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A Growing Number of Brits Cross the Atlantic for Donor Egg IVF Treatment at Shady Grove Fertility Center

Reverse medical tourism driven by donor egg availability and lower cost, innovative IVF financing options

ROCKVILLE, Md., June 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- More and more couples from the United Kingdom are crossing the ocean for donor egg treatment at Shady Grove Fertility Center (, the Washington/Baltimore area's largest in vitro fertilization (IVF) and fertility clinic. More than five dozen British patients received IVF treatment there last year, which was a 350-percent increase over 2007; most were donor egg recipients.


In a reversal of the medical tourism flow of Americans overseas in search of less costly elective medical procedures, many British fertility patients who need to use donor eggs rather than their own are flocking to Shady Grove Fertility Center (SGFC). In the UK, where egg donors are neither paid nor guaranteed anonymity, donor eggs are scarce, wait times can be as long as three years and choice of donor is limited. In contrast, Shady Grove Fertility not only pays donors, but also offers an innovative way to reduce waiting time and cost for donor eggs. In addition to the traditional donor egg method of matching each donor with a single recipient, Shady Grove Fertility Center patients also have the option of enrolling in what's called "Shared Donor Egg," a unique program through which one donor's eggs may be shared by two or three recipients, Whichever option a patient selects, pregnancy rates are comparable.

In the past 18 months, Shady Grove Fertility Center has established innovative partnerships with three UK fertility clinics -- the third just launched earlier this year. Since late March, when Dr. Levy and three of his donor egg team staff hosted an informational seminar in the United Kingdom for several dozen potential donor egg patients there, more than 20 have scheduled appointments and/or been seen by an SGFC doctor. On that same trip, Dr. Levy and his staff visited the three UK partner clinics to better coordinate the bi-country donor egg treatment process.

The collaborative treatment process involves only two visits to SGFC per cycle of donor egg treatment. On the first visit to SGFC, the male partner's sperm is frozen and an egg donor is selected. The couple then returns to the UK, where an SGFC partner clinic provides additional treatment and support -- such as hormone injections to prepare the woman's uterus for pregnancy -- while SGFC harvests the donor's eggs and fertilizes them in vitro with the thawed sperm. Only then does the couple return to Maryland for embryo transfer. This streamlined, trans-Atlantic system results in pregnancy success rates comparable to those of couples using fresh sperm.

"In some countries, infertility treatments are very limited or restricted and may even be illegal," said Michael J. Levy, M.D., Shady Grove Fertility Center's founder, who in late 2007 began establishing relationships with doctors and fertility clinics in the UK. "We at Shady Grove Fertility are proud that word has reached the other side of the Atlantic about our innovative financing programs, our strong emphasis on quality patient care, and our outstanding IVF success rates."

Using the UK program as a model, SGFC has a late June trip planned to Ireland to explore setting up a similar set of relationships with potential partner clinics, as well as interested patients.

About Shady Grove Fertility Center

Shady Grove Fertility Center is America's largest private fertility center, performing more than 3,500 in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles annually -- more than all other Baltimore/Washington area fertility clinics combined. Twenty-one reproductive endocrinologists, Ph.D. scientists and geneticists, as well as 350 specialized staff care for patients in 11 full-service offices throughout the Washington, DC, and Baltimore areas. Shady Grove Fertility offers a comprehensive range of fertility treatment options including IVF, donor egg and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and integrative holistic care, as well as resources to address all patients' needs -- medical, emotional, and financial. Shady Grove Fertility conducts clinical research in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health and is part of their subspecialty training Fellowship in Reproductive Endocrinology. Since Shady Grove Fertility's inception in 1992, more than 15,000 IVF babies have born. Shady Grove Fertility physicians have been featured as experts for comment on media outlets such as NBC's The Today Show, The New York Times, NPR's Diane Rehm Show (WAMU-FM 88.5, Washington, DC), and Parent Magazine. Washingtonian magazine listed Shady Grove Fertility among the area's Best Places to Work in 2007. Visit

SOURCE Shady Grove Fertility Center
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