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IVF Tourism Marred by Ethical Differences in EU

There should be a basic set of standards among the European Union countries regarding the IVF tourism some experts believe. There needs to be reduced legal differences between countries that are encouraging reproductive tourism."

The term 'reproductive tourism' refers to people travelling to countries other than their own for fertility treatments because it may be cheaper or easier to access that over there. According to Guido Pennings, professor of ethics and bioethics at the University of Ghent, Belgium, thousands of people travel between European countries each year, seeking to take advantage of more liberal fertility laws or cheaper treatment prices. 'The number of movements is increasing because people are more used to traveling and are more informed about policies in other countries and clinics by means of the internet', he said. He added that there may also be an increase because 'some clinics facilitate access by foreign patients by offering packages including visas, hotels and interpreters'

National laws banning infertility therapies that are available elsewhere in the European Union are denying couples the chance to start a family and driving others to seek expensive treatment abroad, according to Professor Paul Devroey, of Brussels Free University.

Many assisted reproduction techniques that are considered to be best practice in some EU member states are heavily restricted or outlawed in others, and safety measures introduced in parts of Europe are contravened routinely elsewhere.

Like some British couples desperate for a baby are traveling abroad for fertility treatment because of a shortage of egg donors in the UK.

Patients blame the change in the law that gives children born through egg or sperm donation the right to trace their biological parents. Many of them are traveling to Spain, Cyprus and Eastern Europe.

Germany and Italy, for example, ban embryo-freezing, egg donation and
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