IVF and egg donation in North Cyprus

IVF egg donation in North Cyprus

Why should I choose North Cyprus for my IVF treatment?

Let’s start with a few geopolitical facts. Cyprus, one of the largest islands in the Mediterranean, has been divided politically for over 40 years. Nowadays it consists of two parts – the Republic of Cyprus, located in the south and west, and the Turkish-controlled Republic of Northern Cyprus. As the European Union has special legal arrangements for North Cyprus (which is not considered a ‘state in terms of EU regulations), this part of the island is to be differentiated from its southern neighbour. It refers to IVF treatment regulations, too.

When it comes to IVF and egg donation, Northern Cyprus remains one of the most popular destinations for patients from Western Europe, Turkey and the Middle Eastern countries. The two most important reasons for this state of affairs are significantly lower treatment costs and quite liberal IVF regulations (as compared with the rest of Europe). Add to it good healthcare facilities, easy travel options and holiday surroundings helpful in relieving IVF cycle stress, and you get a highly competitive offer in regards to the most popular European destinations (such as Spain or the Czech Republic). Two most popular and largest cities in Northern Cyprus are Nicosia and Kyrenia, rich in cultural heritage and tourist attractions. There is also where most IVF clinics are located.

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IVF clinics in North Cyprus

While there are 14 IVF clinics operating on Northern Cyprus, only 5 of them comply with the latest regulations that came in force in 2014. However, the 9 remaining clinics, still certified by the Ministry of Health, are obliged to make the necessary changes by the end of 2019.

As Northern Cyprus is still not recognised by any country other than Turkey, its IVF clinics are not obliged to report their results and success rates to any international monitoring organisations, e.g. ESHRE1. Because of that it is not possible to independently verify the exact number of clinics in operation, their efficiency and the quality of treatment. Today our official knowledge on IVF clinics in North Cyprus is still limited. We have personally visited all the local clinics and have chosen to show only those that represent a satisfactory level of medical services and good customer service. It is surely an important thing to bear in mind before deciding on your fertility treatment at that very destination.

IVF treatment options in North Cyprus

What surely differentiates North Cyprus from other European IVF destinations is its wide choice of treatment options. Additionally, the regulations are quite liberal what highly influences North Cyprus popularity among foreign IVF patients.

In North Cyprus, the maximum age for a female patient is 58, providing the woman meets certain criteria and has undergone specific tests. However, all the cases of patients over 55 y.o. are submitted to the Ministry of Health and the ethics committee for review and approval. Only upon their approving decision, the treatment can be continued. The age limit for a male partner is 65 but, under some special circumstances, the ethics committee may decide about a few years more. The fertility assistance is not limited to opposite sex couples – both single women and women in lesbian relationships are accepted (although officially the latter option is not mentioned in the law). Anonymity in IVF treatment offered by North Cyprus is a rule. Both egg and sperm donors can keep their identity private, embryo donation is anonymous as well.

Social freezing of eggs is permitted, as well as embryo freezing. The storage time of frozen oocytes or embryos depends on patients’ age and health. Fertility treatment choices on North Cyprus also include pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (both PGS and PGD) what is extremely crucial in preventing certain genetic diseases or disorders from being passed on to the child. Sex selection is generally allowed for medical indications.

IVF and Egg Donation in North Cyprus - basic information
Maximum patient age45(55)
(50-55 years if patients meet certain criteria and have undergone specific tests)
IVF treatments for single womenAllowed
IVF treatments for lesbian couplesAllowed
Maximum number of embryos to transfer
IVF with donor eggs
3
Maximum number of embryos to transfer
IVF with own eggs
3
Egg donor availabilityVery good
Egg donor age18-34
egg donation in North Cyprus

Egg donation in North Cyprus

Egg donation in North Cyprus

If you are interested mainly in egg donation, Northern Cyprus may be a reasonable option for you. Anonymity of egg donors is strictly protected and even grown-up children cannot seek their birth parents if they wish to. Allowing people to donate anonymously increases donation levels what results in a larger donor pool and consequently, shorter waiting lists. That combined with an obligatory phenotype matching of a donor and a recipient may be a deciding factor for patients searching for IVF treatment opportunities in Europe.

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Egg donor information available in North Cyprus

As mentioned before, egg donation is anonymous what means that neither donor’s personal information nor her pictures are available to IVF patients and their future children. Unlike in e.g. UK, donor kids will not get identifying information about their donor even after they are 18 so donors may keep their privacy until the end of their life.

In spite of that, egg donor recipients still have access to a lot of necessary facts about the donor. It refers to physical features like race, eyes and hair colour, height or weight as well as to the type of completed education and skills. One may also learn how old the donor is, what blood type and Rh factor she has and how many children she’s already got. All of that helps to make thoughtful and reasonable decision and choose the donor that suits your family in the best possible way.

Egg donor qualifications

North Cyprus is popular for its rather liberal attitude towards IVF treatment but it does not mean there are no legal restrictions or indications to obey. Generally, a donor should not be older than 34 years old and she has to undergo a qualification process involving testing for infectious diseases.

Donor qualification tests required by law:

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Anti– HCV
  • RPR – VDR
  • HTLV – I/II
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea

Donors also have to undergo genetic tests to identify the risk of the most common genetic disorders (thalassaemia, sickle cell disease, cystic fibrosis and karyotype). Besides, the donor’s blood type is determined and they have to undergo a psychological screening.

Embryo donation in North Cyprus

Embryo donation is allowed in North Cyprus. Just like in case of egg donation, it is anonymous so the donors’ identity will never be known by the recipients. The maximum number of embryos allowed to be transferred during IVF is 3. One of the biggest advantages of embryo donation is the fact that both sperm and egg donor’s medical data is well-known to the clinic. They have been already used in successful IVF treatments so they assure safety and quality.

IVF and egg donation cost in North Cyprus

Another good news is a reasonable budget for donor egg IVF procedures. North Cyprus is surely one of the more affordable destinations for infertility patients and a significant saving, especially when you plan to spend more on travelling and accommodation during your treatment.

The average cost of egg donation treatment in North Cyprus ranges from €4,500 to €6,000 while single IVF cycle with own eggs will require you to spend from € 2,700 to €5,700.

IVF egg donation costs - North Costs

IVF egg donation costs in North Cyprus2

However, let’s not forget that price offers clinics share with public may not always include all the important additional services. In order to know beforehand what you’re getting into, always check if there are not any shortcuts or hidden extras. It is definitely worth enquiring if the presented price contains the following components:

  • the donor’s fee, her medications and screening (if you’re interested in egg donation)
  • egg retrieval
  • sperm collection and sperm preparation
  • ICSI
  • assisted hatching (or any other IVF procedures you need)
  • transfer of blastocysts
  • vitrification (freezing) and storage of embryos/blastocysts

IVF success rates in North Cyprus

IVF treatment success rates depend on a number of factors, most important of which are patient’s own fertility assessment parameters. Good clinics cannot assure one’s chances of success with IVF treatment but they can surely boost them. We assume that good fertility clinics in North Cyprus should not fall short of average European IVF success rates published by ESHRE.

We’ve already mentioned that in North Cyprus there is no central register or outer medical organisation that executes control over clinics’ success rates. Hence, assessing their results from an independent point of view is almost impossible and we can rely entirely on the numbers and opinions they give us. Before deciding on a treatment, it is always recommendable to check if the clinic you’ve chosen is fully accredited and regulated by a governing body.

The information on accredited assisted reproduction centres can be found on the Ministry of Health website: https://saglik.gov.ct.tr/. However, the information may not be updated and the webpage is entirely in Turkish.

Your individual chances for a successful IVF treatment in North Cyprus

Remember that average success rates shouldn’t be the primary deciding factor for your choice of clinic. Each patient is different – they have different infertility diagnoses and medical histories. As such, the prognoses for each patient can vary greatly and usually are different from the presented average success rates of each clinic. If you’re concerned with the success rates, call the clinic before scheduling an appointment – describe your medical history in detail, including your age, weight, height, the infertility diagnosis, the number of failed cycles, performed tests and procedures etc. and ask for your individual success prognosis.

 

IVF in North Cyprus – Law and Clinics Accreditation

IVF treatment in North Cyprus is regulated by the local Ministry of Health which is a national governing body for fertility clinics in this part of the island. In order to operate and perform IVF procedures, a clinic needs a licence issued by the ministerial Coordination Committee. The licensed clinics are subject to compliance inspections every year. Apart from that, doctors carrying out IVF treatment and responsible for eggs and embryo transfers have to possess adequate certificates and licenses, too.

The most important piece of legislation regarding assisted reproductive laws and directives is Regulation on Reproductive Treatment Methods (Organ Nakli Yasası Tüp bebek Tüzüğü)3. In addition to that document, there is also Reproductive Treatment Centres Regulation4 that describes the operation standards and procedures for fertility treatment in IVF clinics.

Patients have to remember that North Cyprus is the self-proclaimed state recognised only by Turkey and although it is a part of the European Union, the EU law does not apply there. It is especially important in terms of potential lawsuit claims – you have to realise that seeking legal solutions in local courts might be extremely complicated.

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Resources:

1 European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE)
https://www.eshre.eu/Data-collection-and-research

2 EggDonationFriends.com, data for 2018, own elaboration

3 Reproductive Treatment Centres and Regulation on Reproductive Treatment Methods
http://www.mahkemeler.net/tuzuk/381-2016.pdf
http://www.mahkemeler.net/tuzuk/503-2016.pdf

4 Reproductive Treatment Centres Regulation
http://www.mahkemeler.net/tuzuk/20130221133557052.pdf

Last update: 29.04.2018

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