Many people across the globe have started travelling to other countries to find more affordable IVF treatment options, but according to a survey done in 2020, the cost of IVF treatment is not the only reason for IVF travel.
And, although it seems very romantic and stress-free to go on a holiday while receiving your IVF treatment, it is also not necessarily as stress-free as one might think.
According to Amy Speier, author of the book, Fertility Holidays, there are some contradictions when it comes to the term ‘IVF holiday’ as it creates hope and the promise of a stress-free IVF cycle, which in truth might not be the case.
In fact, fertility tourists might find themselves struggling with a difficult IVF process while also being in a strange place, which could have a strenuous effect on the patient and the couple’s mental wellbeing.
That said, the trend seems to be increasing in popularity. A survey published on fertilityclinicsaboard.com in 2020 indicated that 80% of IVF patients travelling abroad were older than 35.
Popular destinations for IVF treatments
The most popular destinations visited for IVF treatment included the UK, Ukraine, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Greece and the USA. Spain stood out as the most visited IVF destination and the treatments that the respondents were seeking to receive mainly included donor egg treatment (42%) and IVF with own eggs (32%), while others were looking for surrogacy, donor embryo treatment and sperm donation.
While IVF costs seem to be the main reason for people increasingly travelling abroad, there are also other reasons. Waiting lists was also flagged as a reason and it was interesting to see that the older the patients were, the more their reasons for travel changed. From the age of 35, IVF patients indicated that they wanted to travel for fertility treatments because of the success rates advertised by clinics, feedback from patients and the wider availability of donors offered by international clinics. Treatment options were also highlighted as another reason for IVF travel.
According to the 2020 study, an overwhelming 79% of the 18 – 24 and 25 – 34 age groups preferred to travel to Czech Republic, Greece and Cyprus. The 35 – 44 age group chose Spain as their ideal destination.
According to brit-med.com Turkey and Denmark have also been identified as IVF destinations worth considering.
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With the legislative framework governing IVF having been established in Greece in 2005, the country is a popular IVF tourism destination.
The country has a friendly and simple IVF system in place and its waiting lists are short to non-existent, which reduces age-related patient concerns.
Estimated costs: EUR 3000 – 6000
Czech has around 30 IVF clinics around the country which are all well regulated by its Czech Society for Assisted Reproduction. Like in Greece, costs are relatively low and with Czech being such a beautiful country and English being spoken throughout all the facilities, it’s understandable why one would opt to travel there for an IVF holiday. Women are also able to receive IVF treatment in Czech Republic until the age of 48.
Estimated costs: EUR 2500 – 4000
Spain has many laws and regulations that ensure the safety and care of patients and like Czech, it has ample destinations to be visited. Egg donation is one of the main reasons for IVF travel to Spain as the country has a rather high success rate in this specific treatment.
Estimated costs: EUR 3500 – 5000
Being a popular destination on its own, Turkey is also a popular IVF destination, coming in as one of the cheaper countries for fertility tourism. The country comes with state-of-the-art clinics at a fraction of the price, and it boasts highly qualified physicians.
Estimated costs: From EUR 1700
Denmark is home to one of the largest sperm banks, Cryos International and this eliminates waiting times for IUI (artificial insemination). The country is also at the forefront when it comes to babies born through ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology).
Estimated costs: EUR 3400 – 6000
In South Africa, a single cycle of IVF treatment can cost between R60 000 to a R100 000 and as it often happens that more than one treatment cycle is required, the costs could easily climb to R300 000.