Some people go on holiday and return with souvenirs to commemorate their trip; others come back pregnant. It's a souvenir of a different kind and that's what fertility tourism is about - going abroad to undergo an assisted reproductive procedure to achieve pregnancy while taking in some tourist sites during their stay.
Like any holiday, there are factors to consider when choosing a destination - are you looking to spend some time on a beach working on your tan? Are you interested in nature and hiking trails and something with a little more adrenaline and adventure? Or are you hankering for the wealth of knowledge found in museums and galleries in the middle of a bustling city? These factors coupled with the costs of fertility treatments like IVF or egg donation in that country will help you in your decision making.
So, what are the top destinations in the ever-growing fertility tourism sector? It's not an exhaustive list but many fertility tourists tend to favor the following countries due to a combination of good and affordable healthcare system, liberal or uncomplicated fertility rules and regulations, and travel costs:
- Czech Republic
Standing out from this list is the Czech Republic, which is a popular fertility tourism destination for both Americans and the British. Why? Let's look.
Czech Republic sits comfortably in the middle of mainland Europe and is bordered by Austria, Germany, Poland and Slovakia. It's a country steeped in history and culture with its major cities - Prague and Brno - teeming with vibrant nightlife and ample shopping opportunities amidst beautiful medieval architecture.
The country's capital, Prague, is a hotspot for fertility tourism because not only are most of their fertility clinics top-notch but its airport has good connections in and out of Europe and the city is small enough to walk around but is also equipped with efficient and cheap public transport.
Between Spain, Greece and the Czech Republic, fertility tourists have found the latter to be the cheapest with no compromise on the quality of their fertility treatments. Brno and Prague are the most popular cities for fertility tourists but there are other high-quality treatments in smaller cities too such as Zlin, Olomouc and Hradec Kralove for a lower price.
If you're looking for IVF treatments in the Czech Republic, the average cost of IVF in Prague is around €2,500 while in Brno it's €2,200 and in smaller cities, anywhere from €1,950 to €4,900.
If you're looking to combine IVF with egg donation, the prices increase naturally - IVF with egg donation in Prague is around €5,000 while in Brno it's around €4,300 and in smaller cities €4,600.
The lower costs is what makes the Czech Republic so attractive to fertility tourists, especially those from the United States where a single round of IVF can cost up to $15,000, and those from the UK where fertility treatment costs remain one of the highest in Europe.
The Czech Republic has some of the most liberal laws in Europe regarding fertility treatments but there are also some restrictions:
- Czech law dictates that the woman who gives birth is legally the child's mother so in the case of egg donation, the woman who received the egg and gives birth, is that infant's mother
- IVF techniques cannot be used to determine the sex of the child. Exceptions are made only to prevent a serious genetic condition or disease
- The donation of cells - sperm and egg - must be kept anonymous by both parties and medical records of the donors must be kept for 3 decades and is subject to state inspection
Some people hesitate to travel abroad for medical care over their concerns regarding health and safety, but you needn't worry about that in Czech Republic because fertility clinics here are regulated, closely monitored and subject to inspection every two years. The implementation of the European Union Directive 2004/23/EC for Tissues and Cells also means that all clinics in the Czech Republic must obtain a valid license to operate.
In conclusion, if you're looking for fertility options abroad and are thinking about Europe, why not consider the Czech Republic? Consider what the country has to offer - high quality medical treatments at a reasonable cost at clinics nestled in cities that boast fairytale castles, genuine medieval architecture and a potential experience of a lifetime.