We turned to the team at Embryolab Fertility Clinic in Greece to help us understand the process of travelling abroad for IVF
Before we talk about the process of travelling abroad, we want to understand why people choose to travel abroad for IVF. Can you tell us some of the reasons people come to you in Greece?
Of course. We have listed below the key reasons people come to us:
Cost effective treatments
- No add-ons or hidden changes. Blastocyst culture, ICSI, IMSI, Time Lapse incubator, Assisted Hatching are included in the cost of the treatment. This way we increase the chances of success at an affordable cost.
- Less expensive pre-treatment investigation allowing patients to investigate further and increase the chances of success with a lower cost.
- Less expensive medication, blood tests and ultrasound monitoring making the whole treatment more affordable.
- Lower cost of living in Thessaloniki decreasing the overall cost of staying.
- Low travelling cost (low cost flights, direct flights, proximity from the airport and the city center). Embryolab Clinic is 15 minutes from the airport, 20 minutes from the city center and 30 minutes from the closest sandy beach.
- Combination of vacation & treatment affecting the annual family budget. Thessaloniki is a city that offers many tourist options for summer vacation by the beach or winter vacation in the mountain.
Excellent success rates deriving from
- Holistic approach in 3 stages: preparation for the pregnancy, individualized treatment, monitoring and support until event after the positive pregnancy test
- Emphasis on the pre-conception optimization
- Safe treatment protocols designed on evidence based practice
- High experience in molecular biology study (genetic screening of embryos, sperm and endometrium)
- High experience in testicular biopsy Micro-Tese with increased finding rates of spermatozoa in men with azoospermia
- High success rates since 2012 with the use of Embryoscope, the non-invasive and innovative system of culturing and evaluation embryos
- Additional increase of success rates with the cryopreservation program
- State of the art technology combined with a long experience and a high expertise in IVF treatments
No waiting lists
The IVF/ICSI treatment starts without any delay with the completion of the medical file. As far as other treatments are concerned (Egg donation – Embryo donation) there is a period of preparation of the donor’s matching and screening process depending on the phenotypic characteristics of the recipient.
Individualized approach and a personal care
At Embryolab, we know that low fertility requires an individualized approach. Every patient facing fertility issues, will undergo the appropriate examinations, on the basis of which we select personalized treatments and methods to deal with low fertility. We apply custom made reproductive medicine, and adapt the innovation in each case separately so as to achieve the greatest benefits. (Click here to learn more)
The legal framework in Greece regarding assisted reproduction is one of the most safe and patient friendly in Europe. It allows all women to seek treatments as a couple or as single until the age of 50 years old. Additionally it allows a variety of IVF treatments including egg, embryo or sperm donation, genetic testing for the embryos, social freezing and fertility preservation.
Can I have an initial chat with someone at your clinic to run some questions past you before I book and pay for a consultation? Would this chat be free?
The initial consultation with one of fertility doctors is offered for free to all patients interested in having a treatment. At Embryolab, we strongly believe that in order to provide accurate answers and custom made treatments we need to understand the needs of each patient and evaluate their medical condition right from the first contact.
Will I have any issues with language? Does everyone at the clinic speak English?
All of the clinic team speaks fluent English and it will be very easy to communicate during your visit. Most importantly in order to provide the best possible service, the International Department of Embryolab is staffed with native speaking Coordinators who will accompany you during your fertility journey. We speak 7 languages: English, French, Italian, German, Serbian, Romanian and Russian.
Moreover, the Embryolab team consists of top-notch English speaking doctors, embryologists and scientists from many disciplines with great specialization and experience in the field of fertility.
I have been told to make sure the clinic I choose is regulated. How do I find this out?
Embryolab has been offering its services since 2004 and operates under license from the Greek National Authority of Assisted Reproduction – ΕΑΙΥΑ. In this framework Embryolab is audited and monitored on an annual basis by Bureau Veritas according to ISO 9001 and ISO 15224 international quality standards. In addition to this, since 2020, Embryolab is also audited and monitored bi-annually by TÜV AUSTRIA Hellas according to the Covid Shield quality scheme.
Compliance with the strict requirements of these authorities and accreditation bodies ensures the continuous offering of high quality and secure services and IVF treatments. In addition to these, Embryolab is also a member of the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology – ESHRE and thus monitors and abides with all European and international developments and guidelines for IVF.
Where can I see your clinic success rates?
For Embryolab to draw conclusions from its results, we take into consideration all our circumstances, irrespective of age and medical history. For each case, no matter how complicated, there are scientifically supported possibilities of success. Furthermore, we believe it is vital to take into account pregnancies with healthy children and not just the positive pregnancy test.
Our results are published for everyone to consult. Click here to view.
Would my consultation following an initial call be with a consultant? Would it be a zoom call?
During the initial online consultation you will get to meet both the doctor, who will be responsible of your medical treatment, as well as your personal coordinator who will be with you throughout your IVF journey.
Furthermore if, in order to better evaluate your case, an online meeting with another specialty in needed as well i.e. with a senior embryologist or the clinic’s in-house geneticist, your personal coordinator will make sure she organizes for you all additional meetings, again free of charge.
Embryolab Fertility Clinic, in order to ensure a safe and secure environment, while exchanging sensitive medical data during your meetings with the clinic, has created an online secure platform where all meetings take place.
Therefore, at the time of your online meeting you will be receiving a link to join our experts on our secure platform called ‘‘Connect’’.
What happens during that consultation?
The fertility expert will discuss with you your medical history and possible attempts you have undergone up to then. The goal is to explore in detail your medical background in order to then be able to discuss the best way to proceed, in order to maximize your chances from your upcoming treatment. He will also prescribe a list of tests as a detailed prenatal screening, based on your medical history. You see, here at Embryolab only custom made treatments are offered to our guests.
Once the initial meeting is complete, you will receive the medical orders for the tests that the doctor will prescribe and a financial offer prepared for you concerning the total cost of the treatment discussed.
Should I have had tests with my doctor or gynecologist prior to this consultation to identify why I can’t conceive? If yes, what initial tests should I have had?
It is not mandatory. However, a recent AMH level, a vaginal ultrasound and a semen analysis surely will help with the initial assessment of your case.
Embryolab’s fertility expert will prescribe a very detailed prenatal screening after your initial meeting. It is called Pre-conceptual optimisation!
After the consultation with the doctor, how long would it be until I travel to Greece?
It depends from your treatment, your lifestyle arrangements and when you wish to start. Your personal coordinator will help you and plan everything with you.
It is important though that all tests requested are done before you commence, in order to receive a targeted and personalized treatment plan.
How much time will I be in Greece? I will need to book time off work?
We provide the possibility to all patients to start their treatment in their country in order to minimize the number of days away from home. For an IVF treatment the minimum stay from the egg collection until the embryo transfer is 7 to 10 days in total.
For a donation treatment it is recommended to plan the treatment in 2 visits of 1 day staying that can even be during a week-end.
In both cases, the planning of the process is completed after taking into account the availability of each patient and for that matter the dates of travelling are known at least one month before the treatment in order for the patient to make the necessary arrangement with work obligations.
Do you help with accommodation?
At Embryolab, every patient has its own dedicated coordinator. In the concept of helping and guiding them to have a smooth and stress-free treatment, we provide assistance not only in finding an accommodation but in every step of the procedure before, during and even after the treatment.
What happens when I get to the clinic?
When arriving at the clinic, your personal coordinator will welcome you and escort you during the whole duration of your visit.
The feeling of having by your side someone you know already creates a sense of familiarity, a sense that you are home away from home!
What happens if further testing in Greece shows that I need a donor egg? What would happen?
All test results are evaluated during a one to one consultation session with the treating physician. Depending on the results, the doctor after evaluating the medical file will present success rates and propose the best treatment option that will increase the chances of a healthy baby at home.
In the case that an egg donation treatment is a more suitable option, we organize an appointment to discuss all details regarding the treatment so that all information are revealed forehand and that there will be no surprises. Additionally, a meeting with one our embryologist will also take place to discuss matters that concern the donor, the embryos and the sperm parameters.
At Embryolab, we leave nothing to chance and all specialties are in direct contact with each patient. We are all a team with a common goal!
Are there any restrictions with regards to Covid?
Having been the first IVF Clinic in Greece to be accredited with the Covid Shield scheme of TÜV AUSTRIA, Embryolab has been operating normally all throughout the pandemic period.
While there are some additional preventive protocol measures, such as PCR tests or Covid triage questionnaires, during therapies, there are no restrictions to treatments at Embryolab. It is however advised to all international patients to monitor travel restrictions and preventive measures at their home country and in Greece as they proceed with their therapy.
The situation for international travel arrangements and requirements has been dynamic all throughout 2020 and is expected to remain so for 2021 as well. Embryolab’s international therapy coordinators can also provide relevant advice.
Do I stay in Greece during the two week wait?
After the completion of the treatment and the embryo transfer you can return home safely and continue your everyday life until the pregnancy test.
If I return home and do a pregnancy test two weeks later and it is positive, what do I do next?
It is advisable to complete a blood test of b hcg (not a urine test) as it is important to detect the exact level of b hcg after the completion of an IVF treatment.
As you achieved the positive result, then you should inform your IVF gynecologist to provide you with the continuation and/or adjustment of the medication protocol and the doctor might request a new blood test of b hcg again in order to monitor the progress.
Avoid evaluating the results on your own as many parameters should be taken into consideration for a proper approach. Also you should start organizing the monitoring of the pregnancy for the natal scan through your general practitioner or obstetrician.
If I return home and do a pregnancy test two weeks later and it is negative, what do I do next?
After an IVF treatment a blood test of hcg should be performed (not a urine test) to confirm the outcome. Avoid having the test earlier than instructed. It would be important to confirm with your IVF gynecologist the negative result by forwarding the official report of the b hcg result, as the unit of measurement and exact level of the hormone should be evaluated accurately.
The discontinuation should be provided by the IVF gynecologist as it might need to be done gradually. An online appointment is organized with the responsible doctor in order to review the attempt and design the next step as soon as you feel ready and comfortable.
If you would like any more information about travelling abroad for treatment, do drop the team a line by clicking here.
Article written by:
Thanasis Mavroulis, Anna Giovani, Margarita Doumpogia, and Marietta Gouverou.