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Skip to 0 minutes and 0 secondsIt is possible for patients to travel abroad. We know that fertility tourism has been on a rise, because of certain procedures that we can do, but we are not allowed to do for patients here For example, sexing of embryos, it is possible to do and you know the UK is fantastic at providing that procedure but only for patients that have got genetic disease because it is not allowed for social reasons to be done in the UK. So patients that want family balancing, for example, if they have a child of a particular sex and want another child of a different sex, they can do that and that usually happens through, fertility tourism when they go abroad and do it.

Skip to 0 minutes and 46 secondsSo therefore it takes away that kind of business away from the UK and maybe into another country abroad. And what is really important is if that is the sole reason for patients for doing that they really need to be sure of the clinic that they go to and do their the information-gathering way beforehand and perhaps even visit the clinics to see how they run. Another reason we have these tourism is because of the anonymity rules that we have in the UK with regards to sperm and donor eggs, which has meant that obviously we do at times have a shortage, especially for the egg donation programs.

Skip to 1 minute and 27 secondsAnd therefore patients frequently go to places like Spain, not to have to wait on a long waiting list to be able to find an egg donation program that can do it very fast for them over there. Again, there are some very good clinics abroad however, I think the egg sharing in the UK is now picking up within the clinics and is trying to address that issue, with finding patients who don’t have a problem with producing a number of eggs that we, you know, need and they can actually produce extra and share it with someone else that is unfortunately not able to produce their own eggs.

Skip to 2 minutes and 9 secondsSo therefore, we can see that we are trying to address these problems because it is not just the cost of them. going abroad but it is going to a country that they are not familiar with. They have to spend weeks there sometimes to be able to treated. And also you know, not being able to build that relationship with within that country that they go to. Sometimes there are language barriers. That makes it very, very tough for the patients.

Skip to 2 minutes and 37 secondsSo in the UK we are trying to do our best knowing that infertility is on a rise, that we are trying to do our best to try and keep the patients in their homeland and try and help them as much as possible.

Reasons for going abroad for treatment

Embryologist Saghar Kasiri has worked in fertility clinics in several countries, and has spoken to many couples who have travelled across the world to access reproductive care.

Despite the international fertility industry being a successful, booming industry, it is also fraught with problems. Creating life involves fundamental questions of identity and heart. Saghar here discusses a few of the challenges that women and couples face when they travel abroad to have fertility treatment.

One of the complexities of the cross-border reproductive care is that it involves several different legal systems. Virtually every country has different laws about fertility issues, and this is one of the challenges both prospective parents and fertility providers face.

Another example is the potential lack of familiarity with the language and local practice. Fertility practises vary from country to country and so it’s important to do proper research before going.

For your discussion: What do you think are the most pressing issues that come with seeking fertility treatment abroad? What do you think some of the pitfalls could be?

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This video is from the free online course:

Making Babies in the 21st Century

UCL (University College London)