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More and more UK patients are travelling abroad for medical treatment. From plastic surgery to fertility procedures, medical tourism is a booming business.

The main reason why women travel abroad for IVF treatment is price. Fertility treatment abroad can cost up to 40% cheaper than prices you'll find in the UK.

However, you will need to go to countries as far afield as Brazil, India or Malaysia to find such impressive savings. You will find low prices in a number of Eastern European countries but potential savings are not as large.

The other reason for the growing popularity of IVF abroad, is the greater availability of donors. The UK has a nationwide shortage of egg donors, largely due to the price limits imposed on egg donation. Many countries around the world don't have such price limitations, and egg donors are substantially better remunerated than those in the UK. The result of this is a considerably higher number of available eggs.

However, IVF treatment abroad, as with other forms of medical tourism, has a number of potential disadvantages. The most obvious problem is the risk of receiving inferior treatment. Although, there are hundreds of first class fertility clinics around the world, few countries have rules and regulations as strict as those in the UK. This means that many countries will have their fair share of substandard fertility clinics providing poor treatment. Your choice of clinic therefore becomes hugely important when considering treatment abroad.

IVF abroad also poses the problem of impractical follow up appointments. Should you need to visit the clinic at a later date, you will be faced with more travel expenses, and another long journey.

Fertility treatment can involve a number of legal issues, particularly when donors or surrogacy are involved. You may not find the same level of legal protection overseas as you would in the UK. And when you do return home, you may find that arrangements made under foreign law are not be legally binding in the UK.

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