"Those who cross borders for treatment are frequently portrayed as illegitimately challenging nature, or "playing God", in wanting to "design" their babies by selecting their sex or seeking out particular physical or intellectual abilities," states the article.
Professionals in the field take a more complex, nuanced view, but they often represent cross-border reproductive travel as risk-laden.
Concerns expressed include the control of quality and safety standards overseas; the need to protect patients against incompetence and negligence; an alleged lack of psychological support in some clinics; and inadequate information about possible health risks to patients, donors or offspring.
The article stresses that there is no strong evidence to support these fears and that many patients travelling for fertility treatment outside the UK mostly to European destinations felt that they had received a better quality of care.
None of the clinicians surveyed by the research project felt that in an age of easy and affordable travel there would be any purpose in the UK introducing restrictions on overseas fertility treatment, even if it was a procedure that was not legal in Britain. This is because it would be impossible to prove where a child was conceived.
The article's authors state that: "In the absence of formal international regulation of standards and procedures, many participants reflected that professionals had a key role to play in educating people about possible risks and to ensure that patients were aware of the issues that they need to consider when having treatment abroad."
|Contact: John Ramsdin|
University of Huddersfield