June is finally here and so is summer! A great opportunity for you to visit Greece for your fertility journey has arisen. We get asked a lot why should anyone visit Greece for their infertility treatment rather than their home country. Let’s step back a bit and explain what infertility looks like and when and if you need fertility treatment.
In general, infertility is described as the inability to conceive after 1 year of trying if the woman is under 35 years old, or 6 months if she is over 35 years old. It is estimated that 1 in 6 people worldwide will experience infertility, so you understand that it is a common disease that should definitely be acknowledged better. Also, we should point out that infertility is not only a woman’s issue. Actually, it has been found that one-third of infertility issues are due to women, one-third due to men, and the other third due to unknown reasons, aka unexplained infertility.
Some of the most common reasons for infertility in women are tubal, uterine, and ovarian disorders, as disorders of the endocrine system too.
Tubal disorders: Tubal factor infertility occurs when a blockage in the fallopian tubes doesn’t allow the egg and sperm to meet. Tubal factor infertility accounts for about 25-30% of all cases of infertility. It can be caused by infections, abdominal surgery, and diseases like endometriosis.
Uterine disorders: uterine fibroids, polyps, scar tissue, radiation damage (from cancer treatment), or injuries to a woman’s uterus can prevent a pregnancy. This can include infertility that’s caused by Asherman’s syndrome, a rare condition where scar tissue in the uterus creates blockages that prevent a pregnancy from happening.
Ovarian disorders: PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), POF (premature ovarian failure), thyroid problems that can prevent ovulation.
Disorders of the endocrine system: these types of disorders can cause hormonal imbalances. Some examples are pituitary cancers and hypopituitarism.
Common reasons for infertility in men
Apart from the above medical conditions, lifestyle factors like obesity or anorexia, smoking, excessive alcohol intake, bad diet, and absence of exercise can influence fertility negatively.
If you tried to conceive with no result for months and you are ready to consult with a fertility specialist, it is time to be informed about the available fertility treatments. Information in this article is general and must not be taken for granted as each case is unique and only your doctor can decide which treatment is best for you.
The most common assisted reproduction technique. It is a complex procedure where the fertilization of the egg happens outside the woman’s body, in a laboratory, in order to create the embryo. Usually, we divide IVF into 5 stages: ovarian stimulation, egg retrieval, sperm retrieval, fertilization, and embryo transfer. One cycle of IVF usually takes up to 6 weeks, and its success rate depends primarily on the woman’s age. According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, IVF success rates decrease dramatically after the age of 37. Therefore, after the age of 43, it has been suggested that donated eggs from younger women are often needed for a successful pregnancy.
Women and couples eligible for the treatment usually are those:
The overall IVF success rate in Greece is 55%, while worldwide the success rate is 45-48%. As of May 2022, Greece also raised its IVF age limit from 52 to 54 years old, making the country even more appealing for a fertility journey.
Having mentioned that IVF is a good option for male infertility issues, there is also another treatment that mainly is used for male fertility struggles. It has been found that ICSI is most successful for male infertility and a fertility specialist may suggest it when the male has a very low sperm count, when sperm is abnormally shaped, when it needs to be surgically collected from the testicles or epididymis, or when the frozen sperm that is used in the treatment is not of the highest quality. Also, it is used in cases where IVF wasn’t successful. ICSI is exactly the same as IVF, with the only difference being that instead of mixing the sperm with the eggs and leaving them to fertilize, the embryologist will inject a single sperm into the egg.
The treatment that’s used when a woman’s eggs are not viable to result in a successful pregnancy. Usually performed in women of a later maternal age. The procedure is similar to IVF, only now the eggs are sourced from a friend, an anonymous donor, or an egg bank. The donated eggs are fertilized with the male’s sperm in the laboratory and then transferred into the woman’s uterus. Success varies depending on the age of the eggs, retrieval process, quality of sperm, and overall health of both the donor and the recipient. There is an 80% possibility that the treatment will result in appropriately developing embryos, but the number is subjective to each unique case.
The treatment that gives women the ability to control when and if they are going to be mothers. The fast pace of life may force women to put on hold their plans for parenthood and that is totally ok if that’s their decision. So, if they decide to preserve their fertility for the future they can perform egg freezing. The procedure involves freezing the eggs which can later be used via IVF to conceive. According to the new Greek government act in May 2022, women can now freeze their eggs not only for medical reasons but for social ones too. Also, they can freeze them without the consent of their partner, and if they are divorced they can use their freezing eggs again without their partner’s consent. The optimal age for freezing eggs is between 30 and 34 years old, but many clinics work with women around 40 years old, Restrictions may arise if a woman is above 40 years old, but there are clinics that allow egg freezing for women over 45 years old, although it is not advisable as egg quality and quantity will be low. In accordance with Greek legislation, egg freezing is permitted for 5 years, and the duration of the cryopreservation can be extended for 5 years each time with the use of a writing application.
The new revolutionary method that restores hormonal imbalance and can help women conceive naturally. Treatment is most beneficial for women in menopause or early perimenopause stage, and it is usually performed before IVF. Women with low ovarian reserve and those with low AMH are also a good fit. It is in general a safe procedure and its side effects are very similar to an egg retrieval procedure that usually takes place within the IVF process. Side effects are temporary discomfort or pain that may last a couple of hours.
It has been suggested that one round of treatment is enough to experience the benefits of it and it takes approximately 2 to 24 weeks for them to show. It is also worth mentioning that most women notice that the therapeutic effects of the treatment last 5 to 7 months.
Some of the benefits are:
Most common questions regarding infertility treatments:
According to an accountant, “fertility enhancement, such as in vitro fertilization (including temporary storage of eggs or sperm) and surgery to reverse prior surgery that prevented the person from having children, is tax deductible.”
Fertility enhancement, such as in vitro fertilization (including temporary storage of eggs or sperm), is tax deductible.
Here are some fertility-related medical expenses that may be tax deductible:
In any case, consult with your accountant to be sure of what applies to your situation.
Yes, fertility treatments can be very expensive, especially in the US and the UK. When you take into consideration that you may need more than one cycle to conceive, then the costs might seem unbearable. There is an easy way out though. Traveling for your fertility journey in Greece. With lower prices than the countries mentioned above, but with good success rates, top-notch fertility clinics, good legislation, and usually no waiting lists, Greece is considered by many as a top fertility destination.
Indicatively let’s state a price range for the below fertility treatments:
IVF: Around 3 to 4k
IVF with egg donation: Around 6 to 7k
Egg freezing: Around 3k
Ovarian rejuvenation: Around 2k (depending on the category of ovarian rejuvenation price may be higher).
The success of a infertility treatment depends on many factors, with the main factor being a woman’s age and overall health. Each case is unique and should be treated as such. As we stated above, the IVF success rate in Greece is around 55%, IVF with egg donation rate around 58%, and ovarian rejuvenation success rate around 70-80%, depending on the clinic that will perform it. The most important thing is to find the right doctor for you, the doctor that will treat you as an individual case according to your personal wants and needs. Don’t just rely on the numbers blindly.
Mentally they are. The emotional rollercoaster that you’ll experience during the time of your treatment will not be easy. It will be necessary for you to maintain a steady mental health state at all times. As for physical pain, patients have not reported any major side effects, and most of them are usually created by fertility medication. Side effects like mood swings, headaches, abdominal pain, hot flashes, and temporary discomfort.
In any case, again it is crucial to point out that finding the right doctor and clinic to perform your fertility treatment is the number one priority. When you trust your doctor and communicate freely about your concerns, everything will go smoothly.
Finding the correct fertility doctor is not an easy task, and maybe won’t happen on the first try.
MEDIPASS can be your partner during your fertility journey and help you towards a safer and more personalized journey.
DM/email us or book a free call if you want to know more about how we can help you and what are your options while visiting Greece.
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