As the costs for IVF and similar infertility treatments skyrockets in the US, cash-strapped patients are beginning to look abroad for more affordable medical care. The medical tourism trend has been popular for a while, with people going overseas to countries like Thailand, Italy, Spain, Canada and South Africa for affordable tummy tucks and cheap face lifts. Medical travel overseas for infertility treatments is merely one part of the larger medical tourism trend.
The benefit of taking an IVF vacation can be summed in three words: It costs less. How much less? According to this article, “By traveling abroad for fertility procedures, women can pay thousands of dollars less than what they’d spend at home.” Not a bad deal for price-conscious consumers.
One American couple who traveled to the Czech Republic for IVF treatments was able to spend two weeks abroad, “including the cost of donor eggs, drugs and procedures, as well as airfare, transportation, food and accommodation for two,” according to this MSNBC article. The total cost of their fertility holiday abroad was about $12,500. Shortly after returning home to the US, the couple learned they were pregnant.
Still, going abroad for infertility treatments has its drawbacks. Going to another country for an IVF vacation means you’ve left the regulatory sphere of the US, meaning you may not have the same success rates as US fertility clinics. You may not know how egg donors are recruited, or how fairly they are compensated. Doctors are probably not members of the same professional societies as their United States counterparts, and may not have undergone the same training.