Why is it that so many people seeking fertility treatment abroad make the decision to travel to a fertility clinic in Spain? We take a look at some of the reasons, the treatments that are available and in particular at the latest advances in techniques for In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) in Spain.
The high level of interest in IVF Europe trips and especially a growing awareness of the benefits of fertility treatment in Spain certainly have a lot to do with the success of IVI, the largest Assisted Reproduction group in the world. As global leaders in reproductive medicine, we currently have more than 65 clinics in 12 countries around the world plus an alliance with NOVA clinics in India. The majority of these are in Spain, 31 of them at the latest count, with branches in major cities throughout the country.
Why do people travel for fertility treatment abroad?
To date, patients from over 185 countries have chosen IVI for their fertility treatment, and many of them opt for an IVI fertility clinic in Spain. Their reasons are all as individual as the patients themselves, but in general we hear a lot about frustration with waiting times. Whatever the reason for waiting times, IVI fertility specialist Dr Manuel Muñoz confirms that over the past dozen years we have seen a marked increase in the numbers of UK patients travelling to an IVI fertility clinic in Spain to receive donor eggs. He also notes that over the next 12 months we anticipate that the numbers of UK patients will continue to rise as the anonymity of donors remains a very attractive prospect for many people.
Of course, many people travel to other countries in Europe for IVF and other treatments. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority advises those considering travelling for fertility treatment abroad due to, for example, lower costs, to carry out thorough research beforehand and only select a clinic that has a proven record on quality and safety standards. Among other issues, they highlight that people should take into consideration how the clinic in question minimises multiple births (twins, triplets or more). This is an important issue and at IVI we recommend transferring just one embryo under the SET (single embryo transfer) principle.
Why is Spain such a prime destination?
A number of factors influence the way that fertility treatment in Spain has become more high-profile and advanced. The regulatory climate has some important differences from the UK and other European countries. These include the legal and social framework which makes fertility treatment available for anyone. The legislation currently in force in Spain stipulates that ‘any woman over 18 years of age with full capacity to act may be a recipient or user of the techniques regulated by Law 14/2006 on Human Assisted Reproduction Techniques’ and that ‘women may be users or recipients of the techniques regulated in this Law regardless of their marital status or sexual orientation.’
Another significant factor is that in Spain, donated eggs are more readily available than in the UK and other countries, partly due to the fact that their anonymity is guaranteed. The guarantee of anonymity has led to a climate in Spain where donors are more ready to act on their altruistic feelings to help other women achieve see their dream of starting a family come true.
Egg donors: who are they and what does egg donation abroad entail?
We’ve carried out extensive research into this. We found that egg donors fall into three main groups: altruistic young women, mothers and empathetic women driven by solidarity. Sixty-two percent of overall egg donation comes from the first group. Doctor Alamá, director of the IVI Valencia Egg Donation Program, explains that these young women, aged between 18 and 25 years, have been raised in a culture that is more altruistic towards society than in previous generations. They are empathic and supportive, and more inclined to join causes which in previous generations did not engender so much social interest. In addition, in Spain donors are allowed to receive an economic compensation for their inconvenience, at a rate which is set by the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality.
Finding a fertility clinic in Spain: where are they located?
IVI has a total of 31 fertility clinics in Spain scattered throughout the country from San Sebastian to Barcelona in the north and from Alicante to Seville in the south. Of all the destinations for IVF in Europe, Spain is one of the easiest countries for arranging travel and accommodation and so this does not need to be an obstacle to travel for IVF or any other fertility treatment.
What about the language barrier?
Of the range of IVI clinics in Spain, many are geared up specifically for patients from other countries. At our fertility clinics in Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Málaga, Benalmádena, Bilbao, Las Palmas, Seville and Alicante, we have medical specialists trained to care for patients in English, thus breaking the language barrier. In this way another potential obstacle is completely removed. IVI offers personalised treatment in your native language. When you arrive at one of our multilingual clinics, you are assigned a mentor who will stay with you from the beginning of treatment through to its completion. This is an important aspect of providing reassurance and taking away any anxiety due to unfamiliarity at what can often be a stressful time.
What treatments are available in IVI fertility clinics in Spain?
Thanks to thorough and pioneering research and investigations in Spain, IVI clinics have been able to develop new fertilisation techniques and also to improve the possibilities and outcomes of traditional treatments such as IVF or artificial insemination. And, for the growing number of women who wish to postpone maternity, we offer fertility preservation techniques such as oocyte cryopreservation. People who wish to lend their support to other couples can donate oocytes or sperm that will change someone else’s lives. Often this can make the difference between a long wait and an immediate start to treatment.
What are the latest advances in IVF in Spain?
Techniques in assisted reproduction involving artificial insemination, egg donation and In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) in Spain are progressing all the time. Developing techniques include:
Vitrification of oocytes
Cryopreservation of oocytes is a technique used in preserving fertility. It allows a woman’s reproductive capacity to be postponed for as long as she wants so that women can reach middle age without experiencing any significant decrease in their ability to conceive a child in the future.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
ICSI is an assisted reproduction technique included within in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment. It has enabled pregnancy to be achieved successfully in couples diagnosed with severe male factor infertility. The man provides a semen sample or undergoes a testicular biopsy if necessary in order to identify the best spermatozoa which will be used to fertilise the oocytes.
The ROPA Method
With the ROPA method, which stands for Reception of Oocytes from the Partner, same-sex couples can ‘share motherhood’. The technique consists of an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedure where one woman contributes with her oocytes and the other contributes with her uterus. In this way both partners can actively participate in the conception or gestation process.
Under this technique, a woman at the start of an IVF treatment has hormonal treatment to stimulate the production of eggs. Fertilised eggs then undergo cryopreservation and are available if necessary for future cycles. This means that the freshest possible eggs remain available, taking the time pressure away from the need to undergo subsequent rounds.
Getting in touch with IVI
If you have any lingering questions about fertility clinics in Spain, we’re available to answer your queries. Get in touch with our contact centre. No matter what your particular concern, we’re here to help.