How to choose a fertility clinic abroad

Dr. Thanos Paraschos from Embio Medical Center, a fertility clinic in Athens, Greece that performs more than 1800 cycles involving foreign infertile couples per year, shares his views about “how to choose a fertility clinic abroad”.

When a long period of effort for getting pregnant has already passed, all advice from your gynecologist  has been provided and tried and your partner has already visited his urologist, this is the time where a couple wonders what is next? At that time, they wish that they could find all the advice and treatment they need in one clinic. This is the time when a couple will start looking for a fertility clinic. Due to financial challenges and other restrictions, nowadays, a large number of couples will explore the options for travelling abroad for fertility treatment.

Before you travel abroad for fertility treatment, make sure that your case is indeed one of the cases that has no or very little chance of conceiving naturally:

  • If you have already had one or more miscarriages
  • If you are a female over 36 -38 years old and have not conceived after 6-8 months of trying
  • If you are below 36 but haven’t managed to get pregnant after 1 year of trying
  • If you are a female with identified physical genital challenges
  • If you are a male will severe semen issues
  • If you are a female facing cancer and you wish to perform egg freezing for future pregnancy
  • If you are looking for egg donation and this is not permitted in your country or the waiting lists are too long
  • If you are looking for donated sperm and this is not permitted in your country or the waiting lists are too long
  • If you are a lesbian couple and this type of sperm donor treatment is not permitted in your country
  • If you are a unmarried couple and fertility treatment is not permitted in your country
  • If you wish to become a parent through a surrogate mother and there are a lot of restrictions or it is not permitted at all in your country
  • If you are a homosexual male couple and becoming parent through a surrogate mother is not supported at all or permitted in your country
  • If you are facing sexual disjunction, anatomic issues or uterus surgeries
  • If you are at the menopause stage
  • Other

Before you start exploring your options with fertility clinics in other countries, make sure to take a requested line of tests in your home country as this will save you time and maybe money if these treatments are covered by your country’s health system. Be aware that for some treatments you will need to get medication and hormones and be prepared for that. Also, you need to know that you will have to spend some of your savings as the majority of foreign clinics work on a self-pay basis by cash payment or credit card. Total costs vary per treatment and therefore you will need to perform detailed research about treatment prices before you travel.

And when you have finished with the above lists here are a few tips that will help you select the right clinic in the right destination.

  • Proximity or easy access is an important factor and, of course, associated with your air ticket cost as for some types of treatments (embryo transfer, egg donation, PRP treatments) you might need to travel more than once to this destination.
  • Reliability, infrastructure, safety and stability of the destination are also crucial. Obviously you wouldn’t think of travelling to a destination that has no international health protocols applied or where your stay apart from the hours in the clinic could be a nightmare with locals trying to rip you off in any number of ways.
  • Cost is a very important factor, but the most important is to get pregnant. With this in mind, make sure to verify the quality of work of a clinic. Most reliable clinics keep records of their success rates per year.
  • In terms of quality it might help to see certification of the clinic and the doctors
  • Make sure to find out what other people think about a clinic. Read the testimonials, not only from their website but from other areas as well (forums, blogs etc). Make sure to ask other members about their experience with that particular clinic.
  • Also, fluent communication is required. Therefore you need to know in advance if your doctor or your coordinator from the clinic speaks your language or another language that you also speak. Language barriers are important and especially with fertility treatment where couples need detailed information about all the steps.
  • Make sure to get the most recent information on a clinic, as although some clinics may have had a good reputation in the past, if key people have left or retired recently, the quality of their results might have been affected.
  • Ask about the full range of procedures and get informed about the cost. Of course it is understandable that final cost might change if an unknown condition is identified and treated before the fertility treatment, but having an indication of cost in advance is useful.
  • Read all documents and make sure that you understand terms, conditions and actual charges before the treatment.
  • Make sure that all documents for payment are in a language that you understand and avoid signing any papers in a foreign language.
  • If you are travelling to have a baby by a surrogate mother, make sure to understand all legal conditions of your country and the clinic destination before you travel. It will help you with all procedures for bringing you baby back to your country
  • And of course make sure to find out as much as you can about the doctor who will perform your fertility treatment. Read his or her CV, learn what other people say, ask about the number of hours spent in doctor’s retraining per year and, if possible, make contact with him/her.
  • If you are travelling for treatment with donated eggs or sperm and the origin of the donor is important to you for race or religious reasons, make sure to ask the clinic if they have that particular type of donor.
  • Immediate response it always appreciated, therefore if a clinic responds slowly or doesn’t respond at all during your first approach, keep in mind that this is an indication of their structure and service. However, if for some reason you do decide to travel to such a clinic, be prepared for delays and inaccuracies. 

Once you have worked through the lists and made all the checks above, you can buy your ticket and fly with confidence to parenthood! !!


About emBIO Medical Center

Lead by Greek gynaecologist and IVF specialist, Dr Thanos Paraschos, EmBIO Medical Center in Athens is one of the most experienced and successful fertility clinics in Europe, with success rates reaching 70% for certain patient groups. To date, EmBIO has been instrumental in the conception of over 10,000 babies and has helped thousands of patients to become parents. In particular, the clinic has a proven record of success in cases of difficult female infertility, including advanced age pregnancy, and provides IVF for women over the age of 45 and, in some cases, over the age of 50.

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