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Cross-Border Fertility Treatment and Fertility Tourism

So, apparently “we” are being encouraged to use new language to describe fertility tourism or reproductive tourism. I agree that language is important—I am after all a women who loves words. And words do shape how we think. The new “encouraged” language is “Cross Border Fertility Treatment.” The thinking behind the new language (and I am only going on hearsay here) is that the term “Fertility Tourism” sounds frivolous, and in the end—I have to agree.

No one leaves their homes to get any kind of medical treatment by choice. The reason that most people leave their neighborhood and even their country to pursue medical treatment is because what they need is simply not available in their country. It could be limitations on medical technology, cost or even government restrictions on treatment that drives people to leave their home land for treatment.

The interesting thing about Cross Border Fertility treatment is that the currents of travelers go both ways in the United States. We have Americans who travel to India because they cannot afford the surrogacy fees in the United States, and to places like Israel, South America and Mexico for cheaper IVF.

Hopeful patients from the United Kingdom are traveling to the United States for egg (oocyte) donation because there is a three year wait list in the UK for egg donation. UK residents who need egg donation don’t want to wait three years for the possibility of starting a family—and they appreciate the level of care and screening that occurs in the United States. And patients from countries such as Spain are also traveling to the United States for procedures such as surrogacy which is outlawed in their country.

As I have said, the flow of patients know no borders. Everyone wishes that patients could receive treatment in their own country. Adding in the pressure of leaving ones job, families, traveling to a country that you don’t know and perhaps even having language difficulties can make treatments that are already stressful—more so. But the desire to have a child also knows no borders—and patients will do what they need to do to achieve their dreams of parenthood.

By Pamela Madsen for FertilityTies

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