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Fertility tourism can mean many things. It can refer to receiving any kind of fertility treatment (IVF, ICSI, IUI) in another country because it is cheaper. More controversially, fertility tourism can also mean traveling abroad to receive eggs from an egg donor, or using a foreign surrogate mother to gestate your baby. There are certainly many arguments in favor of looking further afield for any kind of fertility procedure, from the simple to the complicated. And there are, of course, just as many arguments against. Let's have a look at them all.

Why would you want to seek fertility treatment abroad?

There are many reasons that can drive families to look for the treatment they need somewhere other than close to come. Lower costs in some other countries are one common reason. If your insurance policy will not cover your treatments, European countries like the Czech Republic or Slovenia have high quality care available at a much lesser price, for instance. Or perhaps the treatment you need is not available where you live, or the success rates are much more rosy in a neighboring country. More controversial treatments can be especially hard to find in some countries, and there may well be legal restrictions. Egg cell donation and surrogacy are much easier to arrange in countries like India, the Ukraine, or even Russia, than in the United States or the United Kingdom. The costs are less, and waiting lists are often non-existent.

And why wouldn't you?

In the case of egg donation and surrogacy, many ethical questions arise. Are the egg donors and surrogate mothers driven by poverty? What will they actually be paid? Do they really want to do what they are doing? And then there are the legal aspects. You could lose the rights to your child if you you are a British citizen and pay your international surrogate, for example. Ethical and legal aspects are definitely something anyone looking into fertility tourism should consider. One additional question is, how do you really guarantee the quality of care is satisfactory in a country you know very little about?

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