A recent survey by Infertility Network UK has revealed the reasons why some couples decide to go abroad for fertility treatment.
The top three reasons were shorter waiting times, cost of treatment compared to the UK and perceived higher success rates at foreign clinics.
But is this really the case? If you’re using a private infertility clinic like Manchester Fertility, there’s no waiting lists for treatments such as IVF, ICSI and also treatment using donor sperm, because we have our own sperm and egg donor recruitment programme. So don’t assume that you’re facing a long wait if you’re planning to go private because, unlike NHS-funded treatment, this may not be the case. Check with local fertility clinics first.
If you’re comparing costs of foreign clinics compared to UK clinics, then you must make absolutely certain that it’s on a like-for-like basis, and that there are no ‘hidden costs’ such as drugs and screening tests, which can add hundreds to the price of treatment. You must also factor in the associated travel costs.
As for ‘higher’ success rates, again if you’re comparing clinics then you must make sure that you see up-to-date verified pregnancy and live birth rates for your specific treatment, for your age group.
Any clinic can publish their best results to make it seem like they’re more successful – but ensure that this is relevant to your individual treatment and age group. All UK clinics publish these results which are verified by the HFEA regulatory body.
Finally, if you need infertility treatment using donor sperm or eggs, remember that in the UK donor anonymity was removed to allow donor-conceived children the opportunity to contact their donors in future years. This isn’t the case if you go abroad for treatment.