Thursday, June 14, 2007

MSNBC story on IVF tourism

Not only has medical tourism gone prime time but "IVF tourism" is coming of age as well. has a story on the phenomenon. A couple of cases are covered of women who went abroad for IVF, one to South Africa, another to the Czech Republic. Their stories are interesting.

One of the women is a 44 year old from Massachusetts who learned it would cost her and her husband around $30,000 out of pocket for IVF at a center near their home. Their research led them to a clinic in the Czech Republic that treats around 10 American women per month. After satisfying themselves about the clinic's qualifications and track record they went for it. Total cost was $12,500 including donor eggs, all drugs and treatment, airfare and lodging for two. She is now pregnant and expecting in January.

As usual in an effort to "give both sides" in the story we get to hear a lot of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doub) slung around by western doctors. They warn about inaccurate reporting of success rates, potential issues concerning recruiting of donors, questions about the standards of the clinics, etc. The article even said there was " reported case of a Romanian clinic recruiting illiterate donors and failing to take appropriate measures to make sure that those donors were giving fully informed consent." Really? One reported case. Oh my.

Certainly all these things are concerns and should be thoroughly investigated even in your home country. A note to the authors of these kind of articles. How about interviewing some doctors at the overseas centers you are writing about. And checking into government regulations in those countries, how success rates are reported and monitored, etc. That kind of information would be much more valuable than the FUD we hear from the western medical community who are often uninformed about what is happening in the rest of the world.

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