Can IVF provide a happy ending for couples struggling to conceive?
Across Europe, the UK and USA more clinics are opening up to fertility procedures as patients demand more serious treatment of their concerns over childbirth. This demand did not come from nowhere, and in fact some quite moving stories can be found at the core of this demand for IVF treatment, egg donation and sperm donation. Although we are used to looking at figures and statistics for understanding the popularity of things like medical tourism, in this article I want to take a look at a story which shows the real need for quality fertility centres in Europe.
In May this year the Economist reported on a patient named Natalie Smith, who was born without a uterus. Naturally she felt that her chances of having a child, especially one that was genetically related, were none. Soon enough Natalie and her partner were able to find out about fertility procedures and chose IVF treatment to help them conceive. Thanks to the advanced state of IVF procedures, the couple have since become parents to twins which are genetically related to them.
As most medical tourists know, a surrogate mother is required for birth in IVF procedures, and IVF clinics abroad are used to seeing large numbers of people sign up for such a role. In Natalie’s story, the surrogate mother took on a special role. Her name was Jenny French, and she was inspired to help them after she had her own problems with infertility earlier in life. The story sweetens when we find out that Ms. French remained a close friend of the family and even became godmother to the children of Natalie.
Their procedure took place in Europe, where the IVF cost is low and is constantly subject to competitive rates. Unfortunately there are countries such as India and Nepal where IVF procedures are coming under attack, and couples are finding it hard to make use of fertility treatments to conceive. Greece and Ukraine have also recently decided to be stricter with IVF treatment abroad.
Thankfully we can be sure that IVF in Europe can remain protected as the market grows. However it is important to remember that the need for IVF abroad is drive by stories like Natalie’s. Couples are at the heart of every procedure, and families are the result that every doctor works towards. With this in mind, I hope that we can continue to continue to protect the medical-fertility community that has blossomed across Europe.