For most people, labor day is spent enjoying the last official day of summer. For us, it was spent on Skype communicating with fertility clinics in Spain, Russia and the Czech Republic. Guided by our own personal questions and standard form questions we found on the Internet, it was our hope and intent to gather as much information as possible about the three clinics.
First on this list, a clinic in Barcelona,Spain (Barcelonaivf.com) We read great things about this clinic, but unfortunately it was not the right fit. In order to undergo treatment at this facility, a couple needs to be in Spain for three to four weeks. Realistically, we could not afford to be away from work for this length of time. We quickly scratched this facility from the list.
Our next call was with a clinic in St. Petersburg, Russia (Avapeter.com). The clinic is very similar to the ones we explored in New Jersey because it offers several packages, and the chance to see baby photos and brief descriptions of potential donors. The prices are on the high end of the spectrum for overseas, but it is attractive for couples looking for more options. The downside of the clinic is the requirement for United States citizens to obtain a visa in order to enter Russia. Furthermore, in order to receive a visa one must obtain a formal invitation to travel to the country. Despite this reality were not ruling this clinic out.
Our final call of the day was to a clinic in Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic (czechivf.com). Unlike the other facilities, we actually spoke to the doctor in charge. He was thorough and answered all our questions. This clinic offers a seven day package which includes accommodations and transportation to and from the airport ($5,290 Euros).
During the phone call, we learned that European egg donation is an anonymous process. Information provided to couples wishing to use these facilities is limited to a brief description of both the physical characteristics, and interests of the potential donor. Donors undergo the same level of testing and screening in the United States. Instead of the couple picking the donor, the doctor uses pictures of the couple along with their preferences to match up potential donors. Initially, we were both uncomfortable with the level of protection afforded to potential donors, but understood that we chose to go overseas and therefore needed to be flexible.
We were exhausted from our laborious day and still no closer to picking the proper facility, but at least we were on the right track.