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The Surprising Cost of IVF in Europe

27. 7. 2016 - Caroline Philips

If you are interested in the cost of IVF in Europe it probably means that you have checked out IVF prices at home and are perhaps a little shocked by what you find. Can egg donation treatment really cost eight, nine or ten thousand pounds a go? Having worked in the field of so-called “fertility tourism” for a few years Dr.Caroline Philips has access to a range of prices of IVF treatment in Europe. What she has found is an astonishing difference in prices when compared to private clinics in the UK (London in particular). 

Why is fertility treatment cheaper in Europe?

It seems strange that there is such a disparity in costs and it might make you worry about why. Are there things to be concerned about by opting for these “bargains”?  Here are some myths to dispel the notion that something must be wrong:

Myth 1: The staff must be less qualified or the equipment really old and decrepit

Actually no! In fact having visited some of the IVF clinics on our website I know that this isn’t the case.  The clinics I have personally seen are cutting edge and using the latest technologies. Their laboratories are sophisticated and well laid out. Their staff members are friendly and polite and very qualified in all the latest procedures.  Some of the staff that I’ve met has actually trained throughout Europe including the UK.

Myth 2: Success rates must be lower

No! You only need to take a look through our website to see that success rates for IVF and egg donation treatment are very high.  The IVF clinics would soon go out of business if they were consistently failing patients. Feedback is always given on forums and social media about clinics. It would soon become apparent if an IVF clinic was not up to scratch.

Myth 3: IVF clinics abroad transfer multiple embryos leading to high success rates

Not really true nowadays. Most responsible overseas clinics understand the problems that multiple births may bring. They actively try and discourage patients who want more than 1 or 2 embryos transferred. Also, a lot of clinics offer embryo monitoring in order to select the best embryos for transfer negating the need to transfer multiple embryos “just in case”.

And since embryo monitoring (the Embryoscope) as an add-on to treatment  is not as expensive in Europe it makes it more likely that only the best embryos are transferred with better options for freezing the remaining good embryos.

Myth 4: IVF clinics abroad aren’t well regulated so can cut corners

Not so! Fertility clinics in Europe adhere tightly to the laws and regulations laid down by their countries administration.  The clinics are inspected regularly and given a license to operate just like the HFEA does in the UK.  The clinics also follow the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) guidelines and recommendations on fertility treatments.  Staff are endorsed by ESHRE too if they meet all the required standards.

Myth 5: Egg and sperm donors are not properly screened in order to cut costs

Again untrue. There is a battery of tests that are required to be undertaken by a potential donor.  As well as genetic testing, this includes psychological testing and family history investigation. Due to the anonymity laws in most of Europe, there are lots of young men and women who put themselves forward for donation. So clinics do not take “anyone” and can be very selective. This in turns leads to better treatment outcomes.

There has been criticism of the cost of IVF by leading experts in the field. For example the IVF pioneer Robert Winston has been quite outspoken on the subject. Travelling overseas for treatment does have its disadvantages of course. There is the cost of travel, accommodation and living expenses to consider. As well as the extra stress involved in leaving behind your support network whilst abroad. However, taking it all into consideration, there are significant cost savings which may be a lifeline to people caught out by NHS funding because they are too old or don’t meet other criteria.

Thousands of people travel every year to private IVF clinics in Europe. This so-called “Fertility tourism” phenomenon is not going away. From my perspective, I can see that more and more European clinics are noticing that there is a market for fertility treatment abroad and want to get involved and offer their services.  

Source: first published on www.fertilityclinicsabroad.com

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