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IVF in Spain – Pros, Cons, Costs & Availability

IVF in Spain – Pros, Cons, Costs & Availability

CMO of IVF Media and Vice Chairman of The European Fertility Society.
Originally published at Fertility Road Magazine, ISSUE 56.

Patients from many countries for various reasons are looking for a location where they can be treated by means of assisted reproductive methods (ART). Spain is one of the most frequently chosen destinations for IVF treatment and is selected not only by patients from Europe, but also from the United States, Canada, and Australia.

What makes Spain the country of choice for IVF treatment?

  1. Very experienced medical staff
  2. Liberal IVF law and law referring to IVF with donor oocytes
  3. Anonymous egg donation
  4. A very large base of egg donors and sperm donors of various ethnicities
  5. A large number of good, private clinics in the most popular cities
  6. An extensive database of research centres – at universities – that educate doctors, geneticists, embryologists and other specialists in the field of IVF
  7. Great location – allows you to combine your holidays with IVF treatment The most popular cities chosen by patients for IVF treatment are Madrid, Barcelona, Alicante, and Valencia.

Availability of IVF treatment in Spain

IVF clinics in Spain

According to the report “Registro Nacional de Actividad – 2019-Registro SEF” published by SEF (Spanish Fertility Association), there are about 240 IVF clinics in Spain. Based on the information we receive from clinics and patients as part of cooperation on fertilityclinicsabroad.com and ferilityroad.com, approx 30-40 clinics specialize in treating patients from abroad. This means that the clinic staff speak different languages and the clinic is experienced and prepared to treat patients who come from abroad. The treatment of “remote” patients is different from the treatment of local patients – who can easily come to the clinic.

The age of the patient

In Spain, patients up to 50 years of age can be treated – in some cases it is possible to treat women up to 52 years of age. In the case of a male partner, there are no age restrictions in Spain.

Relationship with a partner

Spain offers treatment to married patients, single women and same-sex (female) couples. In the case of same-sex couples, the ROPA procedure is offered, which consists of collecting eggs from one of the patients, the so-called “known donor”, fertilizing them with sperm from the sperm bank and transferring the embryos to the other female partner.

IVF treatment available

In Spain, most clinics offer all types of IVF treatment, including IVF with own eggs, IVF with donor eggs, ROPA, sperm donation, and embryo donation. Clinics also offer the possibility of collecting, freezing and storing oocytes. Most clinics offer advanced laboratory and diagnostic techniques.

IVF with donor eggs in Spain

Spain has become one of the most popular countries for IVF treatment with donor eggs. Clinics and doctors in Spain have extensive experience in organizing this type of treatment. Spain is well known for its high availability of egg donors. A large number of egg donors in Spain affects the availability of treatment for patients – and thus reduces waiting times for finding a donor. Spain is also one of the few European countries that offers egg donors of various races and ethnicities. For example, in the Czech Republic – which is also very popular – the availability of donors is limited mainly to Caucasian women.

Anonymous egg donors

One of the reasons why the number of donors in Spain remains very high is their anonymity. According to the law, the donor remains anonymous and the patient who receives oocytes from the donor has no right to know her identity and appearance. In Spain, in accordance with the guidelines and recommendations of international infertility societies, e.g. ESHRE, ASRM, donors are selected for recipients – so as to ensure the greatest possible similarity – the so-called phenotype matching. This increases the likelihood that the child born from the donor eggs will be as similar in appearance to their birth mother as possible.

Anonymous egg donation is also the reason why many patients travel to Spain from places where donation is not anonymous – e.g. from Great Britain.

Are there any circumstances in which the donor identity can be revealed to the recipient couple or the donor-conceived child?

Yes, in case of severe genetically transmissible illness in which an analysis of the donor would be advisable, the geneticist can request the donor identity to be revealed.

IVF treatment costs in Spain

The costs of IVF treatment in Spain are among the highest in Europe, yet the popularity of this country is indisputable. In addition to cost, there are many other parameters that are important when choosing a country/clinic.

IVF with own eggs

The costs of IVF with own oocytes are on average around € 3,600 – € 6,700. Also, take into account preparation, visits, basic scans, egg retrieval and general anesthesia for the procedure, ICSI, blastocyst culture and embryo transfer.

IVF with donor eggs

The cost of an IVF program with donor oocytes is approximately € 5,900 – € 8,500 and includes preparation, visits, basic scans, donor eggs and donor compensation, ICSI, blastocyst culture, and embryo transfer.

Embryo donation

The costs of the donor embryo program are on average around € 3,000 – € 5,000 and include 1-2 embryos – usually at blastocyst stage and the embryo transfer.

Egg freezing

Women considering freezing their eggs face an average cost of between € 3,500 – € 4,700. This includes preparation, visits, basic scans, egg retrieval and general anesthesia for the procedure, oocytes vitrification and one year storage.

ROPA – Reciprocal IVF

For same-sex female couples, the average ROPA cost is € 5,000 – € 7,000 and it includes preparation, visits, basic scans, egg retrieval, ICSI, blastocyst culture, and embryo transfer.

The example costs above are given as average values showing the range of costs including basic services, techniques, procedures that allow one IVF cycle to be completed. Depending on the region and other factors, patients may find clinics in Spain that are cheaper and more expensive. Using the cheapest clinic is not always the optimal solution. Patients should rather look for clinics with average treatment costs – rather than the cheapest ones. The above information on treatment costs is based on IVF ABROAD – PATIENT’S GUIDE, fertilityclinicsabroad.com.

IVF Success Rates in Spain

The effectiveness of IVF treatment in Spain in recognized clinics is similar to the European average. Indeed, in many Spanish clinics, the effectiveness of treatment is above average. Clinics in Spain report their success rates to the SEF (Spanish Fertility Association), which also makes the data available to patients. Interestingly, Spain is one of the few countries in Europe where patients receive access to reports from individual clinics, and not only the collective reports.Here you will find data on clinics in Spain published by SEF:

https://www.registrosef.com/index.aspx?ReturnUrl=%2f#Publico19

PROSCONS
Liberal IVF lawOne of the highest cost of IVF treatment among popular
countries in Europe.
High availability of egg donors of various ethnicitiesAnonymous egg donation
Treatment options for female same-sex couples (ROPA)Anonymous sperm donation
Experienced, professional medical staffFew clinics display treatment costs on their websites
Recognized clinics in very good locations
Broad experience in preimplantation diagnostics of embryos - PGT-A, PGM and others
Possibility to combine vacation with treatment

IVF treatment in Spain for patients from the UK

Most clinics in Spain that specialize in treating patients from abroad communicate in English – this applies to non-medical and medical personnel – including doctors and embryologists. Clinics are experienced and can advise on specific aspects of treatment that may prove problematic when the patient returns home – to the UK. These issues include purchasing hormone stimulation drugs, running hormone tests, and other services directly in the UK that are necessary for the next stages of treatment. Clinics are also knowledgeable about the naming and availability of prescription drugs – which may differ between Spain and the UK. Not without significance is also the very good availability of flights from Great Britain to Spain – in particular to Madrid, Barcelona and Alicante. Many clinics in Spain cooperate either with doctors or with clinics in the UK. As a result, they offer patients a smooth organization of treatment and save costs and time. Part of the treatment may be carried out in the UK, e.g. preparation for the IVF program and hormonal stimulation.

What are the differences in IVF treatment in Spain vs treatment in the UK?

  • costs in Spain are lower than in the UK
  • much better availability of egg donors
  • ICSI is part of almost every IVF program in Spain (95%). In the UK, ICSI is only used when there is male factor infertility involved. In Spain, ICSI is not listed in the price lists as a separate item because this technique is considered standard in most IVF programs.
  • excellent availability of IVF add-ons – and very extensive clinical experience in their use for individual patient groups.
  • the costs of IVF add-ons in Spain are lower than in the UK.

Examples of costs of IVF treatment and additional procedures in Spain:

  • Medical consultation: € 150 – € 250
  • Sperm freezing: € 150 – € 350
  • Embryo monitoring (all embryos within a cycle): € 300 – € 600
  • Blastocyst culture: € 400 – € 600 included in basic packages in most of the IVF clinics
  • Vitrification of (remaining) embryos and storage for 1 year: € 400 – € 900
  • Frozen embryo transfer (surplus embryos): € 1,400 – € 2,500.

IVF in Spain – Final Thoughts

Spain is a very popular destination for patients who travel abroad for IVF, especially from the UK, France, Italy and Germany. Patients can choose from a wide selection of clinics. As a comparison, in the Czech Republic, which is also a popular IVF destination, there are about 10 clinics that specialize in treating international patients and in Spain there are approx 40. In many clinics in Spain the international patients account for as much as 60-80% of all treated patients – thanks to this, the quality of patient service is top-notch. Patient satisfaction is the clinics’ priority. There are a lot of resources where you can find information about clinics in Spain. You can read patient reviews in many places online but these should be treated with caution.

Information on clinics in Spain can be found, among others, on online forums, Facebook groups, and websites that help patients learn about treatment abroad.

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Aleksander Wiecki
Aleksander Wiecki
Aleksander is an advocate of transparency and truth about IVF treatment and patients’ experience manager. With strong expertise and background in the IVF and infertility industry including IVF clinics and genetic laboratories Aleksander strongly believes that there is a gap between IVF patients and clinics. This is a gap where patients may fall for the most common IVF treatment traps during their infertility journey. That’s why patients need help and support which they don’t necessarily get from IVF clinics. The support which comes from an objective, trustworthy and reliable source. Aleksander is a regular guest at ESHRE annual meetings, the Fertility Show in London, the Fertility Forum, the IMTJ - Medical Travel Summit, Fertility Exhibitions and conferences around the world.