Portugal for egg freezing? Tell us more!
Well it’s really no wonder why Portugal has become so popular to visit. Lisbon, in particular, captures a captivating blend of influences that effortlessly merge the allure of Paris with the laid-back coastal vibes of San Diego. This enchanting city boasts a unique DNA, showcasing the elegance, cultural richness, and vibrant charm reminiscent of Paris, while also offering the sunny coastal appeal that instantly puts you at ease, just like in San Diego. Lisbon is a destination that truly has it all, attracting visitors from around the globe who seek a remarkable and unforgettable experience. And NOW, this could include medical tourism.
Why did I visit clinics in Portugal?
I was particularly intrigued by fertility clinics in Lisbon because Portugal has a unique policy regarding known donors, unlike Spain. In Portugal, if women choose to proceed with IVF within the country, they have the option of using known donors. This offers a distinct advantage for those considering using the frozen eggs to make embryos in order to do IVF in Lisbon.
Ginemed Clinic is located in a suburb of Lisbon
My main question when visiting fertility clinics in Lisbon was why they haven’t experienced the same level of international patient influx as countries like Spain or Greece, which are known for their prominent fertility clinics catering to foreigners. After observing the size of the clinic and considering that only one clinic was available to meet with me in Lisbon, it became evident that Portuguese clinics may not be fully prepared to handle a substantial influx of foreign patients seeking egg freezing services. However, this shouldn’t necessarily be viewed as a negative aspect. It’s important to note that Portugal currently has an open ID program, which means that the identity of the donor can be disclosed to the child in the future if desired.
Where did I stay in Lisbon?
I stayed in Barrio Alto which is really one of the more touristy neighborhoods of Lisbon and was located about 10-7 mins to various food markets. Pharmacies were nearby…about a 5 min walk in either direction. Tons of restaurants and coffee shops that also sold snacks and light meals were within walking distance. An Uber to the clinic was around 20 minutes travel time.
Lodging costs in Lisbon are experiencing a steady increase, just like in many other tourist destinations. Notably, they are higher compared to the average hotel prices in the US. During my stay in Lisbon, I opted for a combination of hotels and Airbnb accommodations. Interestingly, I found the hotels to be more competitively priced on a nightly basis than the Airbnbs I stayed in.
If you’re planning to stay in one place for 12-13 days, you might consider investing slightly more in an Airbnb that offers convenient amenities like cooking or laundry facilities. However, if you prefer dining out, you’ll be delighted to know that Lisbon boasts an abundance of restaurants specializing in foods that support egg quality diets. Additionally, pharmacies are easily accessible throughout the city, making it convenient for any health-related needs.
What was notable about the clinic’s location is that the US Consulate is literally “just around the corner” from Ginemed Clinic.
Ginemed is located on the 5th floor of a high rise building that houses a variety of businesses, not just medical. The building is super modern and clean and there is a very lovely cafe downstairs that has super friendly staff and quick and easy way to grab lunch featuring local fare such as cod coquette and shrimp empanadas. There are salads and pastas available but they tend to go pretty quickly as many of the people working in the building come down to have their lunch during their lunch break.
The area of town where the clinic is located seems to be located in a more business and commercial area of town. There are some residential areas mixed in but this part of town was obviously business Lisbon versus staying in the tourist centered areas. This is perhaps a good thing as some of places I stayed in was quite loud at night. Personally I prefer a quieter residential street. It is possible to get such a street even though one stays in downtown Lisbon.
This is the second clinic I attempted to visit in Lisbon, IVI. Unfortunately, they did not agree to meet with me to answer questions.
Ginemed clinic is also owned by the same group which owns the other clinic in town IVI Lisbon. IVI Lisbon put me in touch with someone in their marketing department for some reason and Maria Safont chose not to meet with me and would not provide much else. That clinic is located about 10 mins away by Uber behind a large office building on the main street on the ground floor on a side street. As I wasn’t given the opportunity to meet with this clinic I don’t have as much to say about it, it may or may not be, worth your time to contact them. I would say that this clinic was slightly smaller in size compared to Ginemed’s clinic.
Upon entering the clinic at Ginemed you will take a number from the ticket machine and keep an eye on the wall mounted monitors to note when you are being called.
The first time that I went to the office I was asked if there was a doctor that I preferred to work with. I liked that the clinic was open to honoring my preference for a doctor.
During my visit, I had the opportunity to interact with different departments and individuals. Firstly, I had a chat with Dr. Mendes, a doctor at the clinic, who informed me that there are a few Americans who come to Portugal for egg freezing. When I asked about the optimal age range for egg freezing, Dr. Mendes mentioned that it is typically between 25 and 35. I expressed my surprise at the young age of 25, questioning the need for fertility preservation in the absence of medical reasons. Dr. Mendes explained that there can be occasional “maturity issues” in that age group. However, I wondered whether this referred more to an awareness problem or a lack of education to raise awareness. While I’m not a doctor and didn’t inquire if Dr. Mendes was a mental health professional, it made me wonder about the underlying factors at play.
The consultation hallway at Ginemed clinic
Additionally, I had a separate interaction with the financial department, where a helpful and attentive young man addressed all my questions. He provided me with valuable information regarding egg freezing in Portugal. Moreover, he connected me with a woman who serves as the international patient care coordinator, who promptly followed up with an email the next day.
Overall, my visit to the clinic was informative, and I couldn’t help but reflect on the complexities and considerations involved in the world of fertility preservation.
Dr Mendes recommended to have a frozen cache of at least 10 eggs from someone who is 35 in order to optimize changes for a viable pregnancy. I tend to ask for stats around that age because that is a pretty common age for women to begin looking at fertility health preservation given no other health conditions exist. Of course exceptions exist.
I think that the doctors at Ginemed are fully capable of handing the medical tourism in regards to social egg freezing. They just don’t have the “welcome foreigner” sign up yet like clinics in Spain and Greece do.
That isn’t necessarily a negative thing.
The prices for egg freezing in Lisbon, as well as in Portugal overall, remain remarkably reasonable. While waiting in the clinic’s reception area, I overheard a conversation between a couple speaking with a North American accent, indicating that fertility clinics in Lisbon are gaining recognition among international visitors. Dr. Medes mentioned that several American women had specifically chosen Lisbon for their egg freezing journey.
Despite being a relatively new development, the clinic I visited in Lisbon was on par with the standards of other modern and hygienic facilities I had encountered elsewhere in Europe. As their program expands to accommodate a growing number of international patients, it is likely that prices may gradually increase. This trend, where higher demand from Americans often leads to higher prices (as clinics in Mexico have learned), makes it worth considering exploring egg freezing options in Portugal sooner rather than later.
By taking advantage of the current affordability and the advancements being made in Lisbon’s fertility clinics, you can secure a cost-effective and high-quality egg freezing experience. Stay ahead of the rising demand and potential price hikes by considering Portugal as your preferred destination for this important journey.
Interested in expanding your options in affordable egg freezing options? You can learn more here.