With an increasing number of UK patients travelling abroad for their IVF treatment, are lower treatment costs and shorter waiting lists the only things that people are basing their decision on to go abroad? Have they really considered every one of the risk factors? Have they checked to see that the IVF clinic abroad has a good track record and continually maintain high quality standards? Have they actually taken the time to check out other peoples IVF treatment experiences abroad, found on clinic websites as accredited feedback from successful couples?
The main factor to research when considering IVF treatment abroad is the safety track record of the clinic, especially as the UK’s HFEA has no jurisdiction over IVF clinics abroad. Even the EU “Tissues and Cells Directive” has not been able to implement their standards in all member states. Another UK safety body “HFEA” publishes success rate data online, but once again only for UK IVF clinics, so for clinics abroad people have to rely on website data and stats to compare a clinics IVF success rates with a clinic in the UK.
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Other important factors to consider are who will ever have access to see all personal data relating to the IVF treatment, including the identity of the baby or babies, and whether the data can or cannot be transferred to the UK register. And in the case things go wrong abroad, not a lot of support will be given by the UK governing body HFEA, so a clinic’s overall liability must be clearly specified within the treatment contract. Legal advice would also be needed to clarify the position of parental responsibility, especially when planning to use donated sperm, eggs or embryos, and even more so for couples considering surrogacy abroad.
Multiple pregnancies could also be considered as a risk that needs to be considered, being the single greatest health risk associated with IVF treatment with possible risks for both the mother and baby. So people are therefore advised to discuss any such risk with the IVF clinic abroad, and see whether the clinic does have any policies in place that help to minimise the chance of multiple births.
Most couples look online for an IVF treatment clinic abroad, but just because a website is in the English language, it doesn’t actually mean that the clinic staff will be able to speak English well enough to explain the whole treatment process clearly, which would without a doubt increase the risk of things not turning out as expected. One sign for a good clinic abroad is that they ask to see a patients current UK medical records, and another is that the clinic offers all the counselling and support required throughout the IVF treatment process.
Seeking IVF treatment abroad has been made a lot easier through the Internet, and one of the most popular destinations is in fact Spain, not only because it is relatively close to the UK, but also because high quality IVF treatment standards are on a par. While researching IVF treatment clinics abroad, IVF-SPAIN was found to present all the information required to reduce all of the above risk factors while undergoing fertility treatment, the very friendly English speaking staff were certainly up to the job of providing concrete information, and the website provides credible feedback from previous patients who have undergone IVF treatment at their clinic.