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Strict Fertility Laws Cause Flight to Other Countries

Posted Oct 27 2009 11:03pm
According to a recent study, thousands of British women are traveling abroad to have fertility treatments that are not available in the UK. Over 40 European clinics were surveyed about their patient demographics, including country of origin and reason for traveling to receive the treatments. It is estimated that over 20,000 European patients travel outside their countries for fertility treatment. The largest populations came from Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, France and the UK; and traveled to Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Slovenia, Spain and Switzerland.

The number one reason provided was to avoid home country legal restrictions around fertility treatments. Many European countries have enacted widespread restrictions and regulations that have had predictable side effects. UK sperm and egg donors are no longer allowed to be completely anonymous or compensated, which quickly lead to a shortage of donors. There are currently long waiting lists for free National Health Service (NHS) treatment and seventy-five percent of IVF procedures are performed privately in the UK. Many UK women traveling for treatment were over forty, at which age women cannot access IVF through the NHS.

The studies authors hoped policy makers will consider these findings when introducing future fertility legislation.

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