Are you considering going the route of egg donation but can’t afford the United States price tag of $25,000 – $45,000? You’re not alone.
Thousands of folks in your shoes are devastated about giving up their baby dreams, but they don’t have to be, and neither do you.
International egg donations are on the rise and it’s not as intimidating as you might think. Many people are turning to trusted companies like Global IVF to navigate them through this process. Global IVF boasts a directory bursting with accredited and pre-screened international agencies, so you don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket.
Did you smile a bit at that pun? If not, you’re likely still a bit stressed out over the egg donation process. We don’t blame you and we’re here to help. Plus, if you speak to us in person, we promise to refrain from the jokes. (We get it. The owners of this company themselves used IVF. They understand the highs and lows of this emotional journey. Lucky for you, their company focuses on the joy of getting you pregnant!)
If you are considering using this route – a route that is getting more and more positive press based on significant cost savings and success rates – here are 10 questions you should be asking.
10 Questions You Should Ask about Global Egg Donation
1. Are the savings worth the headache?
For the many parents who are now holding babies in their arms, the answer is a resounding, “Yes!” Sure, it means standing in line at the post office for a passport. It means research and time spent with a Global IVF pre-screened Specialist. But if it’s done right (and with the right agency it absolutely can be) it’s just part of the process. Besides, for many intended parents, a savings of $15,000 makes the difference between being able to actually become parents or saying goodbye to their dreams. (A little layover in an international airport? Meh… it’s worth it to them.)
2. Will I get to contact the egg donor?
In most cases, the answer is “No.” For many intended parents, this is actually a blessing. Less info means less hassle in the future stemming from complications arising over biological parent vs. intended parent confusion. What’s done is done and intended parents can stick to the task of raising their children without the interference of the original donor.
3. What if having contact with my donor is important to me?
If this is a deal breaker for you, there are some countries that allow for this. South Africa agencies, for example, offer full profiles along with childhood and baby pictures. In Panama it is possible to meet your egg donor. In most cases, however, it’s highly unlikely that you will ever get to know your overseas donor—and even more unlikely that there will ever be future contact. Plus, information about her may be very limited, including just the basics of coloring, height and weight.
4. How can I be sure the donors have clean medical and mental histories?
Although it’s different than what’s done in the U.S., all reputable agencies (such as the ones listed in Global IVF’s directory) screen for STDs, HIV, and hepatitis. They also generally screen for alcohol, drugs, and nicotine. Many clinics follow the same ASRM guidelines for testing that are used in the U.S., and European clinics generally comply with the very strict European Union guidelines for STD testing. Since legal requirements vary by country, it is best to ask the clinic specifically what testing they use for screening their donors.
5. Is an international leap of faith worth the risk?
That’s your choice ultimately, but Global IVF’s track record proves that it is. International egg donation certainly means less legal paperwork than in the U.S., but that doesn’t indicate a negative. Nothing risky is afloat. Unlike many U.S. agencies that use expensive lawyers, many international clinics handle everything in-house, eliminating the cost and time of a middle man. Less paperwork also means more individual attention per client where both the clinic and the patient can talk directly.
6. Do I get to choose my donor like in the U.S.?
No. Unlike clinics in America, there are less donors to choose from. That doesn’t mean, however, that the quality of donors is less. At international clinics, coordinators will often compare pictures of you and the donor and they are mainly looking to match blood type (unless you indicate that this is not important to you) and physical features (hair color, texture, eye color, body shape/size). Sometimes the coordinators will consider and match based on interests, education, ethnic background, and so on, but that’s often not the case especially for clinics that don’t have large pools of egg donor candidates to choose from.
7. How do international clinics recruit their donors?
Many clinics recruit from research institutes and universities. This is good news for intended parents who value education. At some international clinics, you can request an experienced donor, but there’s no guarantee you will get one.
8. How many embryos will be available?
Most international clinics do a lower-dose egg stimulation protocol with the donor than they do in the United States, so you need to psychologically prepare yourself that you won’t get as many embryos. Most clinics are aiming for 8 – 12 eggs retrieved and 6 – 8 embryos on day 3. Some clinics will only guarantee 1 cycle, and some even take any embryos remaining after the transfer (and even eggs prior to fertilization) to put in a bank for others to use. While this may seem unfair, it can actually work to your advantage—if you have arrived at your clinic destination and your cycle is cancelled or the embryos are poor quality, the clinic may have other eggs or embryos available to you to use. In the United States, clinics tend to aim for a higher batch at retrieval – usually between 10 – 15 eggs.
9. Do I have to return to the overseas clinic if I want more embryos?
Yes. If your first cycle doesn’t work, or you want a sibling and you have frozen embryos, you will need to travel back to the clinic. Many times intended parents don’t figure that scenario into the overall cost. However, even in the United States there is no guarantee a cycle will work the first time out, even if everything goes perfectly.
10. What is the maximum # of embryos I can have transferred?
Many international clinics will not put back more than two embryos, no matter what the embryo quality. Some clinics will go up to three. Their goal is one healthy baby—no more. In the United States, REs are a bit more accommodating (and not only concerned with your outcome but their statistics) – and based on circumstances and embryo quality, they can make their own decisions in conjunction with the patient regarding the number of embryos to transfer.
No matter where you live, Global IVF.com is your main resource in exploring all of your international options including comparing costs, asking questions and getting answers. Global IVF.com is here to help you get started, keep going and have a baby! Feel free to contact us!