There was an interesting piece in the Telegraph at the weekend about people travelling overseas for fertility treatment, but sadly it fell short on when it came to the suggestion that the number of egg donors in the UK has gone into decline since the change to the law on anonymity. In fact the number of new registered egg donors has risen steadily in recent years, but you’d never know this from reading most articles on the subject which accept the urban myth of the rapid decline in donors following the law change.
The article implies that new technologies used in Spain, such as time-lapse imaging, may not be available in the UK which is not the case. It also quotes a pregnancy rate of 90% after four embryo transfers for one Spanish clinic. Figures given here in the UK are not usually pregnancy rates but live birth rates, as we know that more than 50% of pregnancies will miscarry once a woman is in her forties and so the live birth rate is considered more meaningful. The 90% pregnancy rate can be compared with data released at the Fertility Fairness event last week from one UK clinic showing an 80% live birth rate rather than pregnancy rate after just three cycles of fully funded NHS treatment.
What I found most odd about the article was the claim that the desire for an anonymous donor is the key reason for couples to travel for treatment. In fact, when we did a survey at Infertility Network UK on why people choose to go abroad for treatment we discovered that this was not something that the vast majority wanted – some said that they’d accepted it because at the time it was the only way to get an egg donor. It was cost which was usually the main driving factor, along with donor availability.
Now, there are many clinics in the UK which don’t have long waiting lists for donors – and it is always worth looking at all your options before making a decision.