Medical Tourism and Fertility Clinics: Growing Industry
Medical tourism is becoming increasingly popular among Americans because of escalating health care costs in the United States, but consumers should be careful to look for accredited centers for their care. This is especially important in the Latin American medical tourism market related to fertility clinics.
Researchers at the University of Montreal reported in the journal Developing World Bioethics that a growing number of medical tourism clinics that provide fertility services are opening in Argentina and other Latin American countries. Although some of the fertility clinics are accredited, others are not, focusing their marketing efforts more on all-inclusive packages that free healthcare consumers from worrying about details of their trip.
The focus of the University of Montreal study was fertility clinics in Argentina, which are increasingly promoting themselves on the Internet to wealthy North American and European couples who are searching for affordable fertility treatments and who are willing to engage in medical tourism. Some of the fertility clinics in Argentina that offer prices that are much more competitive than those of clinics in North America and Europe are not accredited. Healthcare consumers are warned to investigate any fertility clinic for accreditation.
People who want to participate in medical tourism, whether they are interested in fertility clinics or for other medical reasons, can get assistance from professionals. The Medical Tourism Association, an international nonprofit that is composed of the top international hospitals, healthcare providers, medical travel facilitators, insurance companies, and other associated organizations and individuals, is dedicated to promoting high-quality medical tourism services. Among its goals are to “provide an unbiased source of information for patients, insurance companies, and employers about top hospitals, their quality of care and outcomes.“
Healthcare consumers interested in finding affordable fertility clinics or other medical services abroad can turn to any of the many medical tourism companies that specialize in facilitating medical travel programs and packages. Professionals within these companies provide potential travelers with the necessary information about the available medical services and facilities that can meet their health needs so they can make an informed and educated choice. Medical tourists can enjoy savings up to 80 percent below those charged in the United States, depending on the procedure.
Medical Tourism Association
University of Montreal press release, October 7, 2009