Table of Contents

Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility

Handbook on Medical Tourism and Patient Mobility

Edited by Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall and Johanna Hanefeld

The growth of international travel for purposes of medical treatment has been accompanied by increased academic research and analysis. This Handbook explores the emergence of medical travel and patient mobility and the implications for patients and health systems. Bringing together leading scholars and analysts from across the globe, this unprecedented Handbook examines the regional and national experiences of medical tourism, including coverage of the Americas, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The chapters explore topics on issues of risk, law and ethics; and include treatment-focused discussions which highlight patient decision-making, patient experience and treatment outcomes for cosmetic, transplantation, dentil, fertility and bariatric treatment.

Chapter 35: Medical tourism for services illegal in patients’ home country

I. Glenn Cohen

Subjects: economics and finance, health policy and economics, politics and public policy, public policy, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


While much of the medical tourism literature focuses on individuals travelling abroad for hip replacements, heart valve replacements, cost savings, quality improvements or waiting times, there is a potentially darker side of the industry: medical tourism for services that are illegal in the patient’s home country, what I have elsewhere called ‘Circumvention Tourism’. This chapter focuses on three major forms of circumvention tourism, travel for assisted suicide, abortion and reproductive technologies. After describing these three streams of travel, the chapter discusses several legal issues with them: questions about detection, the assertion by the home country of prescriptive jurisdiction to criminalize the activity when it takes place in the destination country, and the immigration status of children born through medical tourism for reproductive technology.

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