ATHENS – Greece is growing in popularity as a place where couples from other countries can get often far cheaper fertility services, especially those in the United Kingdom who said it’s better for them there.
They are seeking In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) that an cost the equivalent of about $2,494 in Greece compared to as much as $18,707 in the UK, said the British newspaper The Mirror in a feature highlighting couples.
“Those who have gone to Greece for treatment say it is not only far cheaper but better than their experiences of going private in the UK,” the paper said, the couples praising the level of attention in Greece to their needs too.
One woman, Katie Brehaut, 30, said she was refused IVF by the British national health system (NHS) because her body mass was too high but she said Greece didn’t set a limit.
“It is devastating to think that due to the NHS system your weight or family circumstances can prevent you having children, which is the most natural thing in the world,” she told the paper.
She said the 8,000 Great British Pounds ($9977) she has spent so far on two rounds of IVF in Greece is far less than in the UK, adding: “The way they individualized my care and made sure I’ve always seen the same doctor is very important.”
Tia Brown, 34, who went through the menopause at 29 and had twins after IVF in Greece, added: “Greece is one of the leading countries for fertility treatment,” for price and care that includes everything needed.
Greek IVF clinics normally quote for a complete package. A survey by the charity Fertility Network UK found private patients were on average spending around 14,000 Great British Pounds ($17,460)in total but 10 percent had paid more than 30,000 GBP, or $37,414.
Greece has become a favored destination and has some 40 clinics for those who can afford the cost, some couples saying they combine going there with a kind of holiday as well.
David Soffer, of globmed.co.uk, which helps people access healthcare abroad said inquiries have doubled the last two years. “Places like Greece and Spain have well-established fertility programs with some of the world’s leading experts. Why wouldn’t people travel there?”
Brehaut said she contacted Your IVF Abroad, which led to Dr. George of the Ark Clinic in Athens. She said he “was amazing, he was so compassionate. I knew it was my best shot.”
A hospital administrative assistant, she said she gave birth to a baby boy in April this year, naming him Teddy, adding that, “We would not have Teddy if it wasn’t for Ark and Dr George.”
She said they spent 7,000 Great British Pounds ($8,730) that included scans, medications, travel, accommodation and treatment – half the cost they faced in the UK.
They also had 10 embryos frozen in Greece for 180 GBP per year ($22.49) about half the UK cost. “I understand the NHS is under pressure but I wasn’t trying to get cosmetic surgery. Having a child is what we are born to do. There should be more help,” she said.
Brown praised her treatment in Greece and said that by comparison, “We were just treated like a number in the UK. It was very upsetting,” to the couple at an important part in their lives.
“The whole team in Greece were compassionate, caring, knowledgeable and took the time to get to know us. They had a very personal approach which we loved. And we were blessed with twins from our first egg transfer.
“Our children are worth everything we had to go through to get them. They really are our double miracles.”