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The Real Costs of Having Fertility Treatment at Home (UK) vs Going Abroad


If you're struggling to conceive and on the path to parenthood, looking to have a baby and are considering, planning or about to have fertility treatment like IVF, ICSI, Egg Donation, Sperm donation, Embryo donation treatment in Europe, then you're in the right place. 


I'm Emma Haslam, and since the birth of our son in 2018, I have made it my mission to make fertility treatment more transparent, accessible, supported and affordable. I now help people around the world just like you to find a safe, best fit clinic and navigate fertility treatment in Europe. And since 2019 I have helped 100s around the world to have fertility treatment in Europe and achieve their dreams of starting or expanding their families.


IVF and fertility treatments can be extremely costly, not only in monetary terms, but in terms of time and wellbeing. Many of us feel stuck with the ticking of fertility beating loudly in the background, leaving us feeling overwhelmed and confused about what to do next.


 

Weighing up the decision whether to have your IVF or fertility treatment in your home country or abroad

All fertility treatment is not the same and choosing a clinic mainly based on geography and what is local may feel easier, but in the long run won’t be if it’s not a good fit for your personality, budget and medical needs.


From my personal experience and from my experience now of helping 100s of people around the world to start and grow their families, one thing that is not typically spoken about is the real costs of having fertility treatment in your home country vs abroad. Although my personal experience is based on opting out of treatment in the UK due to the high costs of private fertility treatment and being turned down for NHS treatment, this applies to so many people if like me you live in a country where the cost of fertility treatment is very high, or like in America for example where there is no state healthcare system, or there is one but you do not qualify for free fertility treatment


Weighing up the decision whether to have your IVF or fertility treatment in your home country or abroad can be not only a confusing one, but also super overwhelming and can leave us paralysed, unsure, worried, stressed and unable to make the decision about what is best for us.


Hopefully, this guide will help you to understand some of the differences between having fertility treatment at home for example in the UK or America and give you some things to consider to help you to move forwards.


 

Comparing Prices in Your Home Country vs Abroad

At the beginning of my own journey with trying to conceive, when we were refused NHS fertility treatment and turned down based on my BMI, despite being fit and healthy and despite having male and female infertility factors and low AMH and time was most definitely not on our side. 


We began to look at where to have our fertility treatment and we were in touch with UK clinics initially. The starting quotes we received were by far not the actual price we were expected to pay. For example, on a clinic's price list or website - a round of IVF may typically be listed for anywhere between £4000 - £6000 yet there was so much we would have needed that wasn’t included as standard that made these figures so inaccurate and I hated the lack of transparency. We had planned our budget according to the prices on the UK fertility clinics website and only found out the ‘real’ financial costs following consultations that cost in the region of £250 each.


We began to consider going abroad but were worried that when taking into consideration that we may not save money by going to Europe for our fertility treatment, when considering additional costs like flights, accommodation, food etc.


However, to our pleasant surprise, in comparison to the UK clinics we noticed that a lot of the clinics abroad’s standard packages were inclusive of much more for the same/lower price. In addition to your IVF or fertility treatment itself, there are add-on that you will need which are not included in the initial clinic’s list price. For example, in the UK price lists, they omit a lot of mandatories that you're actually going to need, so essentially charge you literally just for part of the process. It's really quite misleading and some people don’t find out until they’re too late along the process and are then forced to go ahead. It lures people into a false sense of security and into the process before hitting them with these add ons - a financial burden which is horrendous. 


There was some research recently by the Fertility Network UK in 2023. They estimated that people on average spend just under £14,000 in the UK for one cycle of IVF, which is a very big difference to the £3,000 to £4,000 prices that you and I have seen advertised typically by the clinics and in America it’s even more expensive than here in the UK.


The add-ons and lack of transparency in the price lists is really frustrating because you're very vulnerable when you’re in this position and the last thing you want is to be hit with unexpected costs when you’ve already started the process. It's simply not fair. 


This also doesn't give you accurate information to then benchmark other options against.In comparison, I’ve found the clinics abroad (for us it was Europe), they’re more transparent and it feels easier as well to get information plus clarify anything that is missing. 


I found it really hard to get my questions answered around, well, what else might there be that isn’t included that we are likely or might need? These are things that have got their own individual costs. You need to consider things like consultation costs. A lot of the clinics abroad don't charge. If they do charge, it's a one-off nominal fee. Sometimes it's refundable off your treatment. Whereas a lot of clinics in the UK will charge you £250 every time you have a consultation. 


 

Having Your Initial Tests

Now if you're going abroad, you may need to pay for some of your initial tests anyway, but if you're in the UK, you might be able to get some of these things done on our NHS, reducing the cost of your treatment. Whereas a clinic privately in the UK might insist on having all of your testing done with them, each one with a cost attached.


Often a lot of these tests are included with the clinics abroad. So if you had chosen the clinic for your IVF or fertility treatment, you could start to explore options, for example it may work out cheaper to do a day trip, flying out and have your initial tests done with them. That can work out cheaper than having private testing done in the UK. Any blood work or ICSI will be an additional cost in places like the UK and USA. ICSI can be an extra £1,500 on top of the base cost, but they don't tell you that and in most cases ICSI is used. I just feel like it's really misleading, whereas a lot of the clinics abroad offer ICSI in the standard base costs.


Another add on costs to be aware of include;  embryo freezing and storage, sperm freezing and storage, anything that they might need to do to look after the embryo while it's in its development. 


Also, medication - which is not necessarily included in the packages for the clinics abroad either, however, when this tends to be explicitly stated when looking and comparing websites and lists of treatment options than it is on a lot of the clinics here in the UK and by going abroad this means you can shop around for your medication, whereas a lot of clinics in the UK and USA make huge markups on medication and don’t allow you to get your medication elsewhere, or charge you to raise private prescriptions.


Waiting lists can be long for things like donor egg treatment in the UK and there are generally no waiting lists abroad.


I'm not saying that this will be the same for you if you get in touch with UK clinics or those in your home country, but in my experience and in the experience of working with 100s of people from around the world that have become clients I hear and see this time and time again, that the costs initially quoted are way lower than the actual cost of treatment and you also have to take into consideration time and the toll on your mental health and wellbeing.


 

If you're ready to take the next step and explore the possibilities of IVF abroad, I invite you to download one of my free short guides below and listen to my podcast to learn more about how having fertility treatment abroad in places like Spain, Czech Republic, Greece and Portugal works.

FREE RESOURCES



YOUR IVF ABROAD PODCAST

  • Listen to the podcast using this link HERE or Just search YOUR IVF abroad on all your usual platforms like Apple and Spotify.


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