International Egg Donation: CONSIDER YOUR CHOICES

By Global IVF
Article (Egg Donation)

Consider Your Choices: International Egg Donation

Going abroad for fertility treatments can be a very exciting, and stressful, time for intended parents!  Although more and more Americans are going abroad for treatments, it is still a challenge to know exactly what to expect in a new country. There may be things that you take for granted in your home country that can differ when you go abroad.  So here are a few things to keep in mind if you are pursuing egg donation abroad.

ANONYMOUS DONORS – When looking for a donor abroad, be aware that many countries that offer low cost donor eggs only allow for anonymous donors.  Unless otherwise specified by your international clinic, you can expect to have less donor choice abroad compared to the United States.  This could mean filling out a form with your preference for blood type and physical characteristics, along with sending a picture of yourself, and leaving it up to the clinic to match.  At other clinics, it may mean choosing from a single childhood picture.  Either way, it involves trusting your gut and having faith in your clinic!  Clinics do screen for genetic and psychological medical histories, but you may want to ask more specifics of the screening procedure.  If you are using a sperm donor, or if your husband or partner is providing sperm, it”s best to find out if he is a carrier of any genetic medical condition, since this will help you know what particular tests you should request of the donor (to find out if she,too, is a carrier).  Of course, ultimately what the anonymity of donors means is that you, and later your child, will not have information to contact your donor in the future, now learn of any future medical conditions that may arise in her immediate family.  This may or may not be something that is important to you…but is certainly something to consider.  Before you go abroad, think about what genetic tests are important for your family.

UNUSED EMBRYOS – At this point, it may seem taxing to think about anythingafter your initial procedure, but it is also important to ask about the clinic’s procedure for embryos that are not used.  Will the clinic freeze embryos?  What process do they use for freezing?  How long online casino nbso will they keep frozen embryos?  Is there an additional cost for storage of the embryos?  Freezing, thawing, and shipping eggs/embryos is a very delicate process, finding out your clinic’s success rate is key.  Also, different clinics will use different techniques to freeze eggs or embryos.  For example, some clinics have started using egg vitrification that freezes eggs quicker so that potentially devastating ice crystals cannot form.  Find out which method your clinic plans on using, and how that affects their success rate with frozen embryo transfers.

OPTIONS FOR FROZEN EMBRYOS – If you do choose to freeze un-used embryos, there are a few possible courses of action.  If you successfully become pregnant during the first round, there are three options for the embryos in many countries:  You can place your embryos in a donor bank for other couples to use (and usually with no information as to what happens to them), you can donate them to science, or they can be destroyed (check with the clinic you are using since in some countries the last two may not be options).  If, on the other hand, you would like to use your frozen embryos in the future, you will want to specify if they are yours for later procedures.  Also, you should check to see if the clinic would be able to ship them back to your home country for use. If you receive the initial treatment abroad, but are unable to go back for a second round, do you have a clinic nearby who will accept the embryos?  Often, clinics in the United States have a specific set of standards that would need to have been followed by the first clinic.  A good place to start is by checking if your clinic abroad is accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI), is certified by the International Organization of Standardization (ISO), or is certified by its country’s own governmental standards. You may also want to check with your home clinic to see if there are any steps you can take to ensure that you can ship unused embryos home (there may be FDA regulated blood work that needs to be done that is not required in other countries).

STATISTICS: FRESH VS. FROZEN – Each clinic should have statistics on their success rate for frozen vs. fresh embryos – although they may not have a governing board they are reporting to…in that case it may be self-reporting and not necessarily accurate.  Even so, ask to see those statistics early on in your decision process.  When asking for data, the clinic should be able to give you statistics for your age range.  Keep in mind that your global clinic may have an average client age that is younger than the average client age in the United States.  For this reason, ask for as specific data as possible
Currently there is not a global consensus regarding success rates with fresh vs. frozen eggs.   Despite the lack of comprehensive date, there are some trends in the field.  Some doctors believe that the longer an embryo is frozen can affect its thawing process and therefore influence the pregnancy.  Other research shows that data suggesting inadequacy of frozen embryos is only because doctors tend to use the best embryos in the first, fresh cycle.

If you already have frozen embryos, ask about their quality, this may give you a better sense of possible future success rates.  Stay optimistic—freezing and thawing of eggs is relatively new technology, therefore, the techniques are improving by the day!

HIDDEN EXPENSES – Finally, keep in mind possible additional expenses while budgeting.  Ask before hand about any costs for freezing and storing your eggs.  Also, think about potential costs of retrieving eggs/embryos if you plan to move them.  Sometimes people forget to include the cost of travel and accommodation when planning to return for treatment.  These expenses may influence intended parents’ decision on location.  It is important to hope for the best while preparing for anything.

For us, it is exciting to see how reproductive technologies rapidly evolve.  Global IVF keeps you informed about the newest technologies and research. Our best advice: plan ahead and ask plenty of questions.  Happy travels!

Additional Sources:

Global IVF Staff – contact us

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