Edited by Neil Lunt, Daniel Horsfall and Johanna Hanefeld
AbstractSince 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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