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US company selling IVF vacations

4 November 2009
Appeared in BioNews 533

US company 'The World Egg Bank' has signed a deal with IVI fertility clinics in Spain to provide US consumers with 'IVF vacations' to Spain. The company, which provides the world largest online registry of egg donors, specialises in services involving the extraction, storage and sale of cryopreserved eggs. The company touts the tours as costing the same or less than the price of IVF in the US but with the added benefit of a vacation in Alicante.

The package tour is priced at $19,500 (£12,000) and involves a 5-day round trip to Spain from the US. IVI, founded in 1990, claims to be the world's largest IVF centre for egg donation, providing 4,000 cycles of IVF a year across its 19 clinics. As with The World Egg Bank, IVI concentrates on frozen egg IVF provision and claims that its thawed egg services have produced a pregnancy rate of over 60 per cent.

Promising customers 'miles of pristine sandy beaches, breathtaking mountains, and year round moderate temperatures', The World Egg Bank coordinates shipping of ready frozen eggs from its corporate headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. By concentrating on the use of these frozen eggs the logistical complexity of coordinating egg donor and IVF recipient, as required for the supply of a fresh egg, is avoided. In a press release the President of the company, Diana Thomas, stated that 'recipients no longer have to synchronize cycles with the donor and the donor can be anywhere in the world.'

Ms Thomas started in the egg-donor recruitment business in 1995 after the birth of her third child using donor eggs. Her company 'X and Y consulting' merged 'Cryo Eggs International L.P' to form 'The World Egg Bank' in February of this year. It announced in March that it had gathered more than a million pounds worth of venture capital funding to support the development of its donor database.

World Egg Bank Launches Medical Tourism Program With World's Largest Egg-Donation Fertility Clinic
Reuters |  2 November 2009
15 March 2010 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A couple in the US has taken a novel approach to meeting the cost of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment. Rather than approaching the bank or re-mortgaging the family home, as some couples are reported to have done, Brandi and Shelton Koskie decided to try to raise the money required - estimated to be around $12,000 - through private fundraising....
21 September 2009 - by Ailsa Stevens 
British couples travelling abroad to take advantage of commercial surrogate arrangements are engaging in a form of 'exploitation', Professor Naomi Pfeffer, an expert in the ethics and regulation of controversial developments in medicine, said at a fertility meeting this week....
1 September 2009 - by Dr Francoise Shenfield 
As a clinician based in the UK, one cannot fail to be aware that some patients seek fertility treatments abroad. Until now we only had newspaper headlines or anecdotal evidence, but having presented the results of the first European study in Amsterdam at the annual ESHRE conference (1), we may now base our reflections on some facts, even if selected by the voluntary nature of participating colleagues and centres abroad....
18 May 2009 - by Professor Eric Blyth 
What we currently know about cross-border reproductive services derives primarily from anecdotal patient accounts shared on the Internet and reports provided by journalists - often working 'undercover' and posing as patients. The nefarious character of some services under investigation, alleging illegal activities (1,2) and exploitation of young women as egg donors...
26 August 2008 - by Professor Guido Pennings 
The European Society for Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) has been concerned about the development of cross-border infertility treatment for some time. There are three reasons for this: the frequently negative publicity for infertility treatment presented as 'reproductive tourism', the increasing numbers and the risks for patients. ESHRE has taken...
5 July 2004 - by Dr Kirsty Horsey 
Last week, the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) released data on IVF and ICSI success rates across Europe. This showed, among other things, that fertility clinics in some eastern European countries that have recently joined the European Union have success rates equal to or better than those...
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