Getting treatment overseas
Today more and more people are going overseas for fertility treatments. This may be to access treatment they can’t get at home, to access more affordable treatment, or to avoid certain rules and regulations about IVF in their own countries.
Why go overseas for treatment?
One common reason for travelling overseas is the availability of donated eggs and sperm in some countries and the shorter waiting lists for donor treatment. If you are considering travelling overseas for treatment make sure you do your homework first. Different countries have different regulatory systems when it comes to fertility treatment, so you need to be aware of the rules.
Do your homework
Find out as much as you can about the clinic you are planning to visit. This is particularly important if you are planning to use donor eggs or sperm as the rules on donor anonymity vary. If you’re going to use a surrogate for your IVF and plan to do that overseas, you should consult a lawyer before you start, as surrogacy laws can be complex.
Overseas clinics may not offer the relevant counselling that covers the implications of using donor eggs or sperm, or a surrogate, so seek this out at home first if you are not going to get the opportunity to talk things through with a counsellor overseas.
You might be able to find a clinic at home that is affiliated with an overseas unit. In this case you may feel more confident that your own clinic has already performed a lot of the checks as far as the overseas clinic is concerned. This may make the prospect of overseas treatment less daunting, but it will probably make it more expensive, too.
Getting to the clinic and finding accommodation close by
Also check that you will be able to get to the clinic at short notice if necessary, and that there is going to be accommodation available when you get there.
Contacting the clinic
Check that you can contact the clinic easily from home. Communication with overseas clinics is often done by email and although this can work well, it may be frustrating if you don’t get quick replies to urgent queries. Also check that there are always English-speaking members of staff on duty and that any paperwork you need to sign is available in translation.
Having part of your treatment done at home
If you are going to have your scans and blood tests carried out in a clinic at home and only plan to travel for egg collection and embryo transfer, you will have to find a local clinic willing to do this. You should be clear about how the results of tests and scans are going to be passed onto the overseas clinic. Although some clinics offer this service for people who are travelling overseas, others have concerns about getting involved in treatment they don’t have any control over.
Overseas treatment may allow you to detach
Sometimes people find that going for treatment overseas can be less demanding than having treatment at home as you can detach the process from your everyday life.
Language and communication problems
Language and communication problems, or differences of attitude and manners, may be more difficult to deal with when you are already feeling vulnerable. You may be talking through a translator to the medical staff treating you, which can be awkward and having tests and scans done at a clinic at home and the bulk of your treatment overseas, can lead to misunderstandings and misinterpretations.
If you do pursue overseas treatment be aware of these potential problems so that you are more likely to avoid the pitfalls and have a positive experience.
This is from my program ‘Everything you need to know before starting your IVF/ART’.
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