. Does the clinic offer a guarantee in terms of the number of obtained embryos?

If the clinic guarantees the number of embryos, make sure you ask if they are day 3 embryos or day 5 blastocysts. This is very important as statistically you get less day 5 blastocysts than day 3 embryos. On average, only 50% of day 3 embryos will survive and turn into blastocysts on day 5. For example, if you have four day 3 embryos you will probably end up with only two or one day 5 blastocysts. Embryo guarantee in most IVF clinics covers only day 3 embryos. Fertility clinics offer such solution because IVF centers know that on day 5 there will be less embryos left. They may stop developing between day 3 and day 5 and only about 50% of them are able to survive till day 5. Still it is believed that day 5 embryo transfer can significantly increase the program’s success rates. There are many medical publications showing higher success rates with day 5 embryo transfer.

5. Does the embryo guarantee depend on factors such as partner’s sperm quality? If so, what are conditions?

When the clinic offers embryo guarantee, the basic requirement is good quality partner’s sperm. Usually IVF clinics use WHO standards to assess the sperm parameters. If this is the case, make sure you ask the clinic which particular standards are being applied and what parameters are taken into account. Some fertility clinics apply their own standards. Find out from the clinic what sperm parameters are necessary to be able to benefit from embryo guarantee.

Make sure you ask what happens, if despite good sperm parameters, you will not receive the guaranteed number of embryos? Can you get your money back in you do not receive any embryos? Can you get a discount on your egg donation program? Perhaps the clinic offers other solutions?

Bear in mind that even if your partner had his sperm tested before and his sperm parameters met the clinic’s criteria, during another testing at the clinic it may turn out that the semen has different parameters than it had before. This is completely normal: the parameters of your partner’s biological material can change with time. That is why it is always recommended to have the test done at the clinic, on the spot. If you have sperm testing done at your own cost at a different lab, the IVF clinic does not have to respect these results.

6. What happens if the IVF treatment program fails? Will I get a refund if:

  • there are no oocytes for fertilization
  • there are too few oocytes (fewer than the required minimum the clinic offers)
  • there was no embryo transfer, in spite of the fertilization of the right number of oocytes
  • the number of embryos is fewer than it was guaranteed.

Find out EggDonationFriends’ tips on what to do when IVF with donor eggs fails. 

7. What is the total estimated cost of a single egg donation program, including appointments, oocytes/donor eggs, required lab tests, IVF lab procedures, embryo transfer and medications?

  • Ask a fertility specialist or fertility clinic about the average cost of the IVF program and find out if the following are included:
    appointment cost, ultrasound, preliminary and qualification tests of the egg donor, egg donor hormonal stimulation, egg retrieval, ICSI egg fertilization, other IVF lab procedures, e.g. blastocyst culture or AH (assisted hatching) and embryo transfer.
  • Choosing IVF clinic: remember that in 90% of the clinics the IVF treatment cost will not include, among others: embryo freezing (there may be a need to freeze the embryos even if you have not planned it), frozen embryo transfer in the patient’s next cycle, additional tests for the egg donor and/or egg recipient, e.g. carrier screening.
  • even if fertility clinics or fertility specialists answers all your questions, you still may not know the full cost of the program. IVF program is a type of treatment which, when performed in compliance with medical code of practice and standard practices of infertility treatment, very much depends on the individual medical condition of the patient. Good IVF clinics should operate like this and offer personalized treatment plan.

Anything else – IVF treatment plan?

Aside from the questions above, ask about the treatment plan. What is the optimal plan? Ask the fertility clinic or a fertility specialist how many visits you will need, how much time you should spend at the IVF clinic abroad, when you need to come with your partner, and when you can come on your own. Also check what medical tests you can do in your home country and what tests should be done at the fertility clinic abroad. Finally, ask if you have to pay the whole amount upfront or if there is a a payment plan, according to the stages of egg donation treatment. And first and foremost, do not be afraid to ask!

If you want to know more about egg donation process, risks and options, we recommend reading Complete Egg Donation Guide.

questions to ask fertility specialist

How to choose an IVF clinic?

4 Comments

  1. What are the other questions to ask fertility specialist if had miscarriages before? with my own eggs 2 times and with donor egg once?

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