IVF Abroad - Patient's Guide

All you need to know about fertility treatment abroad, costs, the efficacy of IVF procedures and – the most important – legislation regulating medically assisted reproduction in 8 European countries. Download 55 pages PDF guide now!

dish and syringesSurrogacy

Surrogacy (also known as Host or Gestational) is an arrangement between a couple or in some cases a single person and a woman which agrees to be the carrier of the pregnancy for the couple.
Surrogacy is an option if you cannot carry a child yourself because of a medical condition or if the pregnancy and giving birth could put your health in danger.
The medical conditions that would make surrogacy essential if you wanted a child are:

  • If you don’t have a womb or you have a malformation
  • Repeated loss of pregnancy
  • Repeated failed IVF treatments

The embryo is created using the eggs and sperm of the intended parents or donated eggs and the sperm of the father or using the both donated sperm and eggs.
There is also a different kind of surrogacy called partial surrogacy in which the creation of the embryo involves the sperm of the intended parent and eggs of the surrogate.

Egg donation

Egg donation (or oocyte donation) gives the possibility for pregnancy for women which cannot get pregnant using their own eggs either because she cannot produce eggs or the produced eggs are of low quality. The eggs can be donated either for the purpose of assisted reproduction. Usually used for in vitro fertilization. The clinicians fertilize the eggs in a laboratory and transfer the created embryos into the woman’s uterus.
If a child is born from egg donation the recipient is not biologically related to the child but she will be the birth mother on record.

Sperm donation

A sperm donor donates his sperm which purpose is to inseminate a woman with who he has no sexual relationship. The donation is carried out privately and directly to the recipient or either through a sperm bank or a fertility clinic. Most of the women choose artificial insemination with the donor sperm but some of them choose the natural insemination because they believe that the sexual intercourse rises their chances of becoming pregnant. The most common usage of donated sperm is among heterosexual couples struggling with male originated infertility.

Single mother

Unlike other in this section this is not in any way a medical term but a sociological term. If a woman is widowed, unmarried or divorced and has a dependent child or children she is a single mother. Of course it is the same way with men – single fathers. The term single parents is also in use of course but the great majority of single parents are single mothers.
Most of the single mothers are women that had a divorce or they are separated. The second largest group of single mothers are women which were not married. Then there is the group of single mothers which are widowed. Sometimes single women use donated sperm and become single mothers by choice.

Same-sex parents

It is also a sociological term. Same-sex parents are obviously couples of the same sex which decide to have a baby together. Either it is a couple of males or a couple of females they have now different options of becoming parents. A same-sex couple can adopt a child, use a surrogate or if it is a female couple one of the partners can get pregnant using donated sperm. Of course same-sex parents is still a controversial subject. In most countries same-sex marriage is still banned. It is said in some researches that children from same-sex marriages have deep emotional problems but there are none firm statistics or research that would confirm this argument. Anti-gay movements very often use the argument that same-sex parents can molest their children if they are the same sex as them which is a ridiculous accusation from people which do not distinguish homosexuality with pedophilia. For all we know sexual orientation does not make you more or less willing to hurt a child or anything else. Furthermore we also now as a fact that children in houses with heterosexual parents or legal guardians are also in danger of getting hurt.

Sex selection

An IVF additional procedure which is a very controversial subject in the area of artificial reproduction. It involves controlling the sex of a child to be born to achieve the desired gender. The sex-selection can be done either pre or post implantation, as well as at birth. The term which is also in function is family balancing which is used when a couple already has a child of one sex and would want another child of the opposite sex and in this way achieve a ‘full family’. This procedure is controversial because very often it is not used for family balancing but because of a son preference. In countries like China, India or Pakistan sex selection severely distorts the sex ratio of children. Parents choosing boys over girls for economic, cultural or religious reasons in those countries will have a very bad influence on these countries demographics.

Blastocyst transfer

This method involves culturing the embryos in a laboratory incubator till they are in a blastocyst stage. Then one or two embryos of best quality are placed into the womb where it has to attach to the wall so that the woman becomes pregnant.

  • For who is it?
    If you are using single embryo transfer then blastocyst transfer could rise your chances. It is also recommended if the woman is young and has good chances for becoming pregnant from IVF. Also if in the past IVF you have produced good quality embryos but they could not implant properly in the womb.
  • How does it work?
    The Blastocyst transfer is like a normal embryo transfer but instead of implanting it after two or three days they are implanted after five to six days. Not all embryos will develop to blastocysts.
  • Chances
    IVF with fresh blastocysts success rates like in any other option decline after reaching the age of 35.
    Under 35 it is about 48%, Between 35 and 37 it is 44%, between 38 and 39 it is 34% and between 40 and 42 it is about 26%.

In vitro maturation (IVM)

The main difference between IVM and IVF is that the collected eggs are immature and matured in the laboratory. Which means that the woman does not have to take as much fertility drugs as in a standard IVF procedure.

  • How does it work?
    The eggs are collected while still immature and you do not have to use as many ovary stimulating drugs. Then the eggs mature in a laboratory for about 2 days and when they do they are fertilised with your partner’s or donor’s sperm. Then the embryos are cultured and transferred to your womb.
  • For who is it?
    If the cause of the infertility factor has been identified as being on the male side. Also if there is a risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. If so then In vitro maturation might be the right choice for you.
  • Chances
    Chances of a successful pregnancy are almost the same as in a standard IVF procedure.
    There is however a risk that there will be a smaller amount of eggs collected than in a standard IVF treatment. There is also a chance that not all eggs will mature properly in the laboratory and it will not be possible to fertilise them with sperm.

Assisted hatching

While the embryo is in the laboratory before placing it in the womb a little hole is made in the outer layer using laser, acid or mechanical methods which makes it easier for the embryo to get nested in the endometrium. It does not rise the quality of the embryo.