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A Guide to Fertility Treatment Abroad

Travelling for fertility treatment is very common nowadays. This is called cross-border reproductive care, or fertility tourism.

Calling it tourism makes it seem that travelling to different places, like Spain, Greece, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Turkey, and Denmark for the purpose of reproductive care is like a great vacation, chosen for pleasure. This may not be the case for everyone, thus pushing some to call it reproductive exile.

For those travelling, because it is not legal to pursue the treatment they want in their country, we can apply the term circumvention tourism.

1. Choosing a clinic is a big step, with associated costs and success rates. You will need to gather essential information in order to make an informed decision.

First, it’s important to be aware of where you are in the process:

  • Have you ever been to a consultation regarding your fertility health?
  • Did you have your pre-assessment tests done?
  • Do you have your results?
  • Have you been diagnosed?
  • Do you have a treatment plan?
  • Have you been recommended a specific clinic?

Answering all of these may take a long time, especially if you are starting from scratch. In the UK, Enhanced Fertility helps patients, both male and female:

2. After you have a list of possible clinics to choose from, you will need to dig a little deeper and consider some sociocultural, legal, and monetary aspects.

Not all countries offer the same services. Restrictions regarding which people can pursue which treatment, when, and at what cost, is highly variable.

In your search, you should include questions like:

- Why are you travelling abroad?
  • Can you travel to this country?
  • Does the country you are considering have legal frameworks and well-recognized practice standards for healthcare?
  • What’s the law on donor anonymity?

- What is your budget for treatment?
  • Is the treatment plan within your budget?

- What treatment are you expecting to get?
  • In which countries, is this treatment legal?
  • Do you meet the legal requirements to receive treatment?
  • What’s the law on donor anonymity?

A tool that can assist you in this task is the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology’s summary of legislation and reimbursement of assisted reproductive techniques and intrauterine insemination treatments in Europe. This allows you to access an interactive map to do your search.

Another tool is the guide recommended by the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority. This allows you to do a search worldwide, using some filters like which treatment you are looking for and how much money you would like to spend.

You can also take a look at My IVF Answers’ content, as they have an extensive series on IVF legislation abroad, with doctors explaining what is and isn’t legal.

3. It is normal not to have the best time when travelling for medical treatment, but it doesn’t have to be an awful experience.

Patients, when making this decision of where to go for treatment, can feel high levels of distress, pressure, and confusion. There are so many options but at the same time so many variables that influence your decision that it can feel very overwhelming. For patients who have never had treatment, it can feel like an enormous commitment with unclear expectations. For those who have, changing clinics can feel even more puzzling, as they’ve probably already experienced something they didn’t like or had no success.


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