Greece is a very popular country to go to for IVF treatment. There are at least 50 IVF clinics in Greece dispersed around the country. People travel from overseas for egg donation and embryo donation and, like the Czech Republic and Spain, budget airlines fly to many locations in Greece making travel easy and cheap. If you are considering IVF in Greece then this guide may help you.
Egg Donation Greece
The anonymity laws in place for egg and sperm donation in Greece mean that there are many people who are willing to donate. As a result, there is virtually no waiting list for egg or sperm donation treatment. This, together with the low cost of treatment, makes Greece a popular place for people seeking egg donation abroad.
By law certain blood tests for infectious diseases have to be undertaken before the donor is allowed to donate. These are Hepatitis B and C, HIV, and syphilis. However, most clinics will go beyond these tests and perform other tests recommended by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). These include karyotyping (analysing the chromosome structure of cells) and chlamydia testing, for example.
Most IVF clinics also ensure that the donors are screened psychologically to ensure that they understand the consequences of donating and also to assess their motivation for doing so.
Information relating to height, weight, hair colour, eye colour, skin tone, blood group, and education is available to recipients. This information is usually available early on in the donation process.
Couples undergoing any assistive reproductive technology (ART) procedures in Greece must be screened for infectious diseases Hepatitis B and C, HIV, and syphilis. This includes recipients of egg donation. These tests must have been done within a year of the start of treatment.
As in Spain, Cyprus and the Czech Republic, there is no national register of donors which means it is difficult to determine how many times a person has donated before (Bulgaria does have a national register in place).
Embryo Donation Greece
Embryo donation is permitted in Greece. A couple who have completed their family can donate their surplus frozen embryos to another couple anonymously. Some IVF clinics, however, will only undertake fresh egg donation together with donated sperm i.e. “double donation”. The success rate of “double donation” is higher because the egg and sperm come from young donors with no history of infertility. Gametes and embryos can be left in frozen storage for up to 10 years.
Egg Donation Costs Greece
Egg donation treatment is cheaper relative to other countries in Europe. There are packages available which include all procedures and which start at 5000 Euros or cheaper. However, you will need to research fully to compare like-with-like. Our IVF Cost Calculator can help with understanding costs. On top of the advertised price, there may be additional tests which are required e.g. screening for infectious diseases (if these haven’t been carried out before).
IVF Laws Greece
The Greek law regarding all assisted reproductive techniques (Law 3305/2005) was issued on 27 January 2005. It covers many areas and is ultimately to ensure that the techniques and procedures are in the best interests of the conceived child.
The law states:
The age limit for women undergoing IVF treatment is 50 years. There is no age limit for men.
- Same sex couples are not “strictly” allowed to have treatment. However, as long as one partner signs a notarial deed saying that she is going through as a single woman with the use of donor sperm then it can be accommodated. In all non-married couples the law states that there is a requirement to have a signed notarial deed either stating that a woman is single or, if there is a partner, that he is agreeing to the treatment and that he will be the legal father of the offspring. The notarial deeds can be signed when the couple/woman arrives in Greece and the cost is between 40-70 euros.
- Sex selection is only allowed for medical reasons.
- Donation of egg and sperm is anonymous.
- Surrogacy is allowed under Greek law but the details stipulate there should be medical grounds and court approval must be arranged. Both the couple and the surrogate need to prove to the court that they are permanent residents of Greece.
- Embryo transfer laws state the following:
-In women under 35 years of age using own eggs, one or two embryos can be transferred.
-In women over 35 and under 40 years of age using own eggs, up to two embryos can be transferred if it is the first or second treatment cycles. Thereafter, on subsequent treatment cycles, up to three embryos can be transferred.
-In women aged 40 years of age using own eggs, up to three embryos can be transferred.
-In women over 40 years of age using own eggs, up to four embryos can be transferred.
-In all women using donor eggs, only two embryos are allowed to be transferred.
Safety and Quality in IVF Clinics Greece
There is now a specific regulatory body in Greece to oversee IVF clinics and to ensure that they comply with Greek IVF laws. National Medically Assisted Reproduction (ACE) is now in place to regulate the IVF clinics. Licensed IVF clinics & cryobanks can be found here but it is only in Greek at the moment as the English version is under construction.
IVF clinics are inspected and this inspection can be without any notice to ensure standards are being met. Many clinics will also have ISO accreditation which will attest to their adherence to safety and quality.
IVF success rates are not required to be submitted anywhere at the moment, so there is no independent verification of these results. Some IVF clinics do submit their results to ESHRE and take part in the annual survey carried out by ESHRE into the state of ART in Europe.
Greece is a popular place for treatment because the staff are well trained and experienced, the IVF laws are fairly liberal and the cost of the treatment can be cheaper than in other countries in Europe.