Fertility Tourism for UK Residents
British residents eligible for treatment on the NHS can now choose to have their medical care at a private or public healthcare facility in Europe (EEA). A multitude of agencies is available to support and manage the process making sure the NHS reimburses patients’ expenses for the various procedures.
The NHS will cover the cost of
- diagnostics and
- treatment (both in- and out-patient)
that patients are eligible for in the UK. In fact, it covers almost all routine operations and procedures including dentistry.
The UK is one of the most expensive countries to live in within the EU. The majority of countries (and the ones where we have extensive hospital and clinic connections) all cost less. Countries like France or Germany typically cost the same or more as the UK, so going to these will mean you have to cover the difference.
The NHS will not cover
- Translations (if required)
- Travel costs and insurance
- Accommodation (except when staying in the hospital)
- Procedures and tests which are not usually available under the NHS or your local area.
- Any aesthetic procedures.
- Patients must be UK resident (proof of residence)
- Patients pay for their treatment in advance and then the NHS will reimburse them (agencies claim they can speed up the repayment process to 4-10 weeks)
- Depending on the complexities of each individual case, some diagnostics, and proof of the medical need for treatment, can be obtained from the local doctor (NHS or Private), or the doctors abroad who will perform the procedure.
- Some, more complex or very expensive treatments require prior-authorisation by NHS.
Fertility Tourism Agencies
There are now over 3,000 fertility clinics in operation around the world, including over 500 in India alone and over 200 in Spain.
Choosing where to go for fertility treatment can therefore be difficult.
Many additional aspects need arranging such as flights, visas, hotels, local transport and insurance. It is therefore easy to see how a new type of travel agency has developed: the fertility tourism agency.
Many claim to offer comprehensive all-round services from private initial consultations, cooperation with the clinics abroad to after-care. They also promise to attempt prior-authorisation from the NHS so that repayment is guaranteed.
They claim to always work in the interest of the patient. Exercise care, however. As with any agency, they claim to save you money on the treatment, but they will use this as an argument to charge high fees themselves.