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Fertility Tourism: Why Greece and Spain are IVF Leaders in Europe

Fertility Tourism: Why Greece and Spain are IVF Leaders in Europe

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A major source of revenue for both Greece and Spain comes from tourism, including a substantial number of health & wellness travelers.  Both countries offer a wide range of advanced and inexpensive healthcare treatments to medical tourists, such as fertility procedures like IVF.

In the simplest terms, IVF, or in vitro fertilization, is the process of manually fertilizing a female’s egg by combining it with a man’s sperm in a laboratory dish, and then implanting the resulting embryo in a woman’s uterus.  It leads to over 60,000 babies per year in the United States alone.

IVF happens to be one of several hi-tech treatments for which European medical tourism is famous – like stem-cell treatments in Asia or cutting-edge cancer treatments in the US – and it’s particularly true for Greece and Spain, the two most popular fertility tourism destinations in Europe.

As a result, scores of hopeful mothers-to-be are turning to the affordable medical tourism in Greece where there are over 50 IVF clinics and where prices are roughly one-third of the US$12,000 one would pay for a full IVF cycle in America fertility centers.

Similarly, Spain’s health care system is well-known with American and British patients who reduce what they pay out-of-pocket for treatments by as much as 70%.  As for IVF, a full cycle in one of Spain’s nearly 200 state-of-the-art fertility clinics costs about US$5,500-$6,500, or 50% off the price in the US.

Each year, Greece and Spain welcome thousands of fertility tourists from countries all over Europe partly due to the savings, but also because of their liberal laws that govern the sometimes controversial aspects of IVF like egg donation, pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), and treatment for same-sex couples.

In Greece, for a man and women hoping to conceive – but for whom medical reasons preclude them from using their own sperm or eggs for IVF – Greece’s anonymity law pertaining to sperm & egg donors make it an attractive destination: there are many people willing to donate, and virtually no waiting lists for hopeful couples.  And, there is no ban on same sex couples who are hoping to start a family.

Spain is where nearly 50% of all IVF treatments using donor eggs in Europe are performed, and, like in Greece, fertility centers there respect egg donors’ privacy.  As for availability, any discrimination based on sexual orientation or marital status is strictly prohibited thanks to equality in healthcare legislation there.

Quality and safety during IVF treatments is hugely important, so clinics in both Greece and Spain comply with thorough government oversight.  This means reproductive tourists visiting either country can trust that not only are their IVF cycles being conducted by highly-trained professionals, but that they’re of the utmost safety and produce high rates of successful pregnancies and births.

And while IVF is most definitely a serious undertaking, it’s highly compatible with what Greece and Spain have to offer vacationers.  Both are laid back locations for fertility tourists to combine their care with any type of holiday they could imagine.  The rich cultures and histories, exquisite seaside escapes, vibrant cities, and delicious cuisines would make a wonderful complement to anyone’s new beginning.