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Egg Donation in Greece

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  • Hello everyone, I hope you don't mind me joining this thread but I'm trying to research donor egg options after 4 unsuccessful ivf attempts. We are just still processing that but being female I like to get all the info for if/when we decide to go down that path!

    I was wondering if someone could tell me rough cost in aud (split between the process/egg cost and other associated costs including travel etc), whether donors are anonymous or can be traced after child is 18, and also how you managed it from oz, ie did you deal with a clinic in Sydney that referred you there and helped with prescriptions etc? Finally, what made you choose donor from Greece rather than the other options out there?

    Grateful for any insights!


    • Hi Chillout - I totally understand the need to research! So I did two trips to Greece, two different clinics, different costs for both. Genesis Clinic cost Euro 5,500 for the treatment but I had to be there for three weeks so the overall trip cost circa AUD $20,000 - we obviously did some touring around while we were there (Thessaloniki and Instanbul) so that costs a little more, but Athens gets boring after a little while! Second trip was to Serum Clinic (and they were absolutely awesome!). It cost Euro 5000 for the treatment plus travel and meds. Overall including meds here in Aus I think it worked out to $12,000+ AUD - obviously exchange rate has an impact, but also how long you have to stay in Greece. Genesis requires three weeks because they just allocate you a donor when one becomes available, if its not during week one, then its week two, or week three .... kinda sucked. There was a lot about that experience that sucked. Wheras Serum allocated a donor before I arrived (based on what we were looking for in a donor, and my physical similarity to their available donors) and timed everything for that, it worked perfectly. I was there for 6 nights although I only needed 3 or 4, but decided to chill for a few days post transfer before returning. It was a much better experience. I think Embryoland does something similar to Serum.

      I went to Greece because our FS recommended it ... and my DH is Greek, so it made sense. We changed FS after the Genesis experience because we were so unhappy with how that whole thing was handled. But we stayed with Greece because we were comfortable with having a Greek donor and Greece generally I guess. I've since heard great stuff about South Africa, but I still think Greece was right for us given the family connection. Also we were so happy with Serum and how they treated us and our understanding of the care with which they treat their donors and the relationship they have with them.

      In Greece everything is totally anonymous. The current state of their law is that you will never find out the identity of the donor. Naturally that's a big thing. The clinic always has the donors details so if you need a medical question answered years later, they are able to facilitate it, but your child will never be able to trace their donor heritage - something I struggle with a bit to be honest... but it is what it is.

      In terms of how the meds and prep etc was handled. The first time I went when I went to Genesis my FS here set the protocol to prepare my lining and wrote me all my scripts etc, once I got to Greece I followed their (Genesis) instructions (which was part of the problem because they were all over the place). I bought more meds in Greece - their meds are better and cheaper than ours and strangely enough, travelling through customs with sharps containers, used needles, fresh needles (Clexane) and enough meds to fill a cabin bag is a piece of cake.

      The second trip I had a new FS. My protocol was entirely set by Serum, I ran their protocol past my FS here, and she prescribed the meds in accordance with what Serum recommended. My DH had gone to Greece early to do his donation, so Serum sent him back with some of the meds I needed as well. When I got to Greece, they gave me more meds (e.g. pregnyl) and I bought a tonne as well - mainly progesterone. Here a pack of 15 Oripro progesterone pessaries is minimum $60 if you get it on a sale at My Chemist Warehouse, but is normally $100 - gets damn expensive when you're taking them for 12 weeks! Over there, a pack of Utrogestan progesterone (I think 20 or 30 in the pack) is about $5 or $6 - big difference! And Utrogestan is a much nicer less messy product to use, we just can't get it in Aus.

      Because I had so much trouble with my lining, I also got my FS here to measure it a few times before I went over just for peace of mind...

      Anyway, hope that helps. Let me know if there are any other questions you can think of (also if you go on Fertility Friends - a UK website like bubhub, there is a lot of info about european clinics including Prague etc, lots of detail and feedback about Serum and I suspect Embryoland and other Greek clinics as well) - good luck!


      • Thanks for sharing that Vixjc. Even though I didn't go to Greece for my cycle (I went to cancun) I find this thread soo helpful and supportive. I'm in NZ with a postive beta. My GP's have refused to prescribe progesterone (my helpful GP on maternity leave) for me so am panicing as I only brought a limited amount back. Was the Chemist Warehouse quick delivery and any problems getting them through customs.
        I was also looking at fertility2U and IVF meds online. trying not to stress but need the pesseries ASAP. This is exactly the reason I went abroad for treatment! thanks for letting me join.


        • Progesterone is very hard to get here without a FS prescription (gp said they couldn't prescribe it). I was attending the Chemist Warehouse store with a FS prescription ... I know you can buy it online but I've never done it so don't know how long it would take ... Can you find a helpful FS?

          Sent from my iPhone using The Bub Hub mobile app


          • But even when I brought heaps back through customs I had no dramas at all ...

            Sent from my iPhone using The Bub Hub mobile app


            • Hey Chillout 71,

              i wish is i had known about Serum in Greece at 4 ivfs like u. I wasted much time, money & heartache in Australia. I did 7 ivfs in oz before finally researching my options of DE O/S.

              Luckily i I came across this site & the kindness & support of people like Vinjx & others who were on the same journey of wanting to become a mum too.

              Ask lots of questions, google your heart out, but in the end it's what's best for you & your partner.

              For me, going to Serum in Greece was the best decision I ever made! They are so kind and professional (our docs here in oz could learn a lot from them!). The protocols & attention to detail they put into your care gives you the maximum chance of success.

              Vinjx has has already gone through the costs with you, all I wanted to add, it is a wonderful experience & YES it is scary/exciting. The money, dealing with it not being biologically yours, will all sort themselves out.

              I've just come back from Serum, 1st go & am 9 wks pregnant



              • Dette, Congratulations to you.
                I'm in NZ and just returned from Cancun for first DE IVF. 3d transfer 4embryos, Not looking good, beta was 38, dropped to 20, awaiting blood results today. I'm not researching my options for another cycle, none made of my embryos made it to freeze.
                I really like the research and results coming out of Greece, serum. My question is how have you all found the flights?? I usually travel well but was soo sick on the 14 hr flight from LA to Brisbane. I would love to go ahead with Greece but find the flight time daunting. What routes did you do? Did you break it up? Thanks


                • Ah miss Macy, sorry to hear your results aren't going as hoped for at the moment This is such a tough gig and I know just how hard it is to travel a long way and have it not work, really really sucks! Lets hope your hcg has a wonderful surge in the next few days

                  As for flights, last time I went direct from Melbourne to Athens via Abu Dhabi, that was because I had such a short time to do it all in. I have also flown to Greece via Dubai (depends which airline you choose and I usually try to avoid Emirates who tend to have a 5 hour stop in Dubai which is just too long) and have done Europe via Singapore too. If you have time stop in Singapore to break up the trip! Go shopping, eat up (I SO love the food there!), visit the zoo If your trip over goes well then you wouldn't have to stop over on the way back if you didn't want to. If you usually travel well then I suspect you were just unlucky this time and next time will be the winner - from all angles

                  Just a note, Serum prefer 5 day transfers ... Mine was a 3x5day transfer. Good luck for your BT xx


                  • Thanks so much Vix, Congratulations, you'll be due soon. Hope you're not too uncomfortable.
                    The asia or europe routes sounds good. Yes, Dubia seems to have long lay overs and not a place I wanted to spend time again.

                    The 3 day vs 5 transfer i'm interested in. It seems the clinic I went to favoured the 3 day even though I wanted 5 day. The decision was made before hubby even made his donotion. Is there a real risk you could end up with none making it to day 5? Did you have any left to freeze?
                    Just an observation, but there seems to be a pattern on some other forums of donor eggs harvesting around 8-10, does this seem true to Europe? Did you have the saline wash prior to transfer? Sooo many questions, thanks so much.


                    • Ask as many questions as you like I say! There is so much about this that is uncretain, may as well get some info on whatever you can I reckon!

                      As I understand it, some FS's believe "better in than out" in terms of embryos, the sooner you get them back in, the better and more likely they are to succeed. But I'm not aware of any science to back that up (not that I've searched too much for it and like anything I'm sure ther are studies that indicate both ways) and of course, it would be a difficult thing to test because not all embryos are created equal and there are so many unknowns in this process. How can you say that an embryo that didn't survive to 5 days in the lab would have survived if was in the womb - there are so many clinics going the 5 day route these days I'm kore comfortable with that as I figure they wouldn't be doing it if they weren't getting the results to support it ... I think maybe the traditionalists are the ones that go with the 3 day transfer and the more progressive FS's/clinics go with 5 days.

                      When we were in Greece for our first attempt we got no frosties. With Serum we had 3-4 frosties but donated those. We were not sure they would all survive the defrost so wanted to be in a position to transfer 3 great embies on the next attempt (if we needed a next attempt) and were prepared to pay for a full cycle to have that opportunity. Also it was not cheap to freeze them so given the travel costs as well we'd rather start from scratch. I'm aware of a girl who went to South Africa who is currently pregnant and has 22 frosties from her single cycle with their donor. 22!!! Almost everyone I've heard of who uses a donor gets some frosties.

                      In terms of number of eggs, I think the number of eggs you get probably depends on each indvidual donor (their reactions to meds vary just like ours do) but also the clinic and the approach they take with stims. At Serum they prefer to stimulate the donors softly as they believe it results in better quality eggs. I'm a bit hazy on it now but from memory I think my donor had 12 eggs, around 9 fertilised, and there were about 6 Grade A's at 5 days, 3 transferred to me and by Day 6 a few more progressed to Grade A and so there were about 4 donated. My donor was 20 years old. I think if your donor was a newbie and therefore untested, there is a risk of nothing surviving to 5 days if her egg quality wasn't good. I think that's why its important to choose your clinic carefully and to consider how they treat their donors - and if you get to choose your own donor, choosing someone who has cycled before or has their own children is probably a way of reducing that risk. I understand that Serum has a back up donor cycling around the same time so that if the primary donor doesn't work/doesn't produce good quality, the back up donor is there. I did have the saline wash prior to transfer, I think I had that on maybe the Saturday and the transfer on the Sunday. The saline wash is a cake walk. It's basically a wet internal ultrasound - no biggie at all.

                      Hope that helps! AFM - 3.5 weeks to go ... I did the cutest load of washing today, so pint sized Hard to believe I'll be using it all soon!


                      • Hey Miss Macy,

                        i spent a couple of years living in Auckland & managed to travel around NZ - beautiful place!!

                        ive still got my fingers crossed for a positive blood test for you. This journey is truly a testing one & something I don't think any of us who are on it will understand - why do some people have it so easy & others not?!

                        should you have to go again & do another round of DE IVF, I did a little research on the 3 vs 5 days & asked numerous docs on the way & most agreeded that if the egg makes it to 5 days it means it got a higher probability of implanting. I found this hard also as with my own eggs & then even with DE eggs I was left very few at 5 days. Serum informed me when there that this was a sperm issue, more than an egg issue.

                        With our donor we had 12 eggs & only 2 made it to blastosis stage. We & the clinic were disappointed. This is how we learnt it was a sperm issue as this donor has previously had 10/12 etc good embro's to transfer.

                        However I must say serum were fantastic. We discussed our options - we had the choice of going with our 2 or we could have had an extra 2 of donated egg+sperm put in. Hence serum do offer you options. They understand you have come a long way & have a great deal on the line!

                        We put our 2 in & yay 1 took & I'm now 10 wks pregnant!!!!!

                        As for flights, I agree with Vinjx. We broke it up on the way over, stayed 2 nights in Abu Dhabi but flew straight home. If I do it again I would do via Singapore.

                        Keep us posted in how you go with blood test.

                        Vinjx, how exciting, washing wee things. That must make it seem very imminent! How's the nursery prep going?



                        • Hi Rachel70,

                          I had 2 embryos transferred but only 1 has taken. Dr Nikos was reluctant to transfer more than 2 as he said he's had several triplet pregnancies which carries a higher risk, and I trusted his judgement. To be honest, I think I'd quietly freak out if I had twins or triplets, but its up to personal choice I guess.

                          Everything has gone well so far and I certainly don't take our luck for granted. We also had 2 embryos frozen, I think it was 500 Euros per annum, not cheap but worth it for piece of mind if we decide to try for more.

                          I hope everything goes well for you in Jan, I'm sure you'll be well looked after. If you stay at the President Hotel (which is practically next door) and book directly with them, mention you're a patient of Embryoland and they'll give you a discount. Best of luck!


                          • Thanks so much for all the all info Vinjx and Dette and congratulations Dette too.
                            Greece sound like they have more options than putting all your 'eggs in one basket' (literally). I need to make my decision soon. Last Beta came back as 4. Suprised that since that the clinic has not been in contact about options.


                            • Aw crap Miss Macy - that hcg isn't what we wanted! I'm so sorry you've had that experience. And it sucks that your clinic has not been in touch - I've heard a bit of that lately and I've had it too. On my first trip to Greece I got pregnant, I saw my Aust FS/OB for the 7 weeks appt on my return, then he flew out on holidays. At the 8 week scan it showed no viable embryo. Another OB was taking care of me during my FS/OB's holidays, I ended up needing a chemically induced miscarriage because my body was hanging on to that non-viable pregnancy for dear life ... it was awful - this was last Christmas. And I never heard from that FS/OB again - I would have thought that some kind of contact on his return from leave would have been appropriate!?!? He sent me to Greece to his mates clinic, I got pregnant, I lost it, it was awful, where is the compassion? Customer service? It's bizarre hey.

                              Greece does provide more options I think. If you do go over, the President Hotel is right near Serum as well. Not as close as it is to Embryoland - but a short walk. However I wasn't a big rap for the President Hotel - although tbheir restaurant on the top floor was great - one main meal could serve three people! Huge! And very yummy. But that's just me - that hotel has had good feedback from others so maybe I just had an unlucky experience. The second time I went to Athens I got a little 1Br apartment - it was lovely, and there are lots in that area. It's quite a safe area (it's a bit of a medical district and the embassies are not far away), there is a supermarket nearby, and it was great to get up when I wanted, make my own tea and toast (I embraced my inner aussie bogun and took my vegemite with me ... and my English Breakfast teabags ) and lunch etc if I wanted, rather than being limited to hotel breakfast buffet time frames. I had unlimited high speed free wifi, and basically a bit more space than a hotel room, but for only 80 euro/night.

                              Lots of options lovely girl! Lots of decisions for you. But just for the moment, be kind to yourself and don't put too much pressure on yourself to decide your next steps just yet. Take care xxx


                              • Hey Miss Macy,

                                i just wanted to say I'm so sorry. This whole pregnancy journey has such highs & lows. My heart breaks for you.

                                Vinjx gives very good advice - take it nice & easy on yourself, physically, mentally & spiritually you will need time to heal, & it's ok to be sad & angry at the world. When your ready, then plan your next strategy. Vinjx is a wonderful example of fighting on & finally the planets aligned & she is very soon to be a mummy. I pray for this for you too!

                                Im sorry to say even after my own experiences in Australia, I think the medical field here have a lot to learn. The experience of here vs Greece is like night & day. Both in procedures & compassion.

                                Be be kind to you.

                                much love