I never thought I would be a medical tourist.
After all, in my mind, that tag was reserved for those who needed heart surgery or some other procedure in which costs ran well into the six figures. I have decent health care provided by a company insurance plan that covers me and my family for preventative care as well as a range of other services/care (emergent or otherwise). So it never occurred to me that infertility procedures would be a problem.
But this posting isn’t about the American healthcare system (or the failings therein). It’s about furthering dreams of having a baby, but going out of country to do so.
I stumbled upon the idea of having IVF abroad quite literally by accident. I was searching for information on embryo donation (more on that later), when someone in a forum I was browsing (Fertility Friends, to be exact) started talking about having treatment at a clinic in Czech Republic (even though she was from Australia). She happened to mention the cost, and that’s when my jaw dropped. It was so cheap compared to the US! During our many fertility treatments here in the good ol’ US of A, I’ve started to feel like a cash cow the moment I step through the doors of any fertility clinic. Treatments are a la carte and very expensive if insurance isn’t covering them. (Which is interesting, because IVF at my RE’s clinic starts at $18,000 without insurance, but starts at $6500 with insurance. I found out that little golden nugget when the coordinator gave me pricing with the assumption that my plan would cover IVF.) Eventually, you start to feel like you’re getting fleeced.
Anyway, turns out, this concept of going abroad for IVF is not new. Doctors in the US just don’t like to talk much about it; most likely because they want to keep padding their wallets, or they need to finish paying off the summer house. I went through two different RE’s and not once did either of them mention going elsewhere for IVF when the words, “I can’t have a baby that way because we can’t afford it” came out of my mouth. They looked at me and all but shrugged their shoulders. Then, when I called both offices to find out about coordinating treatment with a clinic in Czech, they both said the same thing. “Of course we can do that! We have a lot of ladies that have gone through overseas clinics.” Sigh.
But I digress. Women from the US, UK, Australia, and many other countries have been traveling for low-cost IVF for quite a while (both donor egg and own egg). The places I have “heard” about the most include clinics in the countries of:
- South Africa
- Czech Republic
I haven’t researched clinics in the countries other than Czech, but I know there is a ton of information out on the interwebs about them. If you would like to take a look at clinics available in Spain, Greece, and Czech, you can go to Fertility Clinics Abroad for a breakdown. For the two in Czech I am most familiar with, you can check out:
As for Fertility Friends, here is a listing of some boards that were very helpful for me; both in making my decision to go abroad for treatment, and in determining what country I wanted to go to.
Branching out from Fertility Friends, there is a Facebook group specifically for ladies cycling at Reprofit in Brno. If you would like to join or learn more, register with FF and contact loobylou713 or see this Reprofit thread.
In any case, Google any one of the areas listed above (or go to the links provided), and have a grand ol’ time researching/planning your trip for a MUCH cheaper go at IVF.