11 Feb Top 5 reasons to have donor embryos abroad
Donated embryos, or embryo adoption, is on the rise. More liberal approaches to alternative parenting in recent years have made it a real option for many couples (and singles). With good success rates, donor-embryo treatment is no longer taboo or the ‘forgotten’ fertility treatment. Read our top 5 reasons to consider it – and why going abroad is your best bet.
1. Good supply of donor embryos.
Clinics abroad, particularly in the Czech Republic, have a good supply of donated embryos. These embryos aren’t left over from previous IVF cycles (a common misconception). They’re created specially by young, healthy donors. As a result, they’re the best-quality embryos you can get. PGS-tested donor embryos are the most optimal, ensuring the highest possible success rates over all fertility treatments.
UK clinics don’t promote donor embryos much. That’s because supply from two sets of donors is a problem and optimal quality can’t be guaranteed. It’s a different story abroad. Czech and Spanish clinics routinely offer donor-embryo treatment. Single women benefit the most, followed by couples with significant fertility issues.
2. Is embryo adoption better than adoption?
Embryo adoption (a more evocative way to describe donor-embryo treatment) is, indeed, a form of adoption. The difference is that couples ‘adopt’ their child at the embryo stage, pre-birth. You carry and nurture that donated embryo in your womb. So embryo adoption is a more manageable form of adoption. You are in control. Or at least more in control than traditional adoption. Using a fertility clinic, and carrying an adopted child from embryo transfer to birth, bypasses the painful bureaucracy of state adoption.
It’s also quicker. Traditional adoption services can take up to two years and involve detailed and intrusive vetting by government agencies, with many would-be adoptive parents rejected. Donor-embryo treatment involves one quick trip to a clinic. Your baby is legally yours from embryo transfer day. With traditional adoption, a final decision is made by someone else. But the donor-embryo route is your decision, and nobody else’s.
3. Donor embryos mean high success and low cost.
Improved cryopreservation techniques, as well as great donors, ensure success rates for frozen donor embryos are super-high. Transferring fresh donor embryos used to have the edge. Not any more. The frozen donor-embryo route is now the norm. A single frozen donated embryo at our clinic costs less than 1,300 euros, which is astonishingly affordable. Most pay a little more for PGS embryos. If you choose the latter, transfer one at a time, as the quality is supreme and the risk of twins higher.
4. Double donation: twice the benefits.
It may sound obvious, but using two donors is better than one. A donated embryo benefits from the best possible genetic material, since both donors have optimal fertility. Your donor embryo will have the lowest chance of chromosomal problems. It will be a top-quality blastocyst. Your chance of a pregnancy will be 70% or higher, particularly with a PGS-tested embryo.
Worried about donor matching? Don’t be. A good clinic will have a large donor pool. Czech clinics, in particular, have a very wide range of donor ‘looks’ and phenotypes. You’ll also be able to state the preferred characteristics of your donors, and provide photos.
Since most donor embryos are frozen, it’s also easy to request another donor match if you’re not happy with your first choice. The clinic can simply look in the cryobank for an alternative choice. They are right there, ready to go.
5. Donor embryos – it’s all about convenience.
As discussed, donor-embryo treatment is a straightforward and convenient option for those who want to start a family quickly. There are no guarantees, but your prospects of success are good if your uterine environment is normal and you don’t have any immunological or haematological issues. Eight years ago, 5% of our patients chose embryo adoption. Today, it’s 15%.
In summary, for the price of a weekend away and a modest clinic fee, donor embryos are well worth considering. If you’re single, or a couple with limited fertility options, embryo adoption may be right for you. Keep talking, and don’t rule it out.