Fertility tourism: Why travel abroad?
The number of people travelling for fertility treatment abroad is unknown, but one thing is certain: The number is increasing. In this blog post we explain what fertility tourism is and the reasons why many couples and women choose to travle to another country to receive fertility treatment.
What is fertility tourism?
Fertility Tourism, or reproductive tourism, is when you choose the option to travel abroad to find fertility treatment instead of receiving treatment in your own country.
Here you can read about the reasons why people travel abroad to have fertility treatment and what the disadvantages may be.
Reasons for fertility tourism
The main reasons for fertility tourism, or cross-border reproductive care as it is also called, are:
- Legislative restrictions that force people to go elsewhere to receive the type of treatment they wish
- Gametes shortage which means that there are not enough donors in the home country
- People seek a treatment which has a too long waiting list in their own country
- Treatment is too expensive in their own country
- There are better success rates elsewhere than your own country
Legislative restrictions of fertility treatment
The legal restrictions in different countries can for example be linked to the type of donor you wish. For example, the legislation can affect the selection of donors – Non-ID Release (no contact) or ID Release (potential contact), the donor information available, and if the donor should be chosen by the patient or the clinic.
Other restrictions are linked to the type of patients: not all countries allow single women, lesbian couples, unmarried couples and women over a certain age to receive treatment. Some people need double donation (donation of both sperm and egg), which is also restricted in some countries. Double donation is also called reciprocal IVF, which you can read more about here.
Different countries – different legislations
A country’s legislation is often based on a mix of cultural norms, religion, different principles, traditions, ethics or political goals. This means that no countries have the same rules when it comes to fertility treatment. Even legal diversity in Europe is enormous.
Denmark is one of the more liberal countries when it comes to fertility treatment. You can use both ID Release and Non-ID Release donors, double-donation is allowed, and all people regarding sexual orientation and civil status can receive treatment.
In this blog post, you can read an example of fertility tourism where Phoebe and her wife from UK, explain why they received fertility treatment abroad in Denmark. You can also read about egg donor-conceived Katie and how her parents ahd to travel to Switzerland to recieve treatment.
Shortage of donors and long waiting lists for fertility treatment
Another reason fertility tourism is a shortage of donor sperm or donor eggs in your country. The reason for donor shortage is, for example, insufficient compensation of the donors, very extensive screening programs that exclude a high percentage of donor candidates, sperm donor requirements that the donor must be a proven father before commencing as a donor, and low limitation of numbers of pregnancies per donor.
Are there any disadvantages to having fertility treatment abroad?
The disadvantages of fertility treatment abroad may be that you are away from your support system. This could be the psychological support either from your partner or your family. In some countries, there is a higher rate of multiple pregnancies, and this means that people risk coming back with a high-risk pregnancy. Alongside the cost of donor sperm, the costs of travelling may also be a factor to consider.