21 November 2016
Egg donation home or abroad
If you need donor eggs to have a baby you may consider going abroad for IVF treatment. There is the perception that donor eggs aren’t available in the UK, and that clinics that do offer donor eggs have long waiting lists.
This isn’t the case at Complete Fertility Centre where we have donor eggs available right now.
This is thanks to the success of our altruistic egg donor and egg sharing programmes. We have good quality UK donor eggs from women who have passed strict medical screening and all donors are all identifiable to any children you may have in future.
Our pregnancy rates for patients using donor eggs are high (45.5% in 2015), because we ensure that only fit and healthy women with good quality eggs donate to us.
Here we discuss a number of the issues to consider when choosing a fertility centre at home or abroad for egg donation.
Identifiable donor with origin information you can discuss with your child or an anonymous donor
In the interests of donor conceived people, donors are not anonymous in the UK. People conceived through donation have many reasons for wanting to know about their donor. Some are curious about why their donor donated, if their donor has children of their own or other donor-conceived children and where their physical and emotional characteristics come from. This all-important information enables parents of a donor conceived child to talk to them about their origins as they grow up.
When a UK donor-conceived child reaches 18 years old they can receive identifiable information from the regulatory body (HFEA) about their donor including their name, date of birth and last known address and also information about any donor-conceived genetic siblings.
Here at Complete Fertility Centre we support access to as much information as possible about donors. You can choose an egg donor based on their health, physical traits, education, profession and hobbies. We invite our donors to write a pen portrait that includes a description about themselves and a goodwill message intended for any child born as a result of their donation.
In many countries including: Spain, Greece, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Ukraine and most of the countries of Eastern Europe, donors are anonymous and information is sparse.
Availability and quality of counselling and support
Counselling is a valuable opportunity to talk through the implications of donor conception with someone not emotionally involved in the process. Counselling is not always available in other countries and it is rarely available in West or Eastern Europe clinics. In those fertility clinics where counselling is offered you may find it difficult to discuss such intimate matters freely and extensively due to language barriers and cultural differences.
At Complete Fertility Centre all patients using an egg donor will be required to use our counselling service, to fully explore the implications, before making any final decisions. Up to six sessions of counselling are included in our egg recipient packages.
Our senior counsellor, Ruth Wilde, has a wealth of counselling experience. She been a counsellor for over 18 years and specialised in infertility in 2002. Ruth is a HFEA Authority Member and former Chair of the British Infertility Counselling Association (BICA). She provides her patients with confidential and supportive fertility counselling services throughout their fertility journey. Ruth also runs a free monthly patient support group at Complete Fertility Centre for anyone in the South of England who is experiencing fertility difficulties.
Egg donors in the UK have no legal, moral or financial responsibility for any child born. The patient who has a baby using their eggs is the legal parent. These laws don’t govern egg donation in other countries, so it’s vital to consider the legal implications of using a foreign egg donor.
Recruitment and selection of donors
In the UK all egg donors are screened to ensure they are safe to use using strict standards set by the HFEA. In foreign clinics the robustness of screening may vary.
In most EU and Eastern European countries, donors are selected by the clinic doctors and not by recipients as in the UK. Noticeable unexpected features may be laden with emotion in a donor family, particularly if the parents hadn’t planned to tell friends and other family members until the child was older. In a family where parents plan on celebrating this connection this is unlikely to be a problem.
Children conceived with a donor from another country may have a range of feelings about the half of their genetic heritage that comes from that country which could range from pride in the special connection to discomfort.
The true costs of treatment
The costs of egg donation treatment abroad can vary extensively not only from country to country but from clinic to clinic within each country. Initial headline prices may not reveal the full cost. You should try to compare on a like-for-like basis. There are tests which need to be undertaken before and during treatment and the majority of these tests will be an additional cost. Often scans, medication and blood tests are done locally.
Many people in the UK choose Spain as it offers many private fertility clinics throughout the country with budget airline travel options. The average cost for egg donation with an exclusive donor in Spain is £5553 (2016). In addition to this cost, you would need to include the cost of flights, transfers, accommodation for at least a week for you and your partner which could equate to an additional £2000.
Here at Complete Fertility Centre we offer a range of egg donation packages. Our R1 package is £7000. This offers treatment with eggs donated by an altruistic donor whose eggs are shared between two anonymous recipients or treatment with eggs from a woman who needs IVF treatment herself and who donates half her eggs to an anonymous recipient.
Included within this package are: medical and nursing consultations, screening tests for recipient and male partner if applicable, counselling, semen preparation of partner sperm if applicable, attempted fertilisation of at least 4 eggs, blastocyst culture of embryos, embryo transfer for recipient, embryo freezing and storage for one year, pregnancy scan or follow up appointment within 3 months.
Your time and organisation
Obviously if you are having egg donation treatment abroad you and your partner will need to take time off work to do so. You should allocate at least a week to travel to your chosen fertility clinic for this procedure. You’ll also need to plan and organise your flights and accommodation for your trip in liaison with your chosen fertility clinic whilst taking into consideration your period dates and work commitments.
The primary language of the fertility team abroad will be their native tongue and although many of them will speak English they may not be fluent and there may be difficulties translating medical information and advice from one language to another.
If you have egg donation abroad you’ll return to the UK after your embryo transfer and any follow up required will be undertaken remotely or at a local clinic.
Here at Complete Fertility Centre, as an egg donor patient you’ll remain under our care throughout your whole IVF cycle. Included in your package you’ll have a pregnancy scan or follow up appointment within three months with one of our Doctors to discuss any questions you may have and also the opportunity to speak with our Counsellor for up to six months after your last treatment cycle.
Issues to consider recommended by the HFEA:
• standards and safety abroad
• success rates (and how they are calculated)
• how is patient information stored and who has access to it?
• complaints: what happens if treatment goes wrong?
• donor issues
• multiple birth rates
• availability of treatment/ ethical, social and legal issues
• counselling and support
Benefits of having egg donation treatment at Complete Fertility Centre
• No waiting list for an egg donor. You can start your treatment immediately.
• All inclusive package so no hidden extras*.
• You receive a choice of quality donors aged 18-35, HFEA-registered and screened to the strictest standards.
• All our egg donors are fully identifiable to any child you may have.
• All our donors write detailed pen portraits including messages of goodwill to you and your baby.
• Every stage of your treatment is managed by our expert and dedicated egg donation team.
• We have consistent and high IVF with donor egg success rates of 45.5%.
• Counselling with our team to discuss treatment implications.
• Access to advanced time lapse imaging to help select the best embryos for IVF.
*Drugs costs vary and are additional to package prices.