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  • Writer's pictureYour IVF abroad

5 things I'd wish I'd known before having fertility treatment abroad

Updated: Nov 10, 2023

1) Research


This might be really obvious, but super key and that is research, research, research, everything!


If you're going to be doing this yourself without expert support then please make sure that you do your homework. You can go back and read some of my past blog posts which will help, but just to really highlight the importance of research. Is it safe? Is it ethical? Is it politically stable? Can you have treatment there? Is it somewhere that you want to go? Is it somewhere that you can get too? And then in terms of the clinic, is it registered? Is it regulated? What are the reviews like? And while I don't suggest that you'd go based on another person's review, getting a real sense of the overall reviews for somewhere is great and really digging into the detail to and if there's any red flags will be helpful.


Ask questions as part of your research and don’t be afraid to do so. If you are having egg and or sperm donation, embryo adoption or embryo donation ask more questions to make sure that you understand the intricacies and laws of having donation in that country and with that clinic and how that affects things for you any future children born as a result, Asking questions leads to making informed more decisions.


A lot of people I work with have had poor experiences elsewhere, be it on their own NHS or their version of an NHS in the home countries that sometimes privately or, you know, they've had some negative experiences and it's made some people become quite accepting of of this as the norm and feeling fearful that they can't ask questions that you shouldn't ask questions that they should just be grateful for what they've been given. And I don't want you to feel like that. I want you to feel empowered to ask questions and not be afraid. And it's really good actually to kind of see how a clinic deals with answering them.


2) Communication


What is the communication process like with the clinics that you are considering using? This is super important, particularly if you're not using any external help to find the clinic and to plan your treatment and have your treatment abroad. It needs to be nice and clear. It needs to feel in flow for you, that you understand and feel comfortable. Find out things like is there an out of hours email address and phone number so you've got a really clear view of how you can communicate at any given time.


3) Understand costs upfront if working to a set budget


You should be able to get an indication of costs prior to consultation and then when you get the actual costs when your treatment plan is agreed you should be asking, is there anything else that you haven't included that will be needed or that may be needed? And if so, how much will that cost? Just to help you budget and asking them when things need to be paid by and at what point? When do things need to be paid for? You don't want any last minute unforeseen stress about money when you're working to a set budget and having this all nailed down will really help you know what's left for things like flights and accommodation.


4) Stay organised


It's really important to be organised when planning and having IVF or fertility treatment abroad, particularly if you're not using an IVF abroad mentor like myself to help you. Being organised should also help with that feeling of being out of control, which we all get during this time, no matter where you're having a treatment. It means you stay on top of things, you're not missing things and there's a lot to organise. And it can feel overwhelming so being organised will help. You could have a special folder in your email for all of your clinic emails and save everything in there. You might want to print some things out and put them in a physical file, or get yourself a dedicated notebook to store everything.


5) Find your support network


Who can best support you when going through fertility treatment? And this includes who you're going to tell/not going to tell. I told everybody and anybody that would listen, which I regretted as when it didn’t work and I had to explain the situation multiple times - not great for my mental health and I felt like I was counselling others on my failed IVF cycles. Obviously at the time, that's what I felt I needed to do, but in hindsight it wasn't the right decision for me.


It might have been better if I had got some external support instead, but it didn't exist. I was frantically googling, like, you know, support with IVF abroad, IVF abroad mentor and there was no one. You may benefit from my support or some professional support from a fertility coach or counsellor to help look after your mental health so this is another option to consider. And/or communities online over on Instagram for example can be really helpful. I’m on there too, come say hello on https://www.instagram.com/yourivfabroad or listening to infertility podcasts like Big Fat Negative, The Worst Girl Gang Ever, Fertility Poddy and my podcast which you can access under free resources on my website or search for Your IVF abroad with Emma Haslam on your usual platforms.


Having some external support from a mentor would have been really, really helpful for me. And if that's an option for you, and you would like some sort of practical support with finding a clinic with planning, preparing for treatment, and the emotional handholding from someone like myself who has been there for times, then drop me an email at hello@yourivfabroad.co.uk and let's have a chat to see if I might be able to help you.


Love Emma x

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