Although there are obvious differences when it comes to price and approach between different jurisdictions, comparing them to understand which is the best option is tricky.
Even fertility professionals who understand treatment protocols and logistics struggle to compare their offer with others. The main reason for this is because in all jurisdictions there are fertility clinics and fertility clinics.
What we mean is that besides the obvious differences in regulatory frameworks, pricing and approach, in every jurisdiction and geographical location you will find exceptional, good, mediocre and crooked fertility clinics.
We have spent hundreds of hours and travelled thousands of miles visiting dozens of fertility clinics in the UK, Spain and Greece in-person speaking with and analysing over 100 during the last 12 months alone.
We have also spoken with dozens of experts in the field of fertility; including gynaecologists and other healthcare professionals as well as patients who have experienced and undergone fertility treatment themselves.
The fertility industry varies.
On one side, it operates as a fully elective medical undertaking (much like cosmetic treatments.) On the other hand, in most developed countries, fertility treatment is available in some cases via public healthcare systems. Consequently, it is positioned in ‘limbo’ between the many private and public institutions that provide fertility services in Europe.
As a particularly profitable industry, many renowned fertility clinics and operators have been acquired by private equity firms. In many cases, this has turned the focus away from helping patients first and foremost and towards pure profit-making. In turn, this has affected how the industry operates, its processes and the way in which patients are treated.
Although there are many good companies available, both in the UK and abroad, many operators and clinics will not consider people individually. Instead, clients are cornered almost exclusively into selling IVF treatment to clients (regardless of whether this is the best fertility solution for them), often driven overwhelmingly by profits and ease of operation.
This means that individual circumstances and alternative fertility avenues are not properly explored and considered. A one-size fits all approach is unfortunately used in many cases, which does not suit nor is convenient for all types of clients and patients.
Prices between jurisdictions can be one of the main differentiators, where the UK sits at the top of the list as one of the most expensive fertility markets in Europe (although much cheaper than the US), with Spain (where over 50% of the fertility treatments in Europe are performed) sitting in the middle and Greece towards the more affordable end of the scale.
Prices between clinics vary and in many cases price differences result from variations in treatment protocols, in what is and is not included as well as other price and profit driven considerations from one clinic to the next, meaning what you are paying for may at times be a little misleading.
It is important to choose fertility professionals with a transparent pricing policy and we advise our clients to access guarantee packages at fixed prices when possible, to avoid last-minute surprises.
In fertility, much like anything else, it is important to find the best value for money whilst at the same time identifying the fertility clinics that have their reputation and their clients at the forefront of their interests and all they do.
As part of our research, we approached many fertility clinics and operators to understand the reasons why fertility treatment often has an impersonal approach, especially in the UK.
The response was consistent.
The general consensus was that fertility operators felt that the majority of clients considering treatment were “just shopping around” and therefore were not ‘serious’ enough candidates.
“I have understood that many patients are not prepared to proceed to egg donation unless they have paid a fortune to understand their ovaries do not respond.”
“We have many patients coming back to us, after having spent fortunes with other clinics that simply told them what they wanted to hear”
"We receive clients who claim to be ready to start their fertility treatment but when you ask them to fill a form they refuse to do so and ask for prices without understanding that if we can’t assess their case in full, we can’t provide them a price"
The above is commonplace amongst many fertility operators, where their sales pitches are unfortunately, better than their actual results.
Evidently, there is a disconnect between both clients and clinics and solving this is key to finding a balance between the interests of both parties.
The treatments available today are generally straightforward. Moreover, most fertility operators follow very similar protocols.
However, in many cases it appears that the treatments are performed with a one-size-fits-all approach. As a result, the client’s biological, medical and lifestyle needs may not all be properly considered.
This one-size-fits-all approach simply does not work in healthcare. More specifically, it does not work when it comes to fertility. Therefore, a fully holistic approach is necessary for fertility treatments to succeed.
In terms of fertility treatments, jurisdictions have a major impact. For example, UK legislation does not allow anonymous egg donation, whereas in Spain and Greece, this is allowed.
Therefore, some clients may find that a different jurisdiction other than the one that they reside in, could be beneficial to their circumstances and specific requirements.
Spain has the biggest fertility industry in Europe, with over half of the fertility treatments undertaken in Europe performed there. With an older population and more relaxed legislation towards fertility, Spanish fertility operators and clinics have had decades to perfect their protocols and the industry has become globally-renowned for high success rates at relatively affordable prices. The fertility industry in Greece, meanwhile, is much smaller but has become a contender in terms of value for money and success rates.
Lastly, the UK is also a very well-regulated area for fertility treatment. However, it is a much smaller industry than in Spain and although it provides clients access to world-leading professionals, it can be more expensive and more restrictive in terms of legislation. Hence, it is not yet a major global fertility destination.
The one-size-fits-all approach does not work in healthcare nor for the clinics and shouldn’t be used by you, based on jurisdiction reputation alone.
Choosing the clinic, jurisdiction and treatment options for you should be done based upon individual budgets, specific requirements and circumstances.
Deciding between fertility options should be approached ‘from the ground up.’ Patients should undergo a thorough and clear initial assessment, which allows them and the relevant professionals to identify underlying conditions and opportunities.
Once the assessment has been carried out and potentially when a second opinion has been acquired, a strategy can be set and the best jurisdictions, clinics and full budgets for each patient can be established.
If you can afford it, you should consider guaranteed packages, rather than taking the gamble with IVF cycles or half-hearted approaches. Guaranteed packages remove the potential conflict of interest between patients and providers, leaving the incentive to perform for the clinic.
If there were no budgetary constraints and cost was not a consideration, the UK would be our first choice. Furthermore, if either egg or sperm donations were not needed, the UK is an excellent option. Moreover, for those who are unable to travel, the UK remains a great option for fertility.
We would choose Spain if you are looking for easy access to clinics in Barcelona, Madrid or Valencia and if your budget is in the mid-range. Furthermore, Spanish fertility clinics have the experience of processing big volumes of clients with high success rates and this is a key factor.
We would choose Greece if you want a more personalised, boutique option and affordable treatment. Greek clinics are coming up in the fertility industry and are becoming contenders. Therefore, their incentive to perform is great as they are building their name, reputation and volumes, similar to those which have already being built in Spain. Greek clinics tend to be more affordable than Spanish ones.
Though we have identified other fertility centres, such as in Cyprus and the Czech Republic, we firmly believe that the above three jurisditions are the right ones for a UK resident looking to access the best fertility solutions.
We are happy to join GlobMed clients on their fertility journey, to understand their circumstances and help them identify the right jurisdiction and operator for their specific needs. Moreover, we stand by clients should they need further support, such as coordination between UK laboratories, gynaecologists and other fertility-related professionals already on our books and in our network.
Lastly, we remind our clients that accessing healthcare through GlobMed does not increase your costs by a penny and it costs the same as if a client were to directly access the services from one of our partner clinics.
“By using GlobMed, clients can have peace of mind that their case is dealt with personally. Our end-to-end support during your healthcare journey is a priority for us and comes at zero additional cost to the client.”
At GlobMed, we stake our reputation on providing you with access to trusted healthcare providers and specialists at prices you can afford.Book A Free Consultation