The anxiety and excitement associated with fertility treatment abroad

by Monica Lera, last updated 12 Nov 2021,

5 min read

Approximately 10% of the global population is currently dealing with infertility issues. Assisted reproduction for the last 30 years has tried to offer solutions to this problem. The internet has become a very useful tool and source of information regarding IVF clinics worldwide. In recent years, we see that more and more patients start exploring their IVF options abroad. Of course, we need to highlight, that most of these couples have already completed one or more unsuccessful treatment cycles in their home countries and for various reasons (financial, legislative, medical expertise) decide to embark on a journey away from home.

The IVF process itself involves high financial costs and can become mentally and physically consuming for anyone seeking such type of treatment. They deal with an emotional turmoil of fear, despair, excitement, hope, loneliness, frustration, distrust, social “stigma”, relief and many, many more to count. One might say, that considering treatment in a foreign country may add up to all the negative emotions and be an extremely challenging task. However, reality itself has proven that the above challenge can be successfully overcome.

No one can argue that trusting yourself in a clinic, a medical team located miles from home can be easy. There are certain steps involved with the decision making and bonding process before someone decides to take the next big step. “Will the clinic examine my case carefully? Will I be offered an explanation as to why I/we cannot conceive? Will I/we be offered the best level of care possible? Will I/we be told the truth?/ Will I/we end up paying for extra hidden costs?”, so many questions that need to be answered but most of these answers can only be obtained after experiencing the IVF journey and being in close contact with the clinic you plan to work with. The risk involved is high but where isn’t it in life, right?

You balance your options, you even note down the pros and cons and then you decide. All IVF clinics from all over the world invest in their International department so they can build a team that will lead the way to patients and help them comprehend the level of quality each clinic can offer. Communication is crucial. All patients need to feel that they have been heard, that they are looked after, that someone cares. This is the part that actually triggers hope and builds an emotional bond. No treatment and especially no treatment abroad can lack this perspective. Empathy and trust are the keywords. And these teams need to prove this before even shaking hands with a patient. This we need to acknowledge. So why do patients actually decide to travel abroad for an IVF cycle? Is it only this perspective that makes this decision making possible?

Frankly, the pragmatic reason behind such an initiative is to start with, the financial perspective, combined with the high success rates and the scientific background of a clinic.

Furthermore, some European countries have a more liberal legislation when it comes to eligibility for IVF, compared to others, so patients opt for these alternatives. Another factor is the desire of patients to lessen the stress involved with the IVF process by making this an “IVF holiday” destination. It’s very optimistic to see that clinics manage to meet all these standards and cultivate a “home-like” experience for the patients.

Of course one might ask, how can an individual put his life on pause, leave his work, family, friends and stay in a foreign country for this long. It would be naive for clinics to rely on such an “availability factor” so it is always clear that patients can travel for a certain period of time which would require their treatment commencement from home. This gives a level of flexibility required, while also involves a plan so pre-arrangements can be made. Another situation where patients’ needs for a stress-less experience are met. Patients obtain detailed information about logistics, about their travel arrangements, their accommodation even about the local options for entertainment.

It is widely accepted that due to the challenges involved with treatment abroad there is a greater “investment” in the patient-clinic connection. In most cases, patients who have experienced a treatment cycle somewhere locally highlight the great difference in the level of attention and care received while being in such close proximity compared to treatment abroad. It’s therefore, not a strictly scientific, or financial, or friendly approach that’s needed but a balanced proportion of what each patient requires. The golden rule is individualization.

There are no generic rules, there is no bureaucratic approach, and there are no generally applied treatment platforms that will go unnoticed. Patients request individualized, tailor-made treatments and care; and this is what they are promised and hopefully offered. This is what treatment abroad should involve. This is what will burst the excitement and flourish the expectations.

Treatment abroad involves all of the things you can think of and all of the things you can’t. It’s a financial and emotional investment that involves a level of risk that may nonetheless lead you to your family “dream come true”. So, would you take the risk..?

If you are considering travelling to Greece, Newlife IVF Greece is here to help you understand what we recommend, what we can offer and how we can offer it… all you have to do is get in contact with us and let us help you!

Monica Lera

Monica Lera, BSc, MSc

Monica is working as an International Patient Coordinator at Newlife IVF Greece.

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