IVF and IVF with donor eggs abroad

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Infertility treatment abroad – FAQ

 

What is IVF treatment?

In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) involves the fertilization of eggs and sperm in a culture medium in a laboratory before the resulting embryo is transferred into a patient’s uterus. The term IVF is used to cover a number of treatments including ICSI, PGS-PGTA, blastocyst culture, embryo glue, egg donation, sperm donation, embryo donation and surrogacy.

What are the types of IVF programmes?

There are many types of IVF programmes which are appropriate when a patient uses their own eggs – mini IVF – with minimal ovarian stimulation, IVF on natural cycle – without any stimulation, IVF with PGS – using preimplantation genetic screening toward chromosomal abnormalities, IVF with PGD – preimplantation genetic diagnosis towards single gene mutations. There are also different types of techniques undertaken in the IVF laboratory which include ICSI, blastocyst culture, embryo glue, embryo monitoring. All IVF programmes can be combined with the use of sperm donors from a dedicated sperm bank for single women, same sex female couples or for couples where the male factor is not treatable. Egg donation and embryo donation are also used in IVF treatments and these involve oocytes obtained from a separate donor.

How long does infertility treatment abroad take?

The main difference in terms of timing is potentially waiting for a donor match if this type of treatment is chosen. Once the procedure commences the timeframe of the actual treatment is the same as if you were accessing treatment in your home country. Timing is important for clinics who offer infertility treatment abroad – conscious that patients do not want to stay away from home for long periods or travel too many times, clinics invariably offer flexible treatment schedules. If you want to know more, read this article: IVF with donor egg process step by step.

What is IVF with donor egg treatment?​

Egg donation is a form of in-vitro fertilisation in which the patient uses donated oocytes (donor eggs) – from egg donors – to conceive. Retrieved eggs from the donor are fertilised with sperm, usually from the patient’s partner. Once cultivated and transferred, embryos may implant themselves in the patient’s uterus, hopefully leading to a successful pregnancy. The donation process can either be anonymous or non-anonymous.

The prospect of using an egg donor can feel overwhelming and daunting, often leaving patients full of questions and concerns. It is not an easy choice to make; the emotional mourning of fertility and the practical decisions on finding a donor and clinic are a lot to process. As intimidating as it may appear, however, for many women egg donation provides the best chances for a successful pregnancy.

When might donor egg treatment cycle be appropriate? Indications.

For many infertile women, in vitro treatment with donor eggs is the only chance for maternity. The procedure may be adopted if:

  • The patient does not have or can not produce oocytes of her own – e.g. due to damaged or missing ovaries;
  • Patient’s ovaries malfunction prematurely;
  • Patient’s oocytes are of insufficient quality;
  • Patient has been diagnosed with genetic issues which may be reason of previous failure
  • Patient has undergone multiple IVF programs – without success;
  • Patient – the woman is over 40 years old.

The basic two indicators for a donor egg treatment cycle are the medical history and the age of the recipient. However, some patients choose the donor egg IVF treatment because of a higher pregnancy rate. Usually, patients going through egg donor programs may expect a better chance to become parents than patients using their own eggs – depending on the women’s age. The reason is “quality eggs” which are received from young, healthy egg donors.

What is the age limit for IVF with donor eggs?

The age limit for IVF with donor eggs is the same as if you were receiving treatment using your own eggs. Although there are country differences the age range is broadly similar: for instance, in the Czech Republic the age ceiling for women is 49, in Greece it is limited by law to 50, similarly in Spain it is 50 but clinics have discretion to treat women up until the of 52 dependent upon personal circumstances. In North Cyprus the upper age limit is 55 and in the Ukraine and Russia there are no specific age limits governed by law, decisions are made by clinics on a patient by patient basis.

What are the types of donor egg programs?

  • IVF programs with fresh donor eggs require the cycles of both the donor and recipient to be synchronized therefore the process requires planning and can be fairly rigid in order for synchronization to happen. As no invasive procedures are involved here – such programmes are often highly efficient (the success rate is about 50-70%).
  • IVF programs with frozen donor eggs allows more flexibility when it comes to planning. However, this type of programme has certain limitations as well. Freezing and thawing oocytes may lower their quality which in turn can slightly reduce the success rate of infertility treatments by 5 to 10%. Yet in most cases, infertility clinics have extensive experience and proper equipment and are capable of neutralizing this issue successfully.
  • Double donation programs – the sperm from a bank is used instead of your partner, and donor eggs from young women. In that case, you may expect a higher number of embryos but the “genetic link” between child and parents will be missing as both partner and women gametes come from donors.

At EggDonationFriends IVF clinics listing pages, you can find out which overseas infertility centers perform which type of program, to what extent effectively, and at what cost.

What are the reasons to undergo IVF overseas?

There are many reasons for choosing overseas treatment which include lower costs, good regulated clinics, the wider availability of donors and treatments, shorter waiting lists, liberal fertility laws, and the high standard of care combined with better success rates.

Related reading:

What are the reasons to go for donor egg IVF abroad?

The reasons depends on patients individual situation usually connected with the patients home country where the egg donation may not be allowed by law, or egg donation cost is to high or it’s difficult to find an egg donor or the success rate of such program is not satisfactory for patient.

Undergoing IVF treatment with donor eggs abroad has many advantages. There are an increasing number of fertility clinics in in numerous countries offering egg donation programs and professional medical care to a very high standard. International couples, who decide to take a ‘pregnancy trip’ due to various reasons, are usually offered:

  • Easier access to certain services (e.g. no waiting lists, etc.);
  • High-quality infertility treatments at lower costs than in their home country;
  • Fertility clinics’ experience in the field of egg donation programs;
  • IVF centers and fertility specialists with an international reputation;
  • The attractive geographic location of fertility centres, so treatment can be combined with some time off in a holiday hot spot
  • The success rate of infertility treatment is higher than in national centres.

How long does IVF take with donor eggs?

Usually the treatment may take between 3-6 weeks depending on medical conditions of the recipient, egg donor availability.

Egg recipients should prepare themselves for IVF treatment with donor eggs by undergoing necessary medical examination and testing. If no contraindications occur the patient may begin an egg donor program which is likely to consist of the following stages:

  • An initial appointment with a fertility specialist;
  • Donor selection (parent-recipients should be assisted by a physician or embryologist);
  • Laboratory procedures (man deposits sperm to be used for donor’s eggs fertilization first – then embryos are cultured in the IVF lab);
  • A patient and embryo transfer preparation (woman takes medicines which make her uterus ready for taking the embryos; the embryo transfer procedure may require a short stay in a fertility centre).

If you are not sure whether you need to undergo an egg donor program, please consult an infertility specialist.

Donor egg IVF abroad – what’s important?

Before you make a final decision concerning your treatment abroad, think which of the above factors matter for you the most and ask for details in more than one fertility centre. What else is good to know?

  • Legal regulations in the country of your choice – e.g. limitations on donating and receiving gametes, requirements to be met by donors, donorship anonymity regulations, procedures allowed within IVF programs, limitation on the number of children born thanks to a single donor, etc. Age limit for patients, the maximum number of embryos to transfer within an IVF cycle.
  • Plan your travel and stay – find out the costs of travel, transfers and accommodation, check out where to seek help while your stay in a country, how to find your way around town, what places to see, etc.
  • Local healthcare conditions and standards – Please note that infertility treatment (including egg donation programmes) may lead to medical complications! As rare as they may be – it is highly advisable to know what aid you can count on in local hospitals. You may need to take specific medical documentation with you and/or purchase additional medical insurance prior to departure!
  • The most trustworthy, prestigious and credible IVF centres in a country – who are the best fertility clinics, who are the most reliable, who offers the most affordable treatments
  • Find out what other patients (past or present) have to say: Simply ask the community!

Related reading:

How do I prepare for IVF with donor eggs?

From a test perspective a number of interventions will assess the ability of your uterus to carry a pregnancy, tests will ensure you have no viral diseases such as rubella, cytomegalovirus, HIV and Hepatitis and you will tested for any existing infection. Non invasive preparation might involve access to counselling or changes to lifestyle and diet that are aimed to maintain or increase your general health.

How to choose a clinic for donor eggs IVF abroad?

Choosing a fertility centre to undergo infertility treatment is an important step! Before you take it, do consider a few things. Prior to selecting, please check:

  • Fertility centre’s overall experience in egg donor programme;
  • Fertility specialists’ qualifications and experience as well as the technological equipment used by the clinic;
  • Whether the IVF clinic has its own egg bank or uses an external supplier;
  • The waiting list for women looking for egg donors
  • How are egg donors evaluated/qualified (medical examination and verification);
  • What sort of information regarding egg donors is available to international patients;
  • IVF clinic’s full offer, medical procedures availability and pricing options – treatment costs;
  • Languages that are spoken by the clinic’s personnel;
  • The success rates of egg donation programs that are achieved by the fertility clinic.
  • The maximum age of a woman that can be qualified for the egg donor program
  • Treatment plan – is it possible to discuss it before visiting the centre
  • On-line and on-site counselling options with psychologist, doctor, nurse, midwife

When contacting an IVF clinic of fertility konsultant for the first time it is good to ask what the entire treatment process entails; how many visits will you have to make during your treatment and how long will each step last, what medical procedures are in use there and what assistance can you expect from the clinic (e.g. airport transfers, hotel booking, etc.).

Related reading:

What are the IVF clinics for patients over 40?

All leading private treatment providers offer IVF treatments to patients over 40 – in some countries where funded treatment is available like the U.K. this access may be restricted by age. Patients over 40 will be consulted and advised that age consideration plays an important part in the success of particular types of treatment therefore older patients may be asked to consider additional options including donor based treatment.

What are the IVF clinics for patients over 50?

A number of countries allow treatment providers a certain level of discretion when it comes to offering IVF to older women. Clinics in the U.K. offer a flexible approach based on the health of the patient (although this is not permissible within the NHS), Spanish clinics can offer treatments to patients up to age of 52 in particular circumstances, North Cyprus offers treatment to women up until the age of 55 if they fulfil certain criteria and clinics in Australia and India are recommended not to consider treating anyone over 50. In Russia, the Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, and the United States no official ceiling exists but patients are assessed individually.

Which country is best for fertility treatment?

This will depend on the individual patient. There are numerous options in Europe (Spain, Czech Republic, Greece, North Cyprus, Ukraine, Russia, Latvia) who provide first class facilities, experienced medical and scientific teams, strong legal frameworks, and excellent success rates. Wider afield, the United States offers all treatments in line with the best European providers albeit at a higher cost.

Is it cheaper to do IVF abroad?

This will depend on where the patient is based. For example, a UK based patient will find the Czech Republic far cheaper than treatment providers at home but a trip to a clinic in the United States would cost a lot more. Invariably however cost is one of the main determinants for patients who seek infertility treatment abroad – some 70-80% do so specifically because they find treatment cheaper than in their own country.

Where can I do IVF abroad?

Spain remains one of the most popular destinations for patients who travel for fertility treatment although there are a number of destinations that are increasingly popular. These include the Czech Republic, Greece and Cyprus who provide a service characterized by good success rates, cost and donor availability and countries like Russia and the Ukraine who offer more diverse treatments such as surrogacy. Outside Europe the United States remains popular with couples seeking treatments involving surrogacy and gender selection.

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What is the cheapest fertility treatment?

Many clinics will claim to offer the ‘cheapest’ IVF treatment available. It should be remembered that ‘cheap’ is not always the best therefore it is always best to consider such claims with a little bit of caution. Costs for infertility treatment abroad are however relative, dependent upon the country in which you are living and the treatment you seek. From a European perspective relatively cheaper treatments are charged in the Czech Republic, Cyprus, North Cyprus and Greece.

Can you do IVF in another country?

Leaving for one moment the extreme restrictions placed on travel due to the Covid 19 pandemic there are ordinarily no restrictions placed on travel to the popular IVF destinations – patients from all countries are accepted. However, some countries base limitations on the patient’s age and gender or relationship status as well as the type of treatment that can be offered.

How much does IVF cost in Spain?

IVF costs in Spain over the last decade have increased at a faster rate than some of the other fertility destinations in Europe. This is in part due to demand but also as a result of the investment made by treatment providers in staff teams, resources, and facilities as well as the established track record of providers spanning more than forty years. Continually high success rates however mean that the destination remains good value for money. Success rates Costs vary obviously but average costs for fertility treatments with own eggs are between €4,100 – €7,100 and egg donation treatments range from €5,900 to €11,000.

How much does IVF cost in Turkey?

In comparison to other countries fertility law in Turkey is quite conservative with IVF only being accessible by married, heterosexual couples. There is no statutory age restriction for women but in practice clinics will only treat women patients under 46. The average cost of IVF in Turkey is $2,500.

What is the best age for IVF?

As a rule of thumb fertility treatment is most successful for women under 35 where live births are achieved on average, in 1 in every 2 treatments. The percentage tapers with the woman’s age reducing to under 5% in women over 40 however this low success rate can be addressed with the use of donor eggs or embryos.

Is 37 too old for IVF?

No, IVF for women under 40 using their own eggs offers decent success rates, often resulting in live births in 40% of treatments undertaken. The age group also accounts for good success rates when undertaking donor treatment.

Is 50 too old for IVF?

Your chances of successful IVF treatment using your own eggs at 50 are far lower than if you were undergoing the same treatment at the age of 35. These chances however do rise if you receive donor eggs or embryos to a success rate which is comparable to someone younger. In addition IVF for older women increases your chances of miscarriages and other problems associated with the treatment.

Related reading

Do I need travel insurance for fertility treatment abroad?

It is very unlikely that your standard holiday insurance policy will cover you comprehensively for treatment in clinics abroad. You are already making a substantial financial investment in purchasing fertility treatment so do not cut costs when it comes to insurance, choose a specialist insurance company and policy to ensure all risks are covered.

EggDonationFriends.com gives you all the information you need to find the best fertility clinic in Europe. We have helpful guides to help you learn more about fertility treatment abroad.

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