IVF in Mexico: Sarah’s fertility tourism journey (part 3)

read part 1 of Sarah’s fertility tourism journey

read part 2

Preparatory Medications and Tests

The other big challenge was the need to have most of my prep and medical care completed in the U.S. in order to simply arrive for the week of my transfer. There were several steps that needed to happen in the U.S., including taking several medications.

I did the initial uterine test scan after 10 days of estrogen to make sure my lining would thicken at my Reproductive Endocrinologist’s office because they thought I was moving forward with a frozen egg from their egg bank. But once they got wind of the fact that I was planning to go abroad for an egg donor, they stopped responding to my questions and eventually actually refused to treat me. Luckily I had a good relationship with my OB/GYN who agreed to order a hysterosalpingogram, to screen for fibroids and prescribe the estrogen I would need to take for several weeks before arriving in Mexico.

I have heard of other people getting medications through online Canadian pharmacies. But one big challenge is trying to figure out how to navigate the prescriptions and necessary tests here in the U.S. Some fertility clinics may be more willing to help. But this is an area you need to explore before committing to go abroad. You need a support team here in the US.

Getting Sperm Samples into a Foreign Country

The most critical and hair-raising part of the process was getting my sperm samples into Mexico. I was using an anonymous donor through a local sperm bank that refused to FedEx to Mexico. They would ship to many other countries, but refused to ship to Mexico, claiming that their tanks had been broken open at the border.

I found many solutions to this problem. I could buy the tank, or I could use a private courier to transport the sperm in his own tank. But the sperm bank was very reluctant, refusing to do the paperwork that would release my sperm samples to the courier. I had to get special clearance from the clinic to release my sperm to the private courier.

Once I had clearance from the sperm bank, the Clinic in Mexico tried to obtain a permit. Initially the permit was supposed to take 2-3 weeks to issue. But after 3 weeks I checked in with the clinic only to find out it would be another 2-3 weeks. And, again 2 weeks later I got another response that it was going to take another 2-3 weeks. I had allowed a lot of time, but now I no longer had 2-3 weeks. So, I took matters into my own hands and chose a new sperm donor from another sperm bank that ships 50% of its samples abroad. They assured me they had shipped to Mexico several times and that it would not be a problem. “We don’t need any special permits.”

When the tank arrived in Mexico, it was held at customs for a few days while it waited for a permit. But between the clinic and the sperm bank, the permit magically appeared and my sperm was released to the clinic.

A Happy Customer

I ended up pregnant after my first trip to Mexico, so I was definitely a happy customer. There were some challenges I had to face by going to Mexico but in the end they were all worth it to me.

I found the Mexican team I worked with to be slightly less diligent and detail-oriented than I would have liked, but they make up for it in sweetness and genuine care. I had to let go of my lawyer mind that is constantly worrying about details and all the things that could go wrong and simply trust. I hadn’t found any complaints about the clinic in Mexico and my gut told me it was the right choice. So, I kept returning to that knowledge and relaxed into the process.

Before going abroad for IVF, you will need to make sure you have the support of your OB/GYN or Reproductive Endocrinologist so that you can arrive very shortly before your procedure.

And, if you are single and using sperm from a sperm clinic, you need to make sure you can get it into that country. Some sperm clinics are very accommodating and others not. (See the Choice Mom E-Guide: All About Sperm, which includes a comparison chart of more than 10 sperm banks, including links to each website. Most of the banks featured do international shipment.)

Overall, the trade-offs were well worth it for me. I spent a mere $7,500 instead of over $40,000. 

If I hadn’t gotten pregnant on the first try, my follow-up treatments would have only been $3,500. If you are adventurous, trusting and tenacious, I would definitely recommend exploring the world of Vacation IVF. Do your homework, but be ready to let go of the details and trust that it’s a reputable world that wants to help you get pregnant.

— Sarah


  36 comments for “IVF in Mexico: Sarah’s fertility tourism journey (part 3)

  1. Cecilia Tuitaua
    January 29, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    Hi i would like to know or if you can inform me what is the name of the clinic and location in
    Tinuana mexico. Or the address…thank you kindly……….ceci.

  2. Christine Romero McCoy
    April 16, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Thanks so much Lucy! Yes even though the donor is probably a young healthy woman my husband and I always planned to do PGD testing (CgH?) no matter what. How old were you when you conceived? I’m 46 but very healthy. Was your RE in the US very involved in pre and post implantation care? Were they willing or was it difficult to keep them on board? I think my RE may not want to be so helpful once she knows we’re doing this outside her clinic but I hope not. Were the legalities of being able to see a photo applicable bc you were a foreigner?

    Thanks again!

    • SHELLY
      February 4, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      Did you proceed just curios I am the same age and advise would be great Thanks!!!

  3. MF
    January 25, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Hi Sarah. Congrats. Can you advise which sperm bank you used? We are having the same issues with importing the donor sperm into Mexico.

    • Sarah
      January 26, 2016 at 1:24 pm

      I used Xytec but have also heard that Fairfax will ship. I think Xytec will also ship your sperm samples from another clinic. Let me know if you have any other questions, I’m happy to help. There are also private couriers that will hand carry the samples into the country.
      Good luck

      • ru
        April 5, 2016 at 9:40 pm

        Hi Sarah
        What shipping company did you use to bring the sperm in Mexico?
        I have two frozen embryos in NY that I would like to ship to Tijuana
        But I had contacted Cryoport but they need permit from Mexican Clinic and clinic says that I am the own to get it but how the hell am i going to do that if I am in NY.
        And shipping company Cryoport says that is the clinic that needs to do that!
        Please tell me what shipping company did you use.

      • Elena
        December 19, 2016 at 10:22 pm

        Hi, Sarah ! I am in Cancun now and went to both clinic. I am very upset and don’t which one to choose because FCC is gave me warm and private welcome but Irega din not even ask me for any form of ID and talk about donor egg in lobby with all people around. I was very uncomfortable but she sad where is only place to talk.
        I have to make decision till tomorrow because my partner need to freeze a sperm but I don’t what to choose???

        • Saira
          January 16, 2017 at 5:50 pm

          Hi Elena,

          Which clinic did you choose? Are you able to send me a private message please since I can’t make up my mind on the facility in Mexico.

          Thank you so much!

          • Elena
            January 18, 2017 at 9:47 pm

            Hi, Saira! I choose a Fertility Clinic of Cancun because I like the clinic and I like a coordinator . I went to Irega and it is very small plus they don’t even care about you ID or passport, they told me that they don’t need them. Plus the coordinator from Irega told me what she is going to discuss my case in the lobby!!! Everybody were be able to here what I sad and what she sad!! I dib not like it at all and I did not come back again. Good luck for you and please keep me posted. Elena.

          • KS
            March 1, 2017 at 3:31 pm

            Can anyone recommend me a ivf clinic in Tijuana. M 46 and thinking donor egg is the way for my husband and I. I need a reliable ivf clinic in Tijuana. Much appreciate any help.

      • Rachelle
        May 30, 2017 at 8:10 pm

        Sarah, i realize this is an old post, but hoping you can provide insight. I live in Mexico City, but am Canadian. I have purchased sperm samples from Xytex and my clinic has very little experience receiving samples internationally. They were sent by xytex last week by FedEx, but got stopped at customs and returned back to the US. Very frustrating! We were told we needed to get a broker. The broker has not dealt with many biological shipments and is now telling me that I can either spend an expensive 3-6 month long process getting permits with no guarantee that will get approval, or he can basically get his shipping people to bring it across the border in a truck and then send internally in Mexico with DHL. The first option seems ridiculous, and the second high risk!

        You mentioned shipping sperm to Mexico and I was hoping you could share any advice on companies that can do it, brokers, anything that might help. I am already delayed and now stuck with the realization I might have to do the reverse of many people and go to the US for my IUI treatments. Thanks for any guidance you can provide.

        • May 30, 2017 at 8:34 pm

          Did you get the Choice Mom Guide for Canada? Outreach Health Services provides sperm service within the country. — Mikki

          • May 30, 2017 at 8:39 pm

            Sorry Rachelle… just noticed you are Canadian but live in Mexico City! Okay… maybe Sarah can weigh in. Many banks ship internationally and are good bets for helping you and your clinic get through the paperwork. One of them is Seattle Sperm Bank, which ships internationally and can be consulted. I tend to connect with Eric Kendall there (marketing) but they have client services reps to answer questions. — Mikki

      • M
        May 14, 2018 at 9:14 am

        Hi Sara,

        Just wondering if you had any experience with sperm clinics in Cancun?

      • Berenice
        July 10, 2018 at 9:15 pm

        Hello, I am mexican, I used cryos international denmark, they told me they would send me the samples easier if I chose Fertility Center Cancún, because they have sent them vials before and had no problems with the return of the nitrogen tank.
        But I was a bit naive, I didn’t know it was necesary to have a permission to import “human tissues” from “Cofepris” and a customs agency to relase the shipping to the clinic.
        Very few clinics in mexico has licence to import human sperm.

    • January 26, 2016 at 1:40 pm

      I also think Seattle Sperm Bank and California Cryobank likely have shipping options for Mexico. Certainly Seattle Sperm Bank sends vials to Canada. — Mikki

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  5. Cameo
    August 6, 2015 at 12:02 pm

    My DH and I are currently talking with a clinic in Puerto Vallarta, and since they are new I was curious if anyone knows of them. They are LIV Fertility Center. The staff so far has been really nice but I am a bit apprehensive. We need to use donor eggs and they do not seem to have a diverse selection. Has anyone used them? Thank you.

    • Dawn
      September 16, 2015 at 3:26 pm

      Hi, Cameo – I am currently using LIV and will have my transfer in November (we live in the states). They have been mostly great. There have been some glitches here and there but they are saving us thousands of dollars, so I am willing to put up with it. I think they are starting to get a larger donor pool. When I started the process it was six months ago and now they seem to have a much greater selection. I guess my husband and I aren’t that picky either. Good luck!

      • Laurie Lazar
        January 8, 2017 at 8:10 pm

        Hi Dawn,

        I am considering working with LIV. How did things unfold for you? Would you recommend them?


        • Saira
          January 19, 2017 at 12:28 am


          Did you choose LIV? I am undecided so any help is appreciated. IREGA/ LIV or FCC or any other clinic in Mexico for DE IVF.


  6. diane
    April 14, 2015 at 1:57 am

    Thank you for the valuable information. Are there any IVF clinics in Tijuana Mexico that are recommended?

    • April 14, 2015 at 1:47 pm

      HI Diane,
      I don’t know much about clinics in Tijuana. There is a woman, named Sue Taylor, who does recommendations of the various clinics abroad. http://ivftraveler.com/ If you decided to go to Cancun, I am happy to make an introduction to the clinic. I know the doctor and many of the staff so I can help facilitate your trip there.
      I’m happy to help you research the clinics or weigh options in Tijuana if you can’t get the information you need from Sue Taylor. You can find me at http://www.choicemamababyproject.com

      • Anonymous
        December 20, 2015 at 8:52 pm

        Hi Sarah,
        I live in the Bay Area and wondered if you could share the bank that you used for shipping sperm to Mexico.

      • Monique
        January 18, 2017 at 2:11 pm

        Hello Sarah
        I know you must read a thousand stories so i won’t bore you with mine. I do live in the states and want to fo to Tijuana. I would love to contact you at your website and also I will look into IVF travler.
        Thank You

    • Karine
      August 5, 2015 at 2:56 pm

      Hi Sarah, thank you so much for your very helpful article. My fiance and I are about to embark on our own egg donor journey since I was recently diagnosed with premature ovarian failure, and we are considering the Fertility Clinic Cancun. My main concern while corresponding with them is the very limited amount of information they seem to have available about their egg donors, as opposed to clinics in the US who seem to screen egg donors very carefully and have a plethora of information to share with the recipient. The only info I received from the clinic in Cancun is a list of donors as well as their picture and age. That was it! Were you able to get more info about your donor once you selected her? Is any psychological/medical screening done on donors at all? Very interested in pursuing this route as IVF with egg donor in the US is cost prohibitive, but a bit nervous about the transparency/amount of info I’ll have access to. Thanks so much Sarah!

      • jehudson70@yahoo.com
        August 18, 2015 at 4:51 pm

        Hi Karine, I have just picked out a donor and after picking one out they gave me all the pertinent information, very similar o the US. We are going to the same clinic in October. I wish you good luck! Joanne

      • Saira
        December 23, 2016 at 1:35 am

        Hi Karine,

        I know I am responding to an old post. Please let me know how was your journey to Cancun and were you able to find a good Egg Donor. I like in the Bay area and have been doing some research on the donor Egg IVF in Mexico since it’s so expensive here in the states. Please message me if you can. I will really appreciate any help / advise I can get from you or from anyone on this forum.

        Thank you,

        • Raquel
          May 8, 2017 at 5:22 pm

          Hello Saira –
          I just got back from Mexico City and used Instituto Ingenes. I had a great experience with the medical staff. The institute is very high tech, secure and clean. I used donor eggs because of my age (43yo). I had 2 embryos transferred and froze the remaining 4 for future use. I’m now waiting 10 days to confirm a pregnancy.

      • De'Anna
        March 16, 2017 at 7:01 am

        I am interested in what happened in your situation with this. Did you find a place that gave you more information?

  7. Lucy
    October 14, 2014 at 7:32 am

    Great info!..I’m currently going through the treatment but in Peru. I also wanted to see the egg donor and the clinic was able to help me. The cost here with CGH testing has been 12,000 dolars. I’m in the process of getting my linning thick so they can do the transfer, I was wondering if there will be any difference if I fly back a few days after the transfer or I should wait until the pregnancy test. I have read so many posts about the danger or flying within the first trimester!.. anyway..if you would like more info about IVF in Peru let me know.

    • Chrissy
      April 11, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Hi Lucy! I know your post is two years old but I hope you can share any information with me. I have family in Peru and one cousin highly recommended dr. Jaime Seminario at Fucundar Peru. She didn’t use him for IVF egg donor but some basic fertility issues and said he was great. I am a nurse here in the US and am very skeptical of many medical practices. I would like to have another clinic or doctor option to research in Peru.

      • April 12, 2016 at 7:27 pm

        from Lucy: “I’ve heard about Dr. Seminario but I went to Dr. Noriega in Monterrico, he is the director of IVF in south america. I’m telling you my case was a true miracle and I have a beautiful 9 month old baby girl, I was reffered to him by a friend of mine that also has a 4 year old girl and he did her IVF…”

        • Christine Romero McCoy
          April 16, 2016 at 1:37 am

          Hi Lucy! Thanks so much for writing back! Congrats on your happy 9 mos old! I have so many questions about the whole Peru process. Interesting to hear that you were able to see the donor. That’s definitely one big aspect that we were having difficulty with accepting but we were willing to consider. I have read about dr. Noriega and glad to hear you had a good experience and healthy baby!
          How long did you have to spend in Peru the first time?
          Did you have to repeat all your tests or could some from the states be used over there?
          Does dr. Noriega and his staff speak English?
          Were you able to find out medical/psych/family history of the donor?
          What was your general cost for the treatment with egg donor, in general?
          Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions!

          • Lucy
            April 16, 2016 at 9:48 am

            I sent my tests over email and he reviewed them. When I got there he already knew about my case and I started with hormones right away when my period started and the transfer took place 2 weeks after depending in how your body respond. I think you have to stay 3 weeks to be in the safe side, your husband can stay only 2 days to give the sample and then leave. As for the donor, they asked me for a photo of mine so they can match me with the best choice. They showed me the donor’s photo once I got there only because I asked them (due to legalities) and she was a beautiful young girl so I was very please but if I were to live in Peru is against the law to do so.
            I did the genetic testing because I wanted to be 100% sure the embrio was as healthy as it can be. That testing alone was 3,500 uds. (you don’t have to do it) so the treatment with egg donor was 12,000 usd. plus the CGH testing I paid 15,000 to that add the medication (hormones) which I believe was somewhere around 1,000.
            The whole process is not as hard as it may sound, in fact I think it was pretty simple.. the transfer was less than 10 minutes!..They speak english and the clinic is state of the art.. Try it!.. you won’t be disappointed.

        • Christine Romero Mccoy
          April 17, 2016 at 10:54 am

          Thanks so much Lucy! Yes even though the donor is probably a young healthy woman my husband and I always planned to do PGD testing (CgH?) no matter what. Did they freeze the embryos after they took samples for genetic testing and then have you come back during another cycle? Or was the testing done at the clinic in time to do a fresh transfer? How old were you when you conceived? I’m 46 and healthy with some possible autoimmune issues. Was your RE in the US very involved in pre and post implantation care? Were they willing or was it difficult to keep them on board? I think my RE may not want to be so helpful once she knows we’re doing this outside her clinic but I hope not. Were the legalities of being able to see a photo applicable bc you were a foreigner?

          Thanks again!

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