Assisted reproduction: Fertility tourism, a fruitful industry
30 June 2009
In the absence of European legislation on assisted reproduction, Dutch daily Trouw reports that "every year, at least 20-25,000 European women travel to another EU country to undergo fertility treatment." The figures are from the first ever study on "fertility tourism" in Europe, undertaken by the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology, and presented in Amsterdam on 29 June.
There is no doubt that the real statistics for Europe are much higher because the study was limited to six countries (Spain, Belgium, Czech Republic, Switzerland, Slovenia and Denmark), and excluded such sought after destinations as Cyprus and Ukraine. The motives cited by future parents who seek treatment abroad are almost always linked to national legislation in their countries of origin, which they believe to be unnecessarily restrictive. "Most of the women concerned are from Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and France," explains Trouw. "In Italy, it is illegal for women to seek to be inseminated with donated sperm or ova; in France, lesbian couples and single women are not allowed to apply for treatment, and British women have to make do with a limited number of clinics that charge very expensive rates. In the Netherlands, older women often choose to travel to Belgium to benefit from a higher age-limit for fertility treatment, which is authorized up to age 47."