Fertility patients from the USA often choose Mexico as an option for IVF and donor egg treatment. Americans, who choose to travel abroad for IVF mainly opt for Spain, the Czech Republic and Mexico. In this article, we will focus on Mexico as the most convenient destination for North Americans. IVF patients from the USA are attracted to this destination mainly due to the easy travel, low cost of IVF in Mexico, treatment success rates and egg donor availability. Travelling to Mexico is easy: short-haul flights are available from all American states, and even a flight from northern states like Minnesota to Cancun takes less than 4 hours. Mexico has a plethora of destinations highly specialised in treating infertility, for example, the abovementioned Cancun, seen as one of the most popular destinations in reproductive medicine.
the most frequently chosen IVF destinations by Americans
Mexico as a leading IVF destination for egg donation treatment
Mexico has become one of the leading hotspots for infertility treatment for North Americans. There are no legal regulations that restrict or prohibit in vitro treatment or egg donation treatment in Mexican clinics. What is more, Mexican clinics offer a variety of additional procedures that can boost your chances of becoming pregnant. They also offer services like gender selection (family balancing) for those couples wishing to have a child of a certain sex. In most countries around the world gender selection is widely prohibited and not practised in fertility clinics, however, Mexico is an exception. Family balancing using PGD is legal in Mexico, as the country does not have laws restricting or prohibiting such practice.
The usage of egg oocytes and semen is regulated by the General Law of Health in Mexico and the National Center of Transplants, the Directory of State Councils and Centers for Transplantation and Hospitals licensed to carry out transplants.
In addition egg, sperm and embryo donation are entirely legal in Mexico and there are plenty of IVF clinics offering such treatment to international patients. Patients preferring embryo donation can also benefit from such treatment – donating embryos is also legal and widely accessible in Mexican clinics. These types of treatments are governed in Mexico by the principles of altruism and are carried out on a not-for-profit basis. Donors may receive compensation for the costs they incurred by their egg or sperm donation.
According to law, the State of Mexico allows access to IVF as long as it is voluntary. Assisted reproduction through various methods of artificial insemination (IUI, IVF) may only be undertaken with the consent of the female patient undergoing the procedure. What is more, a married woman may not undergo IVF treatment without the consent of her spouse.
When it comes to single women and lesbian couples, there is no legislation prohibiting such practice. IVF for single women and same-sex female couples is allowed and is performed under the informed consent of the recipient and the donor. For those patients, sperm banks are available throughout the country.
Egg donation in Mexico is also available to same-sex male couples who want to have children. Many clinics have surrogacy services and, thanks to donor eggs and a gestational carrier, same-sex male couples can have the chance to have offspring carrying one of their genes.
Maximum recipient’s age – IVF with donor eggs in Mexico
Again, there are no legal restrictions. Some clinics accept female patients over 50 as long as they are in optimal health from a metabolic, oncological, hormonal and reproductive point of view.
Maximum number of fertilized eggs and embryos transferred
There are no laws defining the legal maximum number of embryos transferred in Mexico. However, Mexican fertility doctors recommend transferring one or two embryos, depending on the patient’s individual circumstances. Moreover, Mexican law does not prevent doctors from fertilizing all eggs received from the donor.
Sex selection (family balancing) in Mexico
Gender selection using PGD is not legislated against in Mexico and it is allowed when patients wish to balance their family and avoid genetic diseases linked to the specific sex of the baby.
PGD (Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis) is a method used to establish the genetic makeup of an embryo, including any genetic conditions. This is done on day 3 of embryo development and before the embryo is transferred to the recipient patient’s uterus. With PGD, embryologists are able to determine the embryo’s gender, as this is a chromosome function. The procedure is virtually 100% effective in diagnosing the sex of the future baby.
You should remember that PGD is only a diagnostic tool. Based on PGD results, embryologists are able to select the best, most healthy embryos that will have the highest chances of implantation and can develop into a healthy baby free from genetic diseases. Choosing the best quality embryos for transfer is crucial in avoiding aneuploidy (severe chromosomal malformations in embryos), which may lead to recurrent miscarriages or babies being born with severe malformations that later impact their quality of life.
Also, if genetic diseases such as haemophilia, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy or sickle cell anaemia run in your family, IVF with PGD could be the solution you need. As we mentioned above, PGD is only a diagnostic tool that allows doctors to determine the sex chromosomes of your embryo. In Mexico, doctors can select female or male embryos for the patient’s embryo transfer. This way you can also eliminate genetic diseases that are linked to boys or girls.
So how exactly is gender selection performed? Doctors in Mexico use a number of methods like fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH), MicroSort® or Sperm-Sort. FISH is the most prevalent sex selection procedure used in Cancun, Mexico, and uses fluorescent probes that attract specific chromosomes. The probes, labelled X or Y, attach themselves to chromosomes and can be seen under a fluorescent microscope. Embryologists then perform an embryo biopsy to determine the embryos’ gender.
If you are interested in family balancing services in Mexico, you can also check MicroSort® technology that helps couples have a baby of a desired gender. At the moment, this method is only offered in LIV Fertility Center in Mexico which has the only licenced laboratory to perform MicroSort® in Mexico. The technology works as semen samples typically contain an equal number of sperm carrying the male chromosome (Y) and sperm carrying the female chromosome (X). Depending on the chromosome the sperm is carrying, the sperm cells are split into two groups: sperm that either carries the X or Y chromosome. This method can be performed in many ART procedures IUI, IVF, ICSI, PGS or PGD. At this particular clinic, there are requirements for patients wishing to use MicroSort®. Such intended parents must:
- have at least one child
- select the gender that is underrepresented in the family
- test negative for HIV, Hepatitis B surface antigen and the Hepatitis C antibody.
Fertility Centre in Mexico uses a similar method called Sperm-Sort to enrich sperm fractions so that they contain more of the female or male chromosomes. The sample created is very small so ICSI procedure has to be used in order to fertilize the eggs. The clinic reports high success rates for creating female sperm and about 75-80% efficiency to enrich a fraction with “male sperm”.
How can I know that egg recipients and egg donors are safe and protected by law in Mexico?
There are specific laws on egg donors and recipients. Nevertheless, egg donors and egg recipients are asked to sign an informed consent, where the implications of the treatment are fully explained. Therefore, when donating eggs or receiving egg donation treatment women are fully aware of the implications, their rights and the risks.
Is IVF treatment for HIV-positive patients possible?
In some Mexican clinics, there are no barriers to offering IVF treatment to HIV-positive male patients. Fertility Clinic Americas has the technology and expertise to perform such treatment safely and successfully. They believe that everyone deserves to have a family. The clinic offers sperm washing techniques that eliminate the risk of transmitting the virus to the offspring.
HIV virus does not infect the spermatozoids themselves but is still present in semen. The procedure isolates sperm from the rest of the semen so that HIV viral particles float freely. The doctors can also use various medications to suppress HIV to undetectable levels. As a result, transmitting the virus becomes incredibly unlikely.
How much is egg donation and IVF in Mexico?
The biggest driving factor for patients from the USA is the low IVF cost in Mexico. If you compare the cost of an egg donation cycle in American clinics with the cost in Mexican clinics, it turns out that in Mexico you can have, on average, three egg donation programmes for the price of one in the USA, even after factoring in associated expenses like accommodation or food.
|IVF with donor eggs|
No matter which Mexican city you choose, Cancun or Tijuana, you are likely to pay 60% less than in any American fertility clinic. For instance, a fresh egg donation cycle may cost you approximately $18,000 in the United States, compared to only $8,000 in Mexico. Some couples can even pay as much as $40,000 or $50,000 for the complete treatment in the USA. Sarah Kowalski from Motherhood Reimagined spent only $7,500 in Mexico instead of the over $40,000 which she would have paid if she had been treated in the US. She is now the happy mom of a healthy boy.
The cost of IVF in Mexico usually is lower for repeated treatments, particularly if you have chosen to have frozen egg donation cycles. Such discounts are not always offered in European clinics but it seems only fair for patients to offer lower prices after a failed cycle. What is more, Mexico is a patient-friendly destination as most of its clinics also offer frozen donor programs.
“This may be useful when the recipient´s endometrium is not ready to receive the eggs yet. So instead of transferring the oocytes fresh, the clinic is able to vitrify them. Also, there are many banks of frozen oocytes with eggs from donors with different phenotypes,” says Salomé López, Business Development Manager at Unidad de Reproducción Ciudad de México.
Why is IVF in Mexico so affordable?
First of all, there is a high level of competition between the clinics and even the best fertility centers keep their prices low. Second of all, the cost of running a medical facility in Mexico is low compared to the US and Canada. This is why Mexican fertility clinics manage to keep their costs low, while offering patients attractive prices with quality care. There are many patients from countries above travelling for egg donation to Europe. One of the popular IVF destination is Spain. IVF in Spain is cheaper than in the US even though Spain is one of the most expensive destinations in Europe. There are also patients choosing IVF in Greece or IVF in Czech Republic which are significantly cheaper than Spain.
The quality of IVF treatment and customer service in IVF clinics in Mexico
Even though the quality of IVF treatment in American fertility clinics is very high, IVF in the USA is very expensive and exceeds the budget of many prospective patients. The cost of treatment and funding methods are popular topics on almost every IVF Facebook group or patient forum. Those who are considering having IVF treatment in Mexico can count on lower prices, but, at the same time, might be wondering if the quality of treatment and customer service is of the same high standard as in the US.
There are plenty of fertility clinics in Mexico that adhere to strict international standards. There are also many medical facilities that are accredited by the Joint Commission International. JCI is one of the most prestigious, widely known accreditation schemes. Fertility clinics in Mexico that are accredited by the JCI are known to have high standards in health and patient safety.
You might not know that many European fertility centres have opened their own IVF clinics in Mexico. IVF Clinics in Europe are known for their high-quality IVF treatments, excellent success rates and their professional approach to international patients. Consequently, patients from the USA can benefit from the best standards of care in Mexico. Clinics do not just employ doctors and nurses. Apart from doctors, embryologists and IVF nurses, any reliable fertility clinic employs an array of various professionals such as patient advisors and coordinators, a financial team, and medical assistants, who will guide and assist you step by step throughout the IVF treatment in Mexico.
Mexico is the most often chosen IVF destination by Americans, however, Mexican clinics are also popular with and accept patients from other countries and continents as well. That is why it is so important that they offer a variety of extra services to those who travel from abroad. Most Mexican clinics are happy to assist their patients with travel, accommodation and airport transfers to make their fertility journey as stress-free as possible. If you are a US patient travelling to Mexico for IVF, you can expect comprehensive support from a specially dedicated International Patient Support team. Your treatment plan can be coordinated remotely and you can receive comprehensive information before you even visit the clinic in person.
Are egg donors anonymous in Mexico?
Egg donation in Mexico is anonymous so donors’ photos are not available.
“There are some cases when we have access to the pictures of the donors but they can be only available in some cases,” says Amanda García Gámez from Unidad de Reproducción Ciudad de México.
In Spain and Greece, for example, it is obligatory by law to match the phenotype of the donor to the recipient. In Mexico, phenotype matching is not required by law. This means that if you and your partner have dark hair and eyes, you may choose a donor with fair hair and blue or green eyes. However, both parties have to sign a mandatory informed consent.
What egg donors are available in Mexico – race and phenotypes available
The best IVF clinics in Mexico have a variety of egg donors available in their egg bank databases. If you choose to have IVF in Mexico, you will benefit from access to egg donors of Hispanic, Caucasian, Black and South American origin. You will be able to choose from various skin tones, eye and hair colour and hair texture.
In Mexico, if you opt for donor egg treatment, you can choose a donor with similar physical traits to your own, including height, body type, hair and eye colour and ethnic background. You will able to see information on the donor’s educational background or even hobbies, so you can choose a donor that best matches your priorities.
Are egg donors in Mexico thoroughly tested?
Donors undergoing oocyte retrieval in Mexico have to be at least 21 years of age on the date of egg collection and have to:
- be in good physical shape and mentally healthy,
- have their ovaries working optimally,
- have a BMI of 20-24.
- be free from any STDs.
Egg donors in Mexico are also required to meet various screening criteria:
- donors’ medical history is carefully reviewed,
- they undergo a physical gynaecological examination,
- have ultrasound scans performed,
- they are tested for levels of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and oestradiol (E2),
- and tested for infectious diseases like HIV, Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis, Hepatitis B and C,
- they undergo toxicology screening,
- are screened for genetic diseases,
- have basic blood tests done.
Some Mexican clinics require their donor to undergo a psychological evaluation and are usually students, young childfree women or young mothers who are not planning more children.
Selecting an egg donor can be the hardest decision for many intended parents. Certainly, there are various factors to be considered when making a choice. You should carefully consider the qualities and factors that matter to you the most. Thankfully, there are thousands of egg donors available in Mexico so you will be spoilt for choice. Most of all, it is vital to find a reliable clinic with an extensive donor database to make the selection easier for you.
What should you pay attention to before travelling for IVF in Mexico?
There are a few things you should pay attention to when choosing a Mexican clinic and later travelling from the USA for treatment. First of all, make sure you have all the necessary documents before you book your flights. Passport applications may take months to process so ensure you have the appropriate travel documentation. If you are a US national, you do not require a visa to enter Mexico as a tourist, a visitor in transit or for business purposes. Entering Mexico as a tourist will allow you to stay in the country for up to 180 days, much longer than you actually need for IVF treatment.
Secondly, before you select the clinic for your treatment, do careful research and focus on the effectiveness of the treatment, IVF success rates and customer service. Some Mexican clinics are run by European fertility centers and have very good results when it comes to IVF. The average egg donation success rate in such clinics is over 60% per embryo transfer.
You may be interested in reading more about egg donation success rates and how these are calculated by clinics.
Another important factor you should consider is the availability of egg donors. All Mexican clinics have egg donor databases that list frozen donor eggs and donors who are available for fresh cycles. The donors’ availability may vary by clinic so it is better to simply ask at the source. On the whole, you should not have a problem with finding a suitable egg donor in Mexico.
What does the egg donation treatment look like in Mexico?
The entire process depends on your medical situation, your expectations and how the clinic manages the treatment process. Usually, Mexican clinics offer online consultations and some things can be discussed remotely. You will probably need to stay in Mexico for 7-14 days. Your partner will have to provide his genetic material so it can be used later to fertilize donor eggs. Your uterus will also need to be prepared for embryo transfer.
You may be interested in reading more about the egg donation process abroad and preparing for treatment.
Every fertility journey is different and protocols may differ greatly, however, we have put together for you an outline of the process. On average the process can take about four or five weeks and there are a few stages of the egg donation process in Mexico:
First visit to the clinic. You will be asked to submit your ultrasound scans and other test results you might have (e.g. hormone levels, blood test, etc). If you do not have these yet, all tests can be done at the clinic. After analysing your general health and your medical records, the doctor will present you with a treatment plan along with the medication you need to take to prepare your uterine lining for the embryo transfer. Your endometrium thickness can be monitored by your local doctor. It is very important to have your uterus well prepared for the transfer day especially in the case when you are planning to use fresh donor eggs. Fresh transfers cannot be rescheduled if it turns out your endometrium lining is still too thin.
Selecting and booking your egg donor and sperm donor, if required. Both the recipient and the donor have to sign a mandatory consent and the donation remains anonymous. The donor is chosen according to phenotype and blood type. Then you choose the egg donation program and any additional procedures. This can be done remotely.
Another visit to the clinic is the time for sperm sample collection and fertilization of the donor eggs in the IVF laboratory. On day 3 or day 5 the doctor will transfer the fertilized eggs, now called embryos, to your uterus. You will most probably have to stay at the clinic for about a week.
How to choose IVF Clinic in Mexico? Where to start?
Deciding on egg donation abroad and selecting the right IVF clinics for your needs and budget may not be easy if you have to do it on your own. That is why we are here to help. With us, you will be able to easily compare clinics’ offers and understand the entire egg donation process in order to make a well-informed final decision.