Report reveals why couples are going abroad

Fertility Clinics Abroad and Fertility Network UK have carried out a survey to find out why the number of couples going abroad for IVF has increased.

The first reason is high treatment costs at home

The price of IVF has dramatically increased especially in Britain and in the US. This is due in part to reduced access to NHS-funded services and the so-called “postcode lottery” (NHS treatment is available to people in certain parts of the country and not in others). This has forced many people to go private. As private clinics in the UK charge a lot for treatment, people are being forced to go abroad in order to avoid getting into financial difficulties. Couples can save up to 50% on IVF treatment by going abroad. This is a big incentive.

The second reason is dissatisfaction with the one-size-fits-all approach and lack of patient-centred care.  The results of the survey clearly show the extent of this dissatisfaction. Around 300 patients were asked to state how they felt about the quality of NHS-funded treatment (all responders had undergone IVF on the NHS) and 25% said it was very poor, 44% believed it was average, 28% said it was substandard and 3% said it was excellent. This negative past experience in the UK has led to more couples going abroad and enjoying greater treatment satisfaction overseas.

The third reason is anonymous donors. Donor anonymity results in a larger donor pool and appeals to couples as it is more discreet. As the number of donors is higher, there are no waiting lists and therefore a person can undergo this procedure whenever it fits their schedule.

The fourth reason is the positive experience of former patients. 93% of people that underwent IVF abroad said they would go back. Also, the majority of those surveyed (including those that hadn’t undergone treatment abroad) believed that the success rate overseas was higher.

These are the key push and pull factors that are fuelling the rise in couples seeking fertility treatment abroad. Finding a good IVF clinic is crucial and the best way to do this is through a medical facilitator. This will not increase costs and brings many more benefits than working with a clinic directly. And don’t forget, medical facilitators only work with the best clinics in the country.

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