Traveling to the USA for Egg or Sperm Donation

By BSc, MSc (embryologist) and BA, MA (fertility counselor).
Last Update: 10/08/2015

The United States of America have tough security measures that contribute to screen visitors to the US and guarantee national security as well. To do this, visitors to the US are required by the the Bureau of Consular Affairs to apply for a series of particular documents that we mention hereunder.

The different sections of this article have been assembled into the following table of contents.

Requirements to enter the USA for foreign citizens

Regardless of your motives for going overseas, either for leisure or reproductive purposes, every citizen from a foreign country who wishes to enter the USA must obtain a valid ESTA Travel Authorization, which stands for Electronic System for Travel Authorization. You shall find which specific nationalities must apply for the ESTA in the following section.

Many patients from all over the world decide to travel to the USA to undergo assisted reproductive technologies (ART), especially egg donation and/or sperm donation, due to the absence or poor set of regulations governing this field.

Those who are about to travel to the USA in order to seek a solution for their fertility problems should bear in mind some of the aspects that are mentioned in the paragraphs below.

Travel authorization to the US

As indicated above, applying for the ESTA Travel Authorization is required for most of the foreign citizens who wish to enter the United States.

To acquire the ESTA Travel Authorization, you must apply through an online application. This authorization is based upon a system that determines the eligibility of visitors in order to collect biographic information about them. Only visitors whose country is under the Visa Waiver Program (VWP) can apply for the ESTA Travel Authorization.

This authorization is aimed at persons who want to enter the US temporarily for business, medical assistance, or leisure during a maximum period of 90 days. By obtaining the ESTA, visitors whose purpose is one of the afore mentioned do not need to apply for a visa, which is mandatory for longer-term stays.

US bound foreign travelers should apply for a travel authorization at least 72 hours prior to departure. Once obtained, it is valid for a period of 2 years. To apply for the ESTA Travel Authorization, you must submit a valid passport, i.e. not expired. Otherwise, the ESTA has no legal validity and therefore you won’t be allowed to enter the country.

The following are the countries whose citizens must apply for an ESTA Travel Authorization in order to enter US territory: Andorra, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brunei, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Malta, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.

Fertility treatment

Before starting a fertility treatment in the USA, another aspect you should take into account as well is which technique will the treatment require, since the duration of your stay will depend on it.

  • Sperm donation: in case you are planning to start a fertility treatment using donor sperm and your own eggs, the mother-to-be has to undergo ovarian stimulation and egg retrieval (follicular puncture) in the US. Thus, the stay may last around two or three weeks.
  • Egg donation: conversely, if the fertility treatment is performed using the partner’s own sperm but donor eggs, the duration of the stay may be extended for up to one week, since men require no special treatment to produce a semen sample.

It should also be noted that the stay may be shorter in cases of artificial insemination if compared to in vitro fertilization or surrogacy cycles.

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Authors and contributors

 Andrea Rodrigo
Andrea Rodrigo
BSc, MSc
Embryologist
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
 Sandra Fernández
Sandra Fernández
BA, MA
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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