Travelling abroad for fertility treatment

Some people chose to travel abroad to have treatment, mostly when using donor eggs or sperm. This is often known as cross border reproductive care.

Naomi and Martin had had treatment unsuccessfully in England and had been told that they would need to consider using donor eggs. When they started to research the availability of donor eggs, they were excited by the availability in Spain, where the waiting lists appeared to be much shorter than in the UK.

Martin and his wife decided to try Spain because they knew a few people online who had had treatment there and recommended it.

Martin and Naomi went to the clinic is Spain expecting to use donor eggs with Martin’s sperm. But when they got there they were advised to use donor sperm as well. They decided very quickly to go for dual donor. Martin describes the next steps.

Their treatment was successful first time and they conceived twins.

Susan also went for treatment in Spain. She had had many years of treatment for endometriosis and pelvic pain and unsuccessful attempts at egg donation in the UK. For her last treatment she decided to try Spain. Her doctor explained that there was a cultural difference in attitudes to donation in Spain; this meant that there was no shortage of donors.

Martin was aware from talking to other people that some are worried that care abroad would be “unregulated” or performed in the backstreets. Some of the other people we talked to said they would not have considered seeking treatment abroad because they would be worried about standards and concerned there might be a language barrier. Belinda said, “If you didn’t speak the language then how can you question the treatment they are offering you?”

However, Martin was involved in an infertility support group where he was able to share his experiences of researching treatment abroad. He described how important it was to do your homework about the country you are going to, the clinics on offer there and what their regulations are.

​Last reviewed July 2017.


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