With health plans beginning to cover medical tourism, India is finding its medical tourism business booming, especially when it comes to fertility treatments. It's little wonder, either; after all, India has little to no legislation controlling egg donation, and a full cycle of IVF at the premiere clinic costs only $4,500. Compare this to the average cost in the United States, which is $12,400. And many other clinics in India cost half as much.
Of course, there continue to be concerns over the safety of such treatments. The very reason that people are traveling all the way to India for these treatments (lack of regulation) is also a very good reason to step back and consider whether the treatment is safe. For example, doctors in India implant up to five embryos during one cycle, compared to a maximum of two in Britain. This increases the likelihood of success, but it also increases the danger to the mother.
As medical tourism grows, similar questions will continue to be asked: Is it worth the risk? Or, is this exactly what insurance companies have been trying for: less expensive alternatives to drive down the costs?
To learn more about fertility-related medical tourism:
- Read this AFP piece