Many couples use the summer months to explore their fertility options, with some even seeking treatment abroad and scheduling in a holiday at the same time. In fact, rising numbers of couples are becoming ‘fertility tourists’ and this is partly due to a 2005 change in UK law regarding the anonymity of donors. Children conceived through egg or sperm donation were given the right to know the identity of their donor once they turned 18, a law not seen in most other EU countries or the US.
The unintended outcome is that many couples are seeking treatment abroad because they would prefer that their potential children don’t have the means to trace their donor. Many donors are also now more reluctant to donate because they wish to remain anonymous. This is particularly true for Asian and other ethnic minority donors. The lower levels of donation have pushed up costs and meant longer waiting lists for treatment in the UK, again encouraging ‘fertility tourism’. What many don’t realise is that there can be serious risks associated with undergoing fertility treatment abroad that women and couples must consider before taking the decision to do so.