Considering an IVF treatment may be a stressful situation. People have to not only face the fact they might have some infertility issues, but they also have to deal with many practical aspects. Does my health insurance cover at least some parts of an IVF treatment? Which of them? What are the legal restrictions of IVF in my country? What if the treatment fails? IVF is not easy. It’s often a long and costly process. Now, couples are looking for other solutions how to conceive a baby. One of the popular is taking IVF holidays.
In the USA, an IVF treatment cycle with an egg donor can cost up to $40,000. A trip to undergo a single cycle of the same treatment with an egg donor in Greece costs around $5500 USD (£4450 GBP, or €5150 EUR). If you opt to use your own eggs you can get a single cycle of IVF in Greece for around $3200 – $3700 USD (which equates to around £2500 – £2900 GBP; or €3000 – €3500 EUR). Also, Greece is a great place where to go to have some rest, to enjoy beautiful beaches and try the delicious Mediterranean cuisine. Mental and physical well-being play an important role in conceiving a baby.
Some people would not even consider the option of going abroad for treatment. The concept might not enter their minds, or thinking about it simply wouldn’t appeal to them. Some people do not look into healthcare as being greatly more affordable with a bit of travel and other opportunities the travel can bring.
IVF Holidays have become a worldwide phenomenon
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 12% of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 have difficulties getting pregnant. Legal requirements and healthcare restrictions on IVF therapies and assisted reproductive technologies (ARTs) in home + such as the USA, the UK, Germany and Italy make traveling for IVF treatment a desirable option.
Legal restrictions and infertility – what may stop you on your way to conceiving a baby
Short waiting times and significantly lower-cost treatments mean that many people have already journeyed to other countries in the European Union to commence their therapies. Each country has its own, often complex, legal restrictions on what ARTs can be used and by whom. The influence of some religious moralism and dogmatic “traditional values” are still rife within the halls of many governments and thus impact legislative policy on IVF treatment. Some countries are systematically prejudiced against lesbian couples and single women. Many countries put age limitations on when a woman can enter treatment. Some countries do not allow surrogacy at all.
In our contemporary world of cheap and fast world travel, these restrictions can be worked around with relative ease, which can also open-up other opportunities in the process. For example, you might take advantage of Greece’s sublime coastline and climate to relax into and recover from your therapy. Or you might distract yourself from the calendared daily intake of IVF medication by exploring the elegant, iconic architecture and plentiful spas of Karlovy Vary in the Czech Republic. You can do this whilst obtaining the treatment you personally want and need, and often at a massively reduced cost compared to staying at home.
Let’s take a look at the factors of some specific countries and see why their nationals would travel for IVF:
Significant financial savings: The United States of America
In 2012 about 3.95 million babies were born, of which 1.5% of those were treated by IVF. As aforementioned at the beginning of this article, IVF in the USA can cost up to $40,000 for a single treatment. According to the CDC, it’s estimated that around 750,000 US nationals travel abroad for medical care every year. US healthcare is relatively permissible and another world leader in new technological and procedural development, but most IVF and other ART procedures are not covered by insurance.
So, a major reason people from the US travel for medical procedures is due to the significant financial savings. You really can experience a holiday in an exotic climate and save thousands and thousands of dollars by doing your IVF treatment in Greece.
You can read more on the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) advice for medical tourism here: http://www.cdc.gov/features/medicaltourism/
No bans on egg donation, embryo freezing: Germany
Germany has relatively restrictive policies on assisted reproductive technologies and processes. For example, there are bans on egg donation, embryo freezing and embryo screening for inherited diseases. IVF, ISCI and IUI are regulated differently by each state. These restrictions are enforced by the law, and breaking these laws can result in an arrest or fines and a criminal record. Though not illegal for them to get IVF treatment, same-sex couples need to make themselves aware of the local legislature on how they will be treated. Throughout Germany, clinics frequently decline single women seeking fertility treatments. Surrogacy is also illegal in Germany. The Greeks are much more liberal in their approach to fertility legislation. See our article What makes Greece the destination of choice for 2017 for more detailed information about the legal aspects of visiting Greece for IVF.
Long waiting lists: United Kingdom
People are regularly seeking IVF treatment outside of the United Kingdom because of the long waiting lists, which result from shortage of egg donors at home. Some seek sperm donors from abroad due to regulation introduced in 2005 ending donor anonymity in the UK. A stipulation in UK law means that neither partner from a couple can have any living children if they are to commence IVF therapy on the NHS (National Health Services), including adopted children. It is also sometimes cheaper to go to Greece or another European country for UK nationals seeking IVF.
No IVF for same-sex couples or singles: Italy
Until recently, Italy had a legal ban on the use of donor eggs and sperm for assisted conception. The country is steeped in Catholic conservatism which still influences its legislature today, though recently the ban on these was lifted. IVF is still denied to same-sex couples and single people. Whether or not to allow the screening of embryos during IVF is also still being hotly debated. The latter means that the genetic quality of the embryo is not currently being screened before being implanted.
Infertility is a phenomenon that no-one expects, and few want, to encounter in their life. Making a vacation out of a medical procedure might be counter-intuitive to some, but there is a possibility to turn it into a special time to ease into, and recover from the stresses of in-vitro fertility treatment. “I hadn’t felt enthusiastic about my doctors in the U.S. Dr. Martina and Eva [from Prague] were all the things I needed, especially coming to a foreign country for such an important procedure. We found out that 85% of the patients [at the fertility center] are international patients, coming from anywhere and everywhere in the world.” says Martha Keys from Utah in the US. (You can read her story about traveling abroad for IVF here).
How to choose the right clinic for you
Of course, some of the major concerns with traveling abroad for IVF are possible health implications. Will I and my potential child be safe and healthy? Will I be able to communicate with the medical staff around me? Fertilitypedia helps you survey and select, to make sure you narrow-down to find the right clinic for you. The website is in English and relays information between you and the right people. You can make your choices with all the information you need at your fingertips and contact us to answer any questions you have about clinics, procedures, or other IVF-related concerns. Within Fertilitypedia you can browse premium clinics which we recommend to your attention. There are clinics with long term experience, for example, EmBIO Medical Center is distinguished as the Best IVF Clinic of the Year in Greece for its ground-breaking work in assisted reproduction. Also, you don’t have to be worried that the medical staff wouldn’t understand you, they speak all major languages and international patients are welcome: “Over the last few years there has been an increase in the number of international clients seeking IVF in our clinic. There are now hundred of patients coming from 34 countries, and this is growing,” says the clinic Genesis Athens. Simply go to the Find Your Clinic page and select Greece to get the full list of premium clinics of Fertilitypedia.
If you are thinking about going abroad for IVF, we recommend you involve your home doctor to gather your medical records together. Fertilitypedia has a section on the website for you to create a Personal Health Profile, which holds vital information about your health details in one easy-to-access place. With this information, you can begin the search for the best procedure and medical center for your needs.