Success rates for egg and sperm donation in Greece

By (embryologist) and (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 03/23/2016

Greek law on medically assisted reproduction sets out the ages of 35 and 40 in men and women respectively as the boundary lines for donating their gametes. Keeping this in mind, we can expect an improvement in the success rates of fertility treatments if compared to the use of own reproductive cells.

Only on an equal basis (e.g. age, absence of fertility problems, etc.), fertility treatment outcomes can be comparable. However, when own eggs are used, the patient is usually a woman of advanced reproductive age suffering from some sort of fertility problem. This is the reason why using donor eggs usually translates into improved success rates.

When talking about fertility treatment success rates, determining on what basis we are establishing such percentages and defining what do we mean by success is essential.

Broadly speaking, by success rate we refer to the number of live births, though success may be measured by just taking into account whether pregnancy has been achieved or not. In addition, such percentage may be calculated by egg retrieval, embryo transfer, or any other additional factor.

Egg donation

When a donor hands her eggs over to a receiving woman for in vitro fertilization (IVF), eggs can be used either for a fresh cycle or a frozen one. In the latter case, they are frozen for later use. There is also the possibility of fertilizing the fresh eggs with the husband's or donor sperm and then cryopreserve (freeze) the leftover embryos.

In Greece, success rates per transfer of embryos created using fresh donor eggs are somewhere between 57 and 70 per cent. Full-term pregnancy rates are slightly lower and may range from 68% to 61% owing to the number of cases of pregnancy loss. Such statistics are similar to those achieved in Spanish, Czech, and Polish fertility clinics.

It is important to stress that statistics may refer either to singleton or twin pregnancies, since Greek law only allows the transfer of a maximum of two embryos per donor-egg IVF cycle.

Be it as it may, these are just general figures and not official data, given that Greek fertility clinics are not legally bound to make their medical statistics public. Thus, there is no possible way to know to what extent these figures are exact precise.

Egg donation may turn out to be the reproductive solution to a large number of women, especially those whose eggs carry genetic alterations as well as women of advanced maternal age. A woman's ovarian reserve and egg quality keep on diminishing over time. The good news is that this deterioration does not affect the uterus so dramatically; therefore, egg donation is an accurate solution to women who chose to delay motherhood and did not freeze their oocytes at a younger age.

Donor intrauterine insemination

Data from an analysis conducted in 2010 by the ESHRE (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology) show a total amount of 65 cycles or donor intrauterine insemination carried out in Greece.

Of all those cycles, the miscarriage rate reached 15,4%. Out of those which lead to live birth, 70% were singleton pregnancies and 30% twin pregnancies. No triplet pregnancies were registered.

Donor sperm can be used also for IVF treatment, either using own eggs or donor eggs. Success rates for double-donor IVF (using both donated eggs and sperm) tend to be higher, since both reproductive cells are of an exceptional quality.

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 Andrea Rodrigo
Andrea Rodrigo
B.Sc., M.Sc.
Bachelor's Degree in Biotechnology from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. Master's Degree in Biotechnology of Human Assisted Reproduction from the University of Valencia along with the Valencian Infertility Institute (IVI). Postgraduate course in Medical Genetics. More information about Andrea Rodrigo
Adapted into english by:
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
B.A., M.A.
Fertility Counselor
Bachelor of Arts in Translation and Interpreting (English, Spanish, Catalan, German) from the University of Valencia (UV) and Heriot-Watt University, Riccarton Campus (Edinburgh, UK). Postgraduate Course in Legal Translation from the University of Valencia. Specialist in Medical Translation, with several years of experience in the field of Assisted Reproduction. More information about Sandra Fernández

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