Why should I choose Spain for my IVF treatment?
Spain is the most popular IVF destination for international IVF patients nowadays – in fact, it has been ever since it passed its reproductive legislation in 2006. When it comes to fertility treatments, Spain offers safe, reliable and exceptionally high levels of medical standards. Liberal legislation allows for a wide range of fertility treatment procedures, regardless of marital status and sexual orientation. Egg donation is also very popular, with very short or instant waiting time reported by clinics.
IVF in Spain – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
There are no doubts that Spain is the most expensive European IVF destination – it is due to both very high standards of treatment and the wide availability of donors. The cost of a single own egg IVF cycle ranges from €4,100 to €8,200 while an egg donation cycle may cost from €5,900 to €11,000. Additionally, patients have to cover the costs of medical consultation with a doctor (€150 – €250) and remember that initial advertised prices may not reveal the full cost.
As Spain offers one of the most liberal IVF legislations in the world, IVF treatment is allowed for single women, married heterosexual and female homosexual couples equally. However, there is the legal age limit for female patients and it is 50 years old. Egg/sperm/embryo donation is allowed and anonymous – donor and patient identities are strictly guarded by the clinic. Social freezing of eggs is permitted, as well as embryo freezing. The same refers to the procedures such as ICSI, PGS, PGD or assisted hatching. The maximum number of embryos to transfer in both IVF with own eggs and IVF with donor eggs is 3. Lesbian couples are offered the ROPA method (Reception of Oocytes from Partner), known as “shared motherhood”.
Clinics in Spain are reporting their results to the SEF (Spanish Fertility Society) and SEF reports to European IVF Monitoring Consortium (EIM) for the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE). According to the ESHRE 2014 report (published in 2018), birth rates for IVF with own eggs in Spain were 32.9% (for patients under 35 years old), 27.4% (for patients aged 35-39) and 14.8 (for patients over 40). The birth rate for IVF treatment with donor eggs was 55.6% for all age groups.
The cities that are most willingly chosen by IVF patients are – at the same time – the most popular tourist destinations in Spain. These include Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante and Valencia. These are the places where most of Spain’s top fertility clinics are located, too.
The main piece of legislation regulating the conditions of IVF and other fertility treatments in Spain is the Law 14/2006 (of May 26), on human assisted reproduction techniques. Additionally, the Royal Decree Law 9/2014 dictates the quality and safety standards for the donation, handling and processing of human tissues and samples (oocytes, sperm, and embryos) as well as establishes operating protocols for working with patients.
The list of certified IVF centres in Spain is made available through the National Committee on Human Assisted Reproduction (Comisión Nacional de Reproducción Humana Asistida – CNRHA). The link can be found here: http://www.cnrha.mscbs.gob.es/registros/centros/home.htm and all the information is in Spanish.
IVF in Spain – basic information
|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|
|Gender selection||Not allowed for family balancing reasons|
Allowed only if there are medical reasons
|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 clinics in Spain
When you’re considering IVF with own eggs or egg donation in Spain, there are a number of good clinics to choose from. Spanish IVF clinics boast a well-deserved reputation for results and high standards of care. They 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, including those from the UK, Germany, France and Italy. Additionally, Spanish IVF clinics are usually and regularly chosen by international patients from the United States, Canada and Australia.
The most popular cities for IVF patients from abroad in Spain are Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante, and Valencia. If you do an online search using phrases such as “IVF in Madrid”, “IVF in Barcelona”, “IVF in Alicante”, “IVF in Valencia”, “egg donation in Spain” or “egg donation Madrid” you will find many IVF clinics that treat patients in these areas.
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 22,000 egg donation cycles were performed in Spain during 2016. This places the country as the number one destination for egg donation in Europe. The high success rates – well over 50% – prove how experienced Spanish clinics are.
IVF treatment options in Spain
Spain offers one of the most liberal legislations concerning IVF treatment – not only in Europe, but also in the whole of the IVF world. Single women, married heterosexual and female homosexual couples can equally qualify for assisted reproduction. The country is also impressive in terms of available treatment options. If you’re looking for the latest advances and techniques in IVF, you’ll probably find them in Spain.
There is a maximum legal limit as to how old a patient can be – 50 years in most cases. However, if there is such a need, some clinics may hold a case conference regarding older patients (up to 52) 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.
In Spain, egg donation as well as sperm and embryo donations are 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.
Featured Clinics in Spain
IVF for lesbian couples in Spain
Spanish law accommodates lesbian couples seeking IVF treatment. In addition to regular IVF using donor sperm, some clinics even offer the reciprocal IVF method, known as the ROPA method (Reception of Oocytes from Partner) or “shared motherhood”. Here, one of the women undergoes stimulation and provides the eggs, while the other receives the embryo and carries the pregnancy. Babies born using a ROPA treatment can be legally registered in Spain as having two mothers.
Spanish law regarding assisted reproduction – including IVF – is known to be quite liberal, compared to other European destinations. It 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 conditions.
Egg donation in Spain
Egg donation (as well as sperm and embryo donation) constitutes a significant part of reproductive medicine in Spain. Eggs come only from healthy women between the ages of 18 and 34, who donate freely and without financial compensation. Due to 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 waiting lists 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 colours, 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
Donors in Spain have to be between 18 and 34 years old. They go through a rigorous screening process during which they are examined for diseases and genetic abnormalities and also undergo a psychological interview to ensure they are both mentally and physically healthy.
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 – most of the clinics in Spain include the karyotype test, too.
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. Although they donate their eggs freely and without payment, they are reimbursed for expenses relating to donating (the amount, usually oscillates around €1000).
Each donor can only have six genetic offsprings; once the sixth child is born, the donor’s details are struck from the donor registry.
Embryo donation in Spain
Spanish law allows patients to donate their surplus embryos to adoption programmes. 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.
How much does IVF cost in Spain?
If we compare it with other European countries, Spain is definitely the top-shelf choice for fertility treatments. The cost of a single own egg IVF cycle ranges from €4,100 to €8,200 while an egg donation cycle may cost from €5,900 to €11,000.
IVF prices in Spain are higher than the European average, however, many international patients 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 to be considered.
As you can see, Spain is the most expensive European destination for egg donation treatments. It also needs to be noted that transparency is not always apparent; some clinics are not the best at highlighting additional costs which may be incurred during treatments. It is important therefore that you ask your clinic what specific costs are included in any quote. Costs could include;
- 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
Looking through IVF Spain success rates in google most of the results are drawn directly from the clinic’s own websites. Be aware of what clinics advertise on their websites as often values are very far from national averages showed by independent IVF bodies.
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 ESHRE - 2014 vs ESHRE average|
|ESHRE - SPAIN - 2014||ESHRE European average - 2014|
|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%. So there is strong evidence that in the case of egg donation in Spain, success rates are really impressive. 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 National Commission of Assisted Human Reproduction. The body of the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality, publishes regulations and inspects clinics in order to maintain a consistently high standard of care throughout the country.
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. Royal Decree – Law 9/2017, May 26 – Modification of Royal Decree – Law 9/2014, of July 4, which establishes the quality and safety standards for donation, obtaining, evaluation, processing, preservation, storage and distribution of cells and human tissues.
All centres are required to report their activity and clinical results to the Ministry of Health, which in 2019 signed a contract with the Spanish Fertility Society (SEF), in compliance with current regulations, so that the organization and operation of the National Registry Activity (with data from 2016 and 2017) are carried out by the aforementioned scientific society.Find Best IVF Clinics in Spain
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 Data comes from 2014 ESHRE report, published in 2018. https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/33/9/1586/5055580
9Spanish 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