Infertility is a problem that affects one in six couples and every year in Britain, around 30,000 receive some form of infertility treatment, although the success rates are only one in six. Not all couples qualify for treatment on the NHS, and for some, the cost of private treatment in the UK can be prohibitive.
A large number of British couples are now choosing the option of travelling abroad for their infertility treatment. Clinics abroad are able to provide treatment at a lower cost than those in Britain, and many couples have found the experience to be a very positive one. If you are considering travelling abroad then there are a few considerations to be taken into account.
Researching your Choice of Clinic
Safety is of the utmost importance of any medical treatment abroad. In the UK all licensed fertility clinics and treatments are monitored and inspected regularly by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). This is the regulatory body for the UK only and they do not have control over clinics or treatments performed abroad. Patients seeking fertility treatments abroad should thoroughly research all of the standards and regulations that are applied to their clinic of choice.Many medical service providers do have infertility treatments on their list of medical services abroad. They will have checked the clinic’s licences and qualifications to provide infertility treatments. But you should still ask as many questions as needed in order to satisfy yourself that you are happy with the clinic you are intending to use.
Questions to Ask
- Can you speak to consultants before arrival in the country?
- Is the clinic accredited?
- Are there testimonials from previous patients?
- What sort of infertility treatments are available?
- Are there English speaking staff or translators?
- What sort of after care is provided?
- What are their policies on embryo transfer?
- The success rates of the infertility treatments
What Country to ChooseThere are many countries in Europe and farther abroad that specialise in infertility treatments. One consideration you should remember is flying time and costs. You may have to make return visits to the clinic, and it will be quicker and cheaper to fly to countries in Europe, such as Spain and Turkey, rather than countries such as South Africa and India.
CostsAlthough the cost of infertility treatment abroad is lower than in the UK, you will still need to factor in flights and accommodation. You should also check when calculating your finances that the provision of medicines is included in the price, and the availability of the medicines back in the UK. Also check whether blood tests and scans can be taken in the UK and then sent to the clinic abroad.
DonorsIn the UK the law permits anyone over the age of 18 to find out the identity of their donors if the donors registered or reregistered with the HFEA after April 2005. Being aware of our genetic heritage is important especially with issues such as family medical history and psychological wellbeing. Those seeking fertility treatments abroad should ask questions on the screening, recruitment, anonymity, and the legal rights of the donors and donor conceived children before any treatment commences.
After CareMake sure that you have contact names, numbers, faxes and email addresses of your consultants abroad. Due to the fact that you have had infertility treatment abroad you may not be able to get the same standard of after care as you would if you had treatment at a nearby clinic. It is vitally important for your own peace of mind and safety that you undertake as much research as possible before travelling abroad for infertility treatment.
If you have undertaken the necessary research on the clinic of your choice, you should find the experience a positive one. As with British infertility clinics, there are no guarantees with the end result, but in terms of treatment options and costs, you may find travelling abroad offers a wider range of choices for your particular condition.