Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Health tourists get free IVF in Britain

In a curious reversal of what one normally thinks of when they hear the term "health tourist", some couples from other countries have come to Britain and received IVF treatment paid for by NHS. Normally, people are leaving Britain and becoming health tourists/medical tourists in other countries like Thailand and India because the health care there is excellent, it is inexpensive, and it is available when you need it.

In England IVF is free, paid for by the NHS. But there have been long waits and shortages of donors that have left many citizens frustrated. However, a few couples who are not even entitled to IVF paid for by the NHS have managed to get it. Details of those couples' circumstances are unknown. Perhaps they were temporary residents in England and sought treatment during their stay, maybe not even realizing they were supposed to pay for it. But a Dr. Luca Sabatini of St Bartholomew's Hospital in London did a study earlier this year that suggested that up to half of British fertility clinics are being duped by patients who lie about their age or identity to get treatment.


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