Ask any UK IVF patient why they went abroad for treatment and most will say to find a cheaper clinic. Of course, the right combination of price and quality of treatment is the ideal solution, but does this really exist? To help answer this question, we uncover the most cost-effective destinations for IVF treatment in Europe and some important factors to take into consideration before booking your trip.
Egg Donation costs in Europe
Egg donation costs in the most popular European destinations range from ‘the cheapest’ €4,500 EUR in Poland, to the most expensive €6,500-€12,000 EUR in Spain. There are also the so-called ‘average’ options along the way, such the Czech Republic, Greece, North Cyprus or Ukraine, where patients usually pay between €5,000 and €6,500 EUR for their treatment. When choosing a clinic, a lot of first-time patients focus on the IVF treatment price, but price can sometimes be misleading. In fact, making decisions based on money is rarely a good idea, and in the case of egg donation treatment, it can do more harm than good.
What you should ask about first
When you get in contact with the chosen clinic for the first time, start with basic questions. For example: ‘what exactly is included in the cost of the egg donation treatment?’ Also, don’t forget to ask about what’s not included, but mandatory in the course of the treatment.
Below you’ll find the list of obligatory egg donation components that you should ask about at the very start. If any of them are not included in the total price, find out what they cost. This is the only way you can get the realistic idea of the budget you will need:
- Egg donor’s compensation
Donor compensation refers to the cost of finding the right donor, along with medication for hormonal stimulation. All donor costs should be included in the treatment price.
- Visits during the treatment program
The program should include the cost of all the patient’s required visits to a clinic during a treatment, with the exception of a qualifying visit. However, many clinics subtract the cost of such a visit from the total cost, if a patient decides to continue the treatment. It’s worth asking if visits are inclusive prior to booking your treatment.
- Basic procedures in the IVF laboratory
– Semen preparation for freezing, together with possible thawing;
– Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI);
– Culturing embryos up to the blastocyst stage.
- Fresh embryo transfer
Uncovering hidden costs
Apart from the basic procedures that every clinic should include, there will be some additional costs. In fact, it is often these hidden extras that can make egg donation treatment so expensive.
Be smarter and make sure you ask about the following:
- Pre-testing – for both female and male patients
Ask what the necessary pre-qualification tests are for the required treatment e.g. semen analysis, screening for infectious diseases. Depending on the country, the average cost of these tests range from €150- €400 per person.
- Sperm diagnosis and freezing
Many clinics will suggest that your partner has their semen tested and frozen in case the fresh sample fails to meet the minimum requirements. Remember that semen parameters may change every two weeks, so it is worth considering this service. The average cost is €150- €300 (depending on the country).
- Embryo transfer medications
In most cases, you’ll buy these medicines at the pharmacy at an additional cost. The average cost ranges between €150- €450, country dependent.
- Frozen embryo transfer
As more embryos are harvested during an egg donation treatment when compared IVF using a patient’s own eggs, any additional embryos can be frozen and used if the first IVF cycle is not successful. This is a paid service which tends to cost between €400-€2000 (country dependent)
- Additional procedures in the IVF laboratory
Depending on your medical situation, the clinic may suggest additional procedures in the IVF laboratory (See above).These may make the treatment more effective, but they could increase the total cost of your program by up to 30%.
The average cost of egg donation in Europe:
How to keep your costs to a minimum
Choosing the right clinic for your egg donation treatment can be a real challenge. Apart from keeping on top of all hidden costs and extra services, there are a myriad of local medical procedures and standards to take into consideration.
Across all popular European IVF destinations, cheaper and more expensive clinics are available, each with their pros and cons. You have to decide early on what your priorities are and the determining factors that are important to you. Here are some tips to help you decide.
Do not always choose the cheapest clinic
As a rule of thumb, you generally have to pay for good quality, so going for the cheapest option is never advisable. Remember, the clinic has to absorb many costs including qualifying donors, hiring embryologists, buying and servicing equipment as well as providing the best conditions in an IVF laboratory. Decreasing these costs too much will have a negative impact on the effectiveness of your treatment, so don’t go too low!
If budget is limited, try to aim for a clinic that offer mid-range prices. This means you can save money while ensuring a good standard of treatment. For example, Spanish clinics offer IVF treatment for between €6,000 and €10,000. Choose one in the €7,000 – €8,000 range to hit the sweet spot.
If you cannot afford to go for a mid-range treatment in a popular destination such as Spain, another option is to choose a more expensive treatment in a cheaper destination e.g. the Czech Republic. The average cost of treatment there is €5,000 – €7,000.
Assume you’ll need frozen embryo transfer
Fresh embryo transfer is less likely to result in a successful IVF treatment, so you should budget to have embryos frozen as an insurance policy. The cost of freezing embryos varies considerably between countries. For example in Spain, it will set you back between €1500-2200. In comparison, in the Czech Republic it is only around €600-€1000.
Think about travel and accommodation expenses
On average, you’ll need to visit the clinic twice – once for qualification and signing the necessary documents, the other one for embryo transfer. Depending on your medical situation and clinic’s requirements, the number of visits and the length of stay may vary.
Travel and accommodation costs will of course depend on where you go. Naturally they’ll be more expensive for more established IVF hubs such as Spain and less so in Eastern Europe and other ‘less popular’ destinations.
IVF Refund Guarantee
Check if your clinic offer IVF treatment packages that include a money back guarantee if your treatment doesn’t work as expected. In most cases, the expected result is either a 12-week pregnancy or live childbirth. The cost of such packages in Europe range from € 16,000 to € 20,000.
Although it seems like a lot of money, keep in mind that these packages usually offer three IVF cycles with donor eggs, along with all the necessary procedures. Included in the fee will be the use of all frozen embryos created during the program. If you finish the treatment successfully after the first or second cycle, you will not get a refund. However, if your treatment turns out to be unsuccessful (after using all 3 cycles and frozen embryo transfers), you will receive up to 100% refund of program costs. Find out more about IVF Refund or IVF Guarantee options – Pros, Cons, Risks and Costs in Europe.
Add about €500-€1000 to the egg donation package cost
This will cover you for additional costs such as qualification and the medications you’ll need to prepare you for embryo transfer.
Making the right choices
In the world of IVF treatment, unfortunately you can rarely have your cake and eat it. Patients often look for clinics that offer a great price, are highly effective and offer a short treatment duration i.e. the number of times they have to visit the clinic. In reality this doesn’t really exist, as there is always a compromise. Here’s why:
Instead of focusing on the cheapest treatment option, think of the wellbeing of your future family. If your goal is a successful pregnancy and giving birth to a healthy child, you cannot always achieve your dream on the cheap. But what you can do is to choose a clinic carefully and thoughtfully to find something that if affordable, that accommodates your needs and gives you the best chances of success. This may result in spending more than you thought, both with regards to cash and time. Also, always go into this with your eyes wide open – know ALL the hidden costs and extras before taking the plunge. It is likely to be more than you thought.
If you’re still struggling to make a choice, you can find out more about popular IVF destinations for egg donation abroad here. Apart from comparing costs, you’ll find some valuable tips and information about IVF law and restrictions in every IVF country.
Good luck on your IVF journey!
By Alexsander Wiecki, Egg Donation Friends
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