Fertility tourism: Why travel abroad?
Fertility Tourism, or Reproductive Tourism, is when patients travel abroad to find fertility treatment not offered in their own country. And a lot of people do that. The number of people traveling for fertility treatment abroad is unknown, but one thing is certain: The number is increasing.
Two main reasons for fertility tourism
According to Professor of Ethics and Bioethics, Guido Pennigs (Ghent University) fertility tourism, or cross-border reproductive care as it is also called, is mainly caused by two factors:
- Legislative restrictions that force the patients to go elsewhere to receive the treatment they wish.
- Gametes shortage; meaning that is is not enough donors in the home country.
Hear his explanation here:
As Guido Pennigs argues, the legal restrictions of different countries are often linked to the type of donor. For example the legislation can affect the selection of donors – anonymous and non-anonymous, 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.
The second main reason, shortage of donor sperm or donor eggs can be caused by different factors. This could be insufficient compensation of the donors, very extensive screening programs that excludes a high percentage of donor candidates, requirements that the donor must be proven father before commencing as a donor, low limitation of numbers of pregnancies, or offspring per donor.
In addition, other factors such as long waiting lists, high costs in the home country or better service, success rates or safety in another country, can make fertility tourism attractive.
Different countries, different legislations
The legislation of a country is often based on a mix of cultural norms, religion, different principles, traditions, ethics or political goals. This means that no countries are the same when it comes to fertility treatment. Even the legal diversity in Europe is enormous.
Denmark is one of the more liberal countries, when it comes to fertility treatment. Both anonymous and non-anonymous donors are legitimate, which makes it possible for Cryos to offer a very large selection of donors.
If you consider going abroad for treatment, it might be interesting for you to read the story about Phoebe and her wife, who went to Denmark to get help to have their son.