IVF Abroad - Patient's Guide

All you need to know about fertility treatment abroad, costs, the efficacy of IVF procedures and – the most important – legislation regulating medically assisted reproduction in 8 European countries. Download 55 pages PDF guide now!

IVF PlaneChoosing a country

The legal factor

Choosing a clinic for treatment abroad is deeply associated with choosing the country in which the clinic is located. This choice is dependent on a couple of factors. First of all laws and regulations in various countries are different. A procedure can be legal in one country and illegal in another or sometimes it is not regulated by law at all. For example if you want to do IVF with surrogacy you would not want to for e.g. go to Germany, France or Malaysia because surrogacy is prohibited in those countries.

The price factor

The second aspect would be the costs of course. In some countries IVF costs less than in others – this is one of the main reasons for medical tourism. Very often people travel for example from USA to Brazil or from the United Kingdom to a country in Europe because even when they add costs of travel and accommodation it is still financially more cost effective. Often people decide to make a little trip out of it and choose a place where they would be eager to go on a vacation. This could help you relax in this time of stress but obviously not everybody is able to think about relaxing on the beach in such circumstances.

The comfort factor

You also have to remember about how comfortable it will be considering the localization. Will it be easy to travel to, will you be staying there, are will you only visit when you have to? This comfort factor perhaps seems a bit banal but considering it could save you a lot of stress.

The quality and standards factor

Last but not the least there is the quality and standards factor. The quality of service, clinics standards and experience of the staff in regions and countries is essential however nowadays you will be able to find a clinic like that in a lot of places around the globe.

Choosing a IVF clinic

What do they offer?

Firstly you will want to check if the clinic is able to offer you all the procedures you need to get pregnant – after all you want the best treatment that is available. Also try to find out what additional procedures they offer and do they have support groups are maybe they offer free counselling.

The criteria

Clinics have their own criteria on which they decide to treat or not to treat the patient. For example they treat only women to a certain age and they have criteria for body mass index. So you have to check if you qualify to their requirements as a patient. This is of course for your own good.

The location

Consider the fact that you probably will have to go there a couple of times and this means travelling back and forth from where you are accommodated to the clinic. Some of the tests could take place in a hospital that is nearer where you live, this could save you money and time.

First impression and waiting lists

Think about how you feel about the staff. How the staff treats you could tell you a lot about the clinic. Even when it is just a conversation with the receptionist, her attitude and how patient she is with your questions could give you a hint. The language used in the clinic is also important, you don’t want any misunderstanding because of a language barrier. Also ask about the waiting lines! How long will you have to wait if for example you would want to use an egg donor.

Success rates

This is probably the most important information you should know about the clinic. The clinic should share the information about their success rates. You need to check is the average success rate above or below the national average. Also check how many cycles resulted in births. Keep in mind tough that this information should be only used as a general guide because the average is really a bit different for each individual woman

Comparing costs

calculating costsWe already mentioned the fact that patients are going abroad for treatments because of significantly lower prices. However when going abroad for treatment it is very important to evaluate and compare the costs you will have to deal with. Very often the headline cost at a clinic’s website or pamphlet could be misleading. It is very important to make your own inquires and check how much money will the treatment really cost you. The headline cost at the clinic is not there to fool you, it just includes the standard procedures and test because it is the overall cost. If you need any additional procedures you will need to get to know what you individual treatment price is.
Include all the components of your treatment to properly compare the price.

  • First check the complete cost of your treatment with all the procedures, tests and medication.
  • Secondly evaluate the value for money aspect. This covers a lot of things like, the staff experience, overall standards and even the quality of the equipment used. It might be that in a different clinic you would get all this things but better and just for a bit more money or the same amount if you’re lucky.
  • Thirdly calculate the overall cost of going abroad, meaning the travel costs, accommodation and even meals.

You should also check how you will be able to save money at the clinic. For example there might be special programs, like all inclusive packages which are more expensive but you can get refunds or discounts on another cycles.
Another important thing is to check what does the headline price include, for example is the medication and essential tests included?
Remember that you will be travelling so do not forget to add the costs of travel. Sometimes it might be uneconomic. For example if you are in Europe it would be unreasonable to travel to India. Costs of IVF there are low but travel costs could be significant and you could find similar prices in Hungary, Poland or Czech Republic but with a lot cheaper flights!
One last thing to remember: Never save money on safety and quality! It is better to pay a bit more and not regret later.

Standards and safety abroad

When you are comparing clinics offering assisted reproduction treatments abroad then the two most important things you need to consider is safety and clinical standards. You have to not only become familiar with standards and safety in the country you chose but also in the individual clinic you decided upon. No matter where are you going for treatment you have to check this information. Do not assume that each clinic in a country will have the same standards. Find out how the clinics in the chosen country are regulated and who supervises them.
Start from the beginning. Each respected clinic should be registered in or licensed by the country’s Ministry of Health. Some countries are registered additionally and supervised by other government bodies like the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in the United Kingdom for example. If a clinic is licensed by such bodies you can be reassured that the clinic is regularly inspected. Furthermore it means they have achieved certain standards and safety levels.
In most cases the national regulatory bodies make the membership obligatory for all the clinics but be cautious there are exceptions. Make sure that the clinic you choose is in the registry of such body. Such formal supervision is also a way for you in case you need to make a complaint if anything would go wrong during your treatment.

Success rates IVF abroad

Success rates of IVF in countries abroad is the same thing as treatment locally in this matter that you have to know how to look at the average of the success rates and interpret it properly.
The more specific the information the better. Look for success rates in your age group, condition and the kind of treatment not the overall average rate.