Why should I choose Latvia for my IVF treatment?
The scenic Latvia is home to many stunning views and architectural wonders. What the country is not yet famous for is its ability to offer high quality fertility treatments, however is has become one of the most reliable and quality fertility treatment providers in Europe. An important advantage is the fact that Latvia belongs to both the European Union and the Schengen area. Looking for a perfect place for IVF? Riga (Latvia capital) may be an option to consider.
IVF in Latvia – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Latvia can boast the impressively high standards of diagnostics and treatment as well as professional and experienced infertility specialists at hand. The cost of average egg donation treatment is €5,000 – €8,000 while the prices of single IVF cycle with own eggs range from €3,200 to €6,200.
In Latvia, only single women and heterosexual couples are allowed for IVF treatment, with no legal age limit for either women or men. Egg and embryo donations are allowed and anonymous. Preimplantation diagnostics such as PGS and PGD are available and sex selection is allowed only in medically justified cases.
Unfortunately, only few clinics are reporting their results to the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE). According the ESHRE 2014 report, the overall birth rates for IVF with own eggs were 22.3% (for patients under 35 years old), 24.5% (for patients aged 35-39) and 3.2% (for patients over 40). The birth rate for IVF treatment with donor eggs was 50.9% for all age groups.
The most willingly chosen city for IVF treatment in Latvia is its capital, Riga. It is the place where most Latvian IVF clinics are located.
The basic law of in vitro fertilisation in Latvia is Sexual and Reproductive Health Law, passed back in 2002. There are also specific regulations approved by the Cabinet of Ministers, such as Regulation No.716 („Organisational Procedures for the medical impregnation and procedures for the establishment of an infertile families register, medical impregnation register and gamete donor register, as well as for the establishment of the gamete donor bank”) or Regulation No.1176 (“Regulations Regarding the Use of Human Tissues and Cells”).
IVF patients travelling to Latvia for IVF treatment may contact the Cross–Border
Healthcare Contact Point at the National Health Service. It is an information centre, providing the information on the Latvian national healthcare system as well as on the procedures required for obtaining the cross–border healthcare services. Its contact details are found on the following website: http://www.vmnvd.gov.lv/en/cross–border–healthcare–contact–point/
IVF in Latvia – basic information
|IVF and Egg Donation in Latvia - basic information|
|Maximum patient age||Not specified by legislation, decided by each clinic individually|
|IVF treatments for single women||Allowed|
|IVF treatments for lesbian couples||Not allowed|
|Maximum number of embryos to transfer |
IVF with donor eggs
|Maximum number of embryos to transfer |
IVF with own eggs
|Egg donor availability||Good|
|Egg donor age||18-34|
IVF clinics in Latvia
According to the 2014 report by the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), there were only five clinics in Latvia in that year, with only three reporting their results directly to ESHRE. But don’t let yourself be fooled by that number, though. Latvian clinics offer high standards of care and follow modern procedures for safe and effective IVF. Riga, Latvia, is the place where most of those clinics are located.
The country often serves foreign patients seeking affordable treatments with Lithuanians and Estonians arriving in large numbers. Latvia is also increasing in popularity as a destination for patients from Scandinavia, Germany and the United Kingdom. Clinics reflect that reality by often offering additional patient services, such as having translators and personal coordinators on hand. Most medical staff in Latvia speak English, while some may also speak additional languages, such as Russian.
Results from Latvian clinics submitted to ESHRE are compiled into yearly aggregate reports; these, however, like others from other countries, are often published with a large delay. The report for the year 2014 was published in 2018. You can find data concerning Latvian treatment efficacy from the 2014 ESHRE1 report below:
|IVF clinics in Latvia- ESHRE data for 2014 (latest report published in 2018)|
|Number of IVF clinics in Latvia||5|
|Number of IVF clinics in Latvia reporting to ESHRE||3|
|Own eggs cycles performed in Latvia||480|
|Donor eggs cycles performed in Latvia||144|
|IVF donor eggs - success rates|
|IVF with own egg - success rates|
(aspirations - egg retrievals / embryo transfer)
IVF treatment options in Latvia
Current Latvian law permits access to fertility treatments only to single women and heterosexual couples. However, women in same-sex relationships may be treated by some of the clinics – assuming one partner states that she is single.
One unusual thing about Latvia is that their assisted reproduction laws do not specify an upper age limit for either women or men. Latvian IVF clinics decide on cases individually, which can make the country an attractive destination for older patients. In order to make the best choice, always remember to ask your clinic if they have an age limit in place.
Gamete and embryo donations are allowed. Although there is no legal requirement, the approved guidelines recommend a single embryo transfer for all the patients with good prognosis. The same guidelines do not recommend the transfer of three or more embryos. Donations anonymity is clearly required by the law. Parents are only allowed access to the donor’s genetic and phenotypic data.
Modern pre-implantation diagnostics such as PGS and PGD are available to patients. Sex selection as a result of these diagnostics is only allowed in medically justified cases – for instance, if there is a significant possibility of the child being born with a genetic disorder related to the sex chromosomes.
IVF egg donation in Latvia
According to the Latvian law, egg, sperm and embryo donation is anonymous. The donors’ personal data is collected and entered into the nationwide donor registry where confidentiality is maintained by the Latvian Ministry of Health. It is important to mention here that because of the country’s small population (around 2 million – according to 2019 estimations) and ethnic makeup, donor diversity is rather limited.
Accounting for the small number of IVF treatments taking place in Latvia overall, egg donation is a popular choice – in 2014, 144 egg donation cycles were performed, compared to 480 own egg cycles.Find Best IVF Clinics in Latvia
Egg donor information available in Latvia
Although Latvian law requires strict anonymity with regard to the donors, patients have access to some basic genetic and phenotypic information, such as a description of their appearance (height, weight, skin tone, hair and eye colours, etc.), their blood type, and their genetic history.
Latvian law does not specify a procedure in which donors and patients are matched. Instead, each clinic has its own matching method. While most of them follow guidelines from ESHRE and other related advisory bodies, it is always worth making sure what the matching process is at a given clinic and what information about the donor would be made available to you as a patient.
Egg donor qualifications in Latvia
Potential donors in Latvia must satisfy several criteria in order to be able to donate. First of all, donors must be between the ages of 18 and 35 (in case of women) and 18 and 45 (in case of men). They are selected on the basis of their age, health and medical history, and they also have to submit an assessment made by a psychiatrist and a narcologist.
Donor qualification tests required by law:
- Anti–HIV–1 and HIV–2
Depending on the donor’s travel and exposure history, additional testing may be required including tests for RhD, malaria, CMV and T. cruzi. Sometimes Latvian IVF clinics also include karyotyping testing (as recommended by ESHRE) as well they as microbiological and pap smears and ultrasound examinations on egg donors.
IVF and egg donation cost in Latvia
Latvia’s relatively high standards of care come at a price. The average egg donation treatment in Latvia is €5,000 – €8,000 while the prices of single IVF cycle with own eggs range from €3,200 to €6,200. These prices are surely higher than in nearby destinations, such as Poland or Russia.
It also needs to be remarked that some clinics may not be as transparent about additional fees accumulating over the course of treatment; always be sure to ask your clinic of choice about whether these costs are included in their price quote:
- the donor’s fee, her medications and screening (if you’re interested in egg donation)
- egg retrieval
- sperm collection and preparation
- assisted hatching (or any other IVF procedure you require)
- blastocyst transfer
- vitrification (freezing) and storage of embryos/blastocysts
IVF success rates in Latvia
According to the 2014 ESHRE report, Latvian success rates are comparable with other European countries. Own egg treatments had an average success rate of 22.3% for women younger than 34 years old, compared to the reported European average of 29.0%. Egg donation treatments had a success rate of 50.9%, while the average in Europe was 50.3%.
|IVF Success Rates in Latvia (ESHRE 2014)|
|IVF in Latvia||ESHRE European average|
|IVF donor eggs - success rates|
|IVF with own eggs - success rates|
(aspirations - egg retrievals / embryo transfer)
IVF in Latvia – Law and Clinics Accreditation
Latvia passed its initial Sexual and Reproductive Health Law4 back in 2002. It laid out the legislative foundations for diagnosing and treating infertility. Articles 13 through 15 deal with assisted reproduction, establishing that both heterosexual couples and single women could undergo IVF procedures, whether with their own gametes, or those of a donor. Article 15 forbids, among other things, sex selection (except for medically justified reasons) and transferring more than three embryos in a single cycle.
This law was then augmented by several regulations passed by the Latvian parliament. Regulation 7165, passed in 2003, set forth the rules for setting up donor gamete banks, as well as established the registries of infertile families, assisted reproduction procedures and gamete donors. It also clarified the process of performing assisted reproduction treatments.
Two additional resolutions followed – no. 208 in 20076 and no. 1176 in 20137 slightly changing the procedures and protocols for obtaining, handling, and storing human tissues and cells. These changes brought the Latvian legislation more in-line with the European recommendations and regulations.Find Best IVF Clinics in Latvia
1 ART in Europe, 2014: results generated from European registries by ESHRE: The European IVF-monitoring Consortium (EIM) for the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/33/9/1586/5055580
2EggDonationFriends.com, data for 2018, own elaboration
3 Data comes from 2014 ESHRE report, published in 2018. https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/33/9/1586/5055580
4 Latvian Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2002, http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_protect/—protrav/—ilo_aids/documents/legaldocument/wcms_127921.pdf
5 Procedures for Organising Medical Insemination and Procedures for Establishing a Register of Infertile Families, Medical Fertilisation Register, Gamete Donor Register and Gamete Banks, https://likumi.lv/ta/id/82281-mediciniskas-apauglosanas-organizatoriska-kartiba-un-neaugligo-gimenu-registra-mediciniskas-apauglosanas-registra
6 Procedures for obtaining, storage and use of human tissues and organs, https://likumi.lv/ta/id/155224-cilveka-audu-un-organu-uzkrasanas-uzglabasanas-un-izmantosanas-kartiba
7 Procedures for using human tissues and cells, https://likumi.lv/ta/id/261810-cilveka-audu-un-sunu-izmantosanas-kartiba