Why should I choose Spain for my IVF treatment?
Ever since Spain passed its reproductive legislation in 2006, making IVF treatments accessible to any patient over the age of 18, it became the most popular destination for women seeking fertility treatments. Under Spanish law, IVF is available to any woman between the ages of 18 and 50, no matter if she’s married, single, or in a same-sex relationship; men of all ages also have access to fertility treatments. Egg donation is also very popular, with very short or instant wait times reported by clinics.Find IVF and Egg Donation Clinics in Spain
IVF Clinics in Spain
Over twenty thousand egg donation cycles and over fifty-one thousand own egg cycles were performed in Spain in 2016 alone. Their success rates demonstrate high success rates when compared with the European average, while the sheer amount of cycles performed speaks volumes about the popularity of treatments in Spain. Almost a third of those cycles were performed on foreign patients visiting Spain; their well-deserved reputation for results and a high standard of care makes Spain the first option considered by those seeking treatment abroad.
Because of that, clinics are often staffed with multilingual personnel and as a general rule have no problem assisting foreign patients. English is widely spoken, alongside other European languages, such as French, German, and Italian. Patients report very accommodating attitudes from doctors and other medical staff.
As Spain is part of the Schengen zone, visa-free travel is available for most Europeans, making treatment there as accessible as possible for patients from all over Europe. Patients from the UK, Germany, France, Italy, as well as those from the United States, Canada and Australia make up the majority of the foreign patients seeking treatment in Spain.
Clinics in Spain are required to report their results to the European IVF Monitoring Consortium (EIM), as well as the SEF – Spanish Fertility Society1. The results are then compiled into an annual report published by the European Society of Human Reproduction, ESHRE – and SEF – the Spanish Fertility Society. Below, you can find the data regarding Spain, as published in the 2016 SEF report.
|IVF clinics in Spain- SEF (Spanish Fertility Society) - data for 2016|
|Number of IVF clinics in Spain||240|
|Number of IVF clinis in Spain reporting to SEF||240|
|Own eggs cycles performed in Spain||51,591|
|Donor eggs cycles performed in Spain||22,982|
|IVF donor eggs - success rates|
|IVF with own egg - success rates|
(aspirations - egg retrievals / embryo transfer)
As you can see, over 22 thousand egg donation cycles were performed in Spain during 2016. This places the country as the number 1 destination for egg donation in Europe. The high success rate – well over 50% – proves how experienced Spanish clinics are.
IVF Treatment options in Spain
Basic information about IVF treatment in Spain – read before you go:
Spain offers one of the widest selections of treatment options – not only in Europe, but also the world over. Single mothers as well as women in lesbian relationships enjoy the same access to fertility assistance as heterosexual women.
There is a maximum legal limit as to how old a patient can be – fifty years old in most cases, although some clinics may hold a case conference regarding older patients based on individual circumstances. Conversely, there is no legal limit on the male partner’s age. Unlike other countries with stricter age policies, treatment options are the same for each patient.
Egg, sperm and embryo donation is permitted. All donation treatments are strictly anonymous, with donor and patient identities being strictly guarded by the clinic. Social freezing of eggs is permitted, as is embryo freezing. There is no limit as to how long frozen oocytes or embryos may be stored.
|IVF and Egg Donation in Spain|
|Maximum patient age||50|
(Some clinics may accept older patients based on individual circumstances)
|IVF treatments for single women||Allowed|
|IVF treatments for lesbian couples||Allowed|
|Maximum number of embryos to transfer |
IVF with donor eggs
|Maximum number of embryos to transfer |
IVF with own eggs
|Egg donor availability||Very good|
|Egg donor age||18-35|
IVF for Lesbian Couples in Spain
Spanish law accommodates lesbian couples seeking IVF treatment – there are no restrictions for homosexual women seeking treatment. In addition to regular IVF using donor sperm, some clinics even offer the reciprocal IVF method, where one of the women undergoes stimulation and provides the eggs, while the other receives the embryo and carries the pregnancy. This procedure is also known under the names ROPA method (Reception of Oocytes from Partner) and “shared motherhood”.
Spanish law regarding assisted reproduction – including IVF – does not make a distinction between women in heterosexual marriages, single women and those in same-sex relationships. As such, treatments are universally available without any additional inconveniences, unlike some other European destinations.
Egg Donation in Spain
A combination of strict anonymity laws and relatively high compensations paid out to donors makes Spain one of the top destinations for egg donation treatments; donors are plentiful and egg banks well-stocked. Because of Spain’s geographic location and ethnic makeup, it’s easy to find a match from most racial backgrounds. The popularity of donation treatments in Spain makes wait times almost non-existent – for most patients, a donor can be found almost instantly.Find Best Egg Donation Clinics in Spain
Egg donor information available in Spain
Spain’s anonymity requirements match those in other European countries; that is to say, total anonymity for patients and donors is guaranteed and enforced. Only in exceptional circumstances such as serious danger to the life or health of the child, or regarding Procedural Criminal Law matters can the identity of donors be revealed. Clinics are required by law to make a phenotype match between the donor and the patient. This means clinics match donors and patients using traits such as skin, hair and eye colors, height, weight, blood type, and others to perform the match. Some clinics, additionally, employ facial recognition technology in order to perform a closer match.
Egg donor qualifications
Oocyte donors in Spain are aged between 18 and 35. Standing legislation requires them to undergo testing for various diseases: cystic fibrosis, x-fragile syndrome, muscular spinal atrophy, panel recessive diseases, and more. They also undergo general bloodwork and karyotype analysis.
Donor qualification tests required by law:
- Blood type and Rhesus
- Cystic fibrosis (CF) mutation
- Muscular spinal atrophy
- Panel recessive diseases
- X-fragile syndrome testing
- Conventional karyotype.
The genetic history of the donor may also be verified.
Aside from medical testing, potential donors are also required to undergo a complete psychological examination. This ensures the donor understands every implication of the donation process. They also receive monetary compensation for each donation cycle they undergo. The precise amount is set by the Minister of Health and usually ranges around €1000.
Each donor can only have six genetic offspring; once the sixth child is born, the donor is struck from the donor registry. Some clinics, however, run egg banks and still accept donations from donors with six genetic children; their donations are then frozen and sold abroad.
Embryo donation in Spain
Spanish law allows patients to donate their surplus embryos to adoption programs. The rules for receiving an embryo donation are similar to those set for egg adoption – phenotype matching also applies here. If you decide to undergo an embryo adoption treatment, you can be sure the child will look like you.
Because the embryos were created during a previous IVF treatment, full medical history is available to the clinic, which means the procedure enjoys a high degree of safety and a relatively high success rate.
IVF and Egg Donation cost in Spain
If we compare it with other European countries, Spain is definitely the top-shelf choice for fertility treatments. The prices reflect that status, being slightly more expensive than in other destinations on the continent – a single own egg IVF cycle costs around €4,700, while an egg donation cycle runs about €6,500. This is higher than the European average, true; many patients, however, state that the benefits outweigh the costs. The high standard of care, the wide availability of donors and the high success rate are factors worth considering
Below you can compare the average costs of egg donation treatments in Spain with those of other countries. This average price includes the donor egg costs, donor compensation, ICSI fertilization, and embryo transfer.
As you can see, Spain is the most expensive European destination for egg donation treatments. It also needs to be remarked that some clinics aren’t upfront about additional fees accumulating during treatments; always be sure to ask your clinic of choice about whether these costs are included in their price quote:
- the donor’s fee, her medication and screening (if you’re interested in egg donation)
- egg retrieval
- sperm collection and sperm preparation
- assisted hatching (or any other IVF procedures you need)
- transfer of blastocysts
- vitrification (freezing) and storage of embryos/blastocysts
IVF Success Rates in Spain
As we mentioned previously, Spanish clinics are required to report their results to the SEF. The data published by SEF is very accurate and published annually in great detail, which makes it possible to not only compare overall results in specific years, but also specific clinics against each other.
Spain is one of the few countries which allows patients to check success rates of specific clinics in an independent source 3. Be mindful, however, that the SEF publishes its data with a year-long delay.
Below, you can compare the egg donation success rates in Spain based on the SEF reports for 2016, 2015, and 2014
SEF also published data regarding own egg treatments, which you can find below:
Other sources for IVF treatment statistics include ESHRE6 and the IVF Monitoring (EIM) Consortium7. ESHRE is the European authority concerned with collecting and publishing data about fertility treatments in member countries; their reports, however, are published with a large delay. Their 2014 report (published in 2018) paints a picture of Spain as a country enjoying a very high treatment success rate, especially when it comes to egg donation programs.
|IVF Success Rates in Spain (ESHRE 2014)|
|IVF in Spain average||ESHRE European average|
|IVF donor eggs - success rates|
|IVF with own eggs - success rates|
(aspirations - egg retrievals / embryo transfer)
IVF success rates in Spain as compared to other European countries according to ESHRE. As you can see, Spain is one of the leading countries in Europe.
Average success rates of donor egg IVF cycles in comparison to other European destinations:
It is apparent that the egg donation data published by SEF and ESHRE both corroborate each other to a large degree – according to ESHRE, the success rate in Spain is 55.6%, while SEF reports a figure of 54.3%. However, both reports differ when it comes to own egg treatments – this is due to a methodological difference in both reports.
IVF in Spain – Law and Clinics Accreditation
IVF treatments in Spain are regulated by the Spanish Fertility Society, which, alongside the Ministry of Health and its National Committee for Assisted Human Reproduction published regulations and inspects clinics in order to maintain a consistently high standard of care throughout the country.
Clinics report every treatment to both the Spanish Fertility Society and the European IVF Monitoring consortium. Because of the high degree of transparency required by law, Spanish clinics can boast a consistently solid track record.
The main piece of legislation dictating the conditions of access to IVF and other fertility treatments is National Law 14/20069, which was described by a 2009 comparative legal study as more flexible and permissive in comparison to other EU countries10. In addition to that document, the Royal Decree Law 9/2014 dictates the quality and safety standards for the donation, handling and processing of human tissues and samples – including oocytes, sperm, and embryos, in addition to establishing operating protocols for working with patients.
Because of these laws, IVF and associated treatments in Spain are available to every woman equally. This makes the country an especially attractive destination for single women and lesbian couples, treatment for whom may be restricted or otherwise inconvenienced elsewhere.
The legislation also sets out strict requirements for anonymity in cases of egg donation; a comprehensive list of required tests for donors makes up a significant part of the current assisted reproduction laws in the interest of donor and patient safety. This approach seems to be working very well – Spain is widely recognized amongst the world’s best destinations for IVF treatment, with a proven track record of successful treatments and satisfied patients.
1Informe Registro Nacional de Actividad 2016-Registro SEF – IA Y FIV/ICSI, 2016″
2 Eggdonationfriends.com, own elaboration, data for 2018
3SEF / IVF reports as per IVF clinic
4Spanish Fertility Society (SEF) is a scientific society that aims to promote studies on fertility and promote its application to social problems that are related to it.
5Spanish Fertility Society (SEF) is a scientific society that aims to promote studies on fertility and promote its application to social problems that are related to it.
6The presented data detailing the number of IVF procedures performed in Spain come from the 2014 ESHRE report, published in 2018. ESHRE reports are usually published with a three to four year delay.
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)
7The IVF Monitoring (EIM) Consortium is a group of representatives of national registries on assisted reproductive technology (ART), collecting data.
8 Eggdonationfriends.com, own elaboration, data for 2014
9 Spanish law 14/206https://www.boe.es/buscar/doc.php?id=BOE-A-2006-9292
10Comparative law study in the work of Abellán, F. Sánchez -Caro, J. (2009). Bioethics and Law Assisted Human Reproduction. Manual of clinical cases, Granada. Health Foundation 2000 and Comares
Last update: 29.04.2019