How do I get cheap IVF treatment outside the UK?
If you don’t qualify for NHS treatment, having in vitro fertilisation (IVF) can be pretty expensive. That’s why more and more British women and couples who aren’t eligible for treatment on the NHS (or who have used up all of their allocation) are packing their bags and heading off to have IVF treatment abroad, in countries such as the Czech Republic, Spain and Greece.
How much does it cost to undergo IVF in the UK?If the NHS doesn’t cover your fertility treatment or you’ve used up your allocation for IVF, you can go to a private fertility clinic. IVF in the UK costs about £5,000 per cycle. The cost of the treatment can vary from clinic to clinic and may increase quickly due to additional costs, for instance, egg donation, travel fees and the cost of drugs. The price will also rise depending on the number of cycles you’ll need to successfully become pregnant.
Nevertheless, you may be offered a discounted price if you need multiple IVF cycles. Some clinics offer 'packages' of services, however, be careful as certain costs (drugs, scans) may not be included. You may also be offered discounted IVF treatment if you’re willing (and meet the criteria) to donate your spare eggs to another recipient having treatment. This is called egg-sharing.
All in all, the total cost of IVF can be very expensive and for many, this can mean years of savings and loans.
How much does IVF treatment abroad cost?Fertility treatment abroad can be much cheaper than in the UK. You might be able to spend just half (or even less) than you would have paid in a British clinic.According to the website Fertility Treatment Abroad, the cost of infertility treatment overseas differs a lot depending on the country concerned. As we said earlier, you might, for example, pay about £5,000 per IVF cycle in the UK. In the Czech Republic, which is one of the most popular destinations for treatment, this figure is much lower: about £1,870 per cycle.
Other countries offering cheaper IVF treatment include:
- Ukraine: on average £1,150 per IVF cycle.
- Turkey: on average £1,250 per IVF cycle.
- Lithuania: on average £1,275 per IVF cycle.
- Hungary: on average £1,500 per IVF cycle.
- Greece: on average £2,500- £2,800 per IVF cycle.
- Spain: on average £3,500- £4,150 per IVF cycle.
Additionally, you should know that prices differ from clinic to clinic in every country. Make sure you do your research and compare prices.
Moreover, although some facilities seem to offer very low rates for IVF, these prices may not include fertility drugs or other procedures such as blood tests or consultations. The price of fertility drugs can vary widely. In Turkey for example, they will cost you £400, compared to more than £2,000 in Canada.Are you using donor sperm or eggs for your IVF treatment? These are other additional costs to consider. Donor sperm, which is much cheaper than donor eggs, can cost £200, or even less if you choose a donor that you already know. As for donor eggs, you might pay up to £1,300.
What are the costs to consider abroad?Before committing to a clinic, take the time to create your budget and include all the hidden costs. This can help you to prepare financially for your fertility treatment. Here is a list of the costs you should consider while comparing the prices of fertility clinics:
• The price of consultations and blood tests.
• The price of fertility drugs
• The price per cycle of IVF.
• The price of donor sperm or donor eggs.
• If used: the price of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) or another fertility treatment.
• The price of storage of donor eggs or sperm and frozen embryos.
Additional costs to consider include:
• Travel fees: flights, train journeys, car rental, etc.
• Travel and medical insurance.
• Visas, if needed.
• Childcare, if needed.
• Cost of taking time off work.
How can I cut the cost of IVF?IVF is one of the most expensive fertility treatments and going abroad can be a solution to help reduce costs. If you’re looking to obtain cheaper IVF treatment, it’s essential that you take the time to compare the prices in different countries and clinics (including the price of flights and accommodation.)Another idea to help reduce the financial burden is to go through a medical tourism agency. They have partnerships with some clinics, so they often have very interesting deals that can help you cut the cost of treatment.
Additionally, if you’re using donor sperm to conceive, you can also choose a free sperm donor that you already know or have met online (via a social network or a dedicated platform such as CoParents.co.uk). Many men are happy to donate their semen for free to women looking to start their family.
On top of that, in some clinics, it’s possible to share the spare sperm samples or eggs that you haven’t used during your treatment, with other recipients. This donation can really help you to cut costs considerably.
How many days will I have to take off work?If you’re deciding to go abroad for your fertility treatment, you might have to consider taking some days off now and then throughout the IVF process (for appointments, blood tests, scans, egg retrieval, embryo transfer, etc.).
You may have to stay several days, or even weeks, depending on the treatment you’re having. This means requesting days off from your boss (and perhaps even taking unpaid leave). You may be able to come home between the different steps of the treatment, however, you’ll have to pay additional travel fees.
Is having IVF treatment abroad safe?Yes, you can certainly undergo IVF treatment abroad without encountering any issues. However, you must do your homework first in order to guarantee your well being. As laws and regulations differ from country to country, you should pay attention to the safety and quality of the treatment offered by the clinic you’re selecting.To stay safe, we advise you to:
• Do your research about the clinic. Read carefully the reviews of other patients.
• Check how the clinic and treatment operate.
• Learn about the legislation and regulations in the country you are considering with regards to fertility treatment. They might be different than in the UK. However, this doesn't mean that the treatment you recieve won't be of high quality. It's just important to choose the right clinic.
• If you’re going abroad, make sure that you’ll be able to communicate with the clinic. Many of these facilities have staff who can speak English, but this might not be the case everywhere.
• To avoid the risk of multiple pregnancies that can put the woman’s and the babies’ health at risk, most clinics in the UK choose to implant just one single embryo. This is not necessarily the case overseas, so you should check their multiple pregnancy rate, as well as their policy regarding the number of embryos implanted.