IVF and Egg Donation in Ukraine

IVF egg donation Ukraine

Why should I choose Ukraine for my IVF treatment?

Ukraine is not the first country that springs to mind when patients think about travelling abroad for their treatment. It shouldn’t be dismissed off-hand, though; the small eastern-European country has much to offer, aside from its rich history, stunning architecture, and gorgeous natural landmarks. Reputable clinics in cities such as Kyiv and Lviv are quickly establishing Ukraine as an affordable and safe destination for fertility treatments. There are two major factors for that: significantly lower treatment costs (easily affordable for the so–called “middle income” patients) and no legal limit on the age of women accessing IVF procedures.

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IVF clinics in Ukraine

Ukraine is well on its way to becoming one of the preferred destinations for IVF treatments. According to the latest report (concerning 2014 – see below) published by the European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE), there were 38 clinics operating within the country in 2014. Over ten thousand own egg IVF cycles (and over three thousand egg donation cycles) were performed in Ukraine in that year – this includes patients coming from abroad.

Ukraine is one of the more popular choices for international tourists seeking fertility treatment, especially among those seeking a more economical option. As such, clinics are staffed with multilingual staff; English is commonly spoken. Some clinics even offer special treatment packages for patients from abroad, which include lodgings in local hotels.

Ukrainian IVF clinics must be accredited by the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and they undergo rigorous inspections to ensure good safety standards and high quality of care. Results of all IVF treatments in the country are sent to the Ukrainian Association of Reproductive Medicine (UARM), along with ESHRE. Only ESHRE publishes its data, however – often with a four-year delay. Below you can find data for 2014, as published in the 2018 ESHRE report.

IVF clinics in Ukraine - ESHRE data for 2014 (latest report published in 2018)1
Number of IVF clinics in Ukraine38
Number of IVF clinics in Ukraine reporting to ESHRE32
Own eggs cycles performed in Ukraine
(2014, ESHRE EIM REPORT)
10,515
Donor eggs cycles performed in Ukraine
(2014, ESHRE EIM REPORT)
3,196
IVF donor eggs - success rates
(pregnancies/embryo transfer)
56,2%
IVF with own egg - success rates
(aspirations - egg retrievals / embryo transfer)
19,8%

IVF treatment options in Ukraine

One of the main advantages of undergoing IVF treatment in Ukraine is its lack of legal limit in regards to women’s and men’s age – assuming, of course, that patients have no contraindications to pregnancy (in accordance with the order of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health).  Treatments are available to both married couples and single women. Unfortunately, none of IVF procedures are accessible to same–sex couples.

In Ukraine, egg donation is available with enforced anonymity – the same refers to sperm and embryo donations. It is recommended to transfer no more than 1–2 embryos to the uterine cavity (according to the order of the Ukrainian Ministry of Health). Social freezing of oocytes is permitted by law, as is sex selection of embryos for medical reasons. Testing such as PGS or PGD is also available to patients. Frozen oocytes and embryos can be stored indefinitely.

Ukraine differs from the majority of Europe in one key aspect – surrogacy is legal. It was legalised in 2002 and has enjoyed a steady level of popularity ever since. Unfortunately, the Ministry of Health does not release any data on surrogacy, so it’s difficult to estimate how popular the practice actually is.

IVF and Egg Donation in Ukraine - basic information
Maximum patient age52 years old for women, 59 years old for men
IVF treatments for single womenAllowed
IVF treatments for lesbian couplesNot allowed
Maximum number of embryos to transfer
IVF with donor eggs
2
Maximum number of embryos to transfer
IVF with own eggs

2
(3 if there are medical indications and the patient gives consent)
Egg donor availabilityVery good (Caucasian)
Egg donor age18-35
Egg donation in Ukraine

Egg donation in Ukraine

Egg donation in Ukraine

In Ukraine egg donation is anonymous – despite the fact that the main law on assisted reproductive technology does not define anonymity. However, most clinics keep their donors’ personal data private and minimise the access to it to the slightest possible degree. There is no central registry of donors, which potentially means they can donate indefinitely; however, many clinics operate according to ESHRE guidelines, which only permit six donations.

Although egg donation treatments in Ukraine are much cheaper when compared to other European countries, this does not imply worse conditions or less chances of success. According to data published by ESHRE, Ukrainian egg donation success rates are well above the European average – 56.20%!

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Egg donor information available in Ukraine

Ukrainian law permits egg donation from close relatives, anonymous voluntary donors and patients undergoing IVF treatments who give consent to donate their surplus eggs.

Egg donors are matched to the patient by their phenotype, that is, their visible characteristics – eye and hair colour, skin tone, height, weight, et cetera; genetic history, blood type and other factors can also be used. Some clinics even allow access to donor pictures, including those taken as a child, as well as tertiary information, such as educational history, athletic or musical skills, and others. Additional information like that, however, is not available in every clinic.

Egg donor qualifications

Ukrainian donors must be aged 18 to 35 and have at least one biological child. They are also required to be healthy, not be affected by any hereditary diseases, as well as be free of bad habits such as substance or alcohol abuse. They are also required to undergo several mandatory examinations to rule out infectious diseases.

Donor qualification tests required by law:

  • TORCH infections Ig G/M (Toxoplasmosis, Cytomegalovirus, Chlamydia, Rubella, Herpes 1 and 2)
  • Hepatitis B and C
  • HIV
  • T. Pallidum
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Karyotyping

In order to make sure that donors understand the full implications of the egg donation process, they are also required to undergo psychological examination.

Embryo donation in Ukraine

Embryo donations are available in two forms in Ukraine – couples undergoing IVF can donate their surplus embryos, or new embryos may be generated from two donors. Although not as common as egg donation, patients can be assured that the same safety standards apply in both cases.

IVF and Egg Donation cost in Ukraine

Ukraine is often quoted as one of the most affordable options for IVF treatment in Europe. The average price of egg donation treatment in Ukraine is €4,000 – €7,000 while single IVF cycle with own eggs costs about €2,200 to €5,200. The price, however, does not imply poor results or low quality of treatment, as we’ll see further down in the article.

IVF egg donation costs - Ukraine

Average egg donation costs in Ukraine 2

As you can see, Ukraine is among the cheapest destinations in Europe. 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 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 Ukraine

ESHRE is the European authority concerned with collecting and publishing data on fertility treatments in member countries; their reports, however, are published with a large delay. Their 2014 report (published in 2018) portrays Ukraine as a country very much enjoying a reputation for good treatment results, beating out even Spain in egg donation results. Own egg treatments are below the European average, although that may be explained by the fact that many IVF patients in Ukraine are in advanced maternal age.

IVF Success Rates in Ukraine (ESHRE 2014)
IVF in Ukraine averageESHRE European average
IVF donor eggs - success rates
(pregnancies/embryo transfer)
56.2%50.3%
IVF with own eggs - success rates
(aspirations - egg retrievals / embryo transfer)
19.8%27.2%

IVF success rates in Ukraine as compared to European averages. While Ukraine enjoys plenty of success in their egg donation programs, their own egg IVF cycles lag behind the European average.

IVF egg donation success Rates - Ukraine

Egg donation success rates in Ukraine3

Your individual chances for a successful IVF treatment in Ukraine

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 Ukraine – Law and Clinics Accreditation

The basic law setting out regulations and guidelines regarding Assistive Reproduction Technology in Ukraine is Order of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine of 09.09.2013 No. 7874, which sets out regulations and guidelines regarding Assistive Reproduction Technology, including IVF. This document, along with the Family Code of Ukraine, Basic Healthcare Law of Ukraine, and the Ukrainian Civil Code, dictate who can and cannot participate in IVF treatments.

When considering IVF treatment in Ukraine, one also has to take its unsure political situation into account. Over five years after the Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Ukrainian politics and economy are still far from stabilising. Additionally, as Ukraine is not a member of the European Union, patients would not benefit from the legal protection available to EU clinics.

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Resources:

1The presented data detailing the number of IVF procedures performed in Greece 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)
https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/33/9/1586/5055580

2 EggDonationFriends.com, data for 2018, own elaboration

3Data comes from 2014 ESHRE report, published in 2018. https://academic.oup.com/humrep/article/33/9/1586/5055580

4Order of the Ministry of Health on the approval of the use of reproductive technologies in Ukraine (09.09.2013, no. 787), http://zakon1.rada.gov.ua/laws/show/z1697-13