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 44: Cross-border reproductive travel

Nicky Hudson and Lorraine Culley

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


Since 1978, five million babies have been born via IVF and its related technologies. However, political and cultural differences between nations and the unequal global spread of Assistive Reproductive Technologies (ARTs) means that the access that individuals have to medicalised solutions to childlessness varies internationally. In response to this variability, cross-border reproductive travel appears to have burgeoned in recent years, though accurate assessment of its extent remains a challenge. This chapter provides a brief overview of the current knowledge on cross-border fertility travel before presenting empirical findings from a qualitative UK study about the experiences of British residents who travel abroad to seek access to ARTs. The ‘Transrep’ study sought to address some of these gaps and this chapter summarises key findings from the study regarding the profile of UK fertility travellers, their motivations, destinations and experiences. These data demonstrate that in a country like the UK, where there is largely liberal and inclusive regulation surrounding access to fertility treatment, the reasons for and direction of patient travel are complex and diverse. Cross-border reproductive travel, a phenomenon at the intersection of kinship, science, politics and commerce, presents a very particular set of ethical and legal dilemmas.

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