The green grass on the other side: crossing borders to obtain infertility treatment

Guido Pennings

Bioethics Institute Ghent, Ghent University, Blandijnberg 2, 9000 Gent, Belgium.

Correspondence at: Tel./fax 0032 16 620 767; e-mail: Guido.Pennings@Ugent.be

Keywords:

Cross-border reproductive care, ethics, law, patient organisations, reproductive tourism.


Published online: Jun 03 2009

Abstract

Background: Cross-border reproductive care, also known as reproductive tourism, is a growing phenomenon. More and more treatments, or parts thereof, are taking place in countries other than the patient’s home country.

Results: The phenomenon is presented as a safety valve that takes the pressure of the restrictive legislation and simultaneously allows people to obtain the treatment they desire. These movements also hold a number of risks, both for the travelling patients and for the gamete donors and infertile couples in the country of destination. Finally, the possible role of patient organisations and medical professional societies is discussed.