More and more British people are going abroad to have medical procedures performed in a phenomenon referred to as ‘medical tourism.’ In the case of IVF treatment, the treatment being offered outside the UK is extremely competitively priced. This is one of the major reasons that many UK based women are looking to other countries for their fertility treatment, but it is certainly not the sole reason. Other countries have a more readily available supply of donor eggs and donor sperm, and it is the case that in many countries the average age of donors is younger than in the UK. Moreover, certain foreign governments have done a lot to encourage donors: providing financial incentives and granting time off work in order to do the required procedures. One of the key reasons IVF treatment abroad is seen as an attractive alternative is that many countries allow more than two embryos to be put into the womb after successful fertilization. This obviously gives a better chance of achieving a successful pregnancy. This practice is not supported by the HFEA (Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority), which is the regulatory body in the UK. They only allow a maximum of two embryos to be put into the womb and may be considering reducing this to one.
Traveling abroad for medical procedures can seem like an extremely overwhelming prospect and one of the main reasons to stay is the comfort and security you benefit from when staying in your own country. Being surrounded by friends and relations during what can be an extremely taxing experience is very worthwhile. Moreover, if you fit the requirements you may be eligible for fertility treatment through the NHS meaning that you would not have to pay for at least your first cycle of IVF treatment. However, since the UK laws changed to prevent women from donating eggs anonymously the waiting lists for the procedures have grown drastically. It is this national shortage of eggs, combined with the comparatively low prices being offered that have convinced more and more people to see what is on offer in other countries. If you are considering going abroad for your treatment then make sure to do your research. The HFEA has a wealth of information about the countries offering various fertility treatments, plus many people have shared their experiences on internet forums and blogs.