- Accreditation is not required for fertility clinics unless required by the laws of that country, but a few clinics have voluntarily sought accreditation by the Joint Commission International. The JCI website lists facilities that are accredited. There is no specific accreditation/certification for infertility clinics so you will have to search by the country you are considering.
- Ask for the reproductive endocrinologist’s resume. Many REs are trained in the US or Europe.
- Ask the clinic for their success rates for woman your age, with your diagnosis, using the procedure you will use. Get this information in writing.
- Ask for references and follow through. Also post on forums and ask if people have used the clinic you are considering.
- Ask about the training of the person in charge of the embryology lab. Is this person a Board Certified High Complexity Laboratory Director?
- If you hope to have embryos left over after your cycle, ask about how many frozen embryos are routinely frozen in a single straw. You want them to only freeze as many embryos in a straw as you are comfortable transferring at the same time.
- Ask about what procedures are in place to maintain the embryos if power is lost.
- Ask about the tracking and record keeping procedures for egg, sperm, and embryos.
- If you will be using a surrogate, specifically ask about the care the woman will receive. You should be concerned about not just the medical care and nutrition, but also the respect and support she will receive. Is psychological counseling required prior to becoming a surrogate? You want to feel very comfortable that she is treated fairly and humanely and is compensated fairly.
- Specifically ask how the egg donors are screened. What type of genetic and family history questions are asked? How many times is she allowed to donate? Is she being compensated fairly?
I think you will enjoy this Creating a Family radio show on Fertility Tourism: Options and Ethics with Glen Cohen, Harvard Law Professor and author of Patients with Passports: Medical Tourism, Law, and Ethics.
First published in 2010 and updated in 2016.
Add Your Comment
I am puzzled by the recommendation of the Joint Commission International as a body to trust when choosing a clinic abroad. This organisation is unknown in the UK. The only clinic JCI lists here is an eye care one. The UK has some of the best regulated fertility clinics in the world and yet none of these are listed.
I was also surprised to see that you have not included questions to the clinic about anonymity or identifiability of donors (if one is used) and/or how much information is available about them. Unlike the US, most European clinics give very little information indeed about donors and recipients are not able to ‘choose’ a donor, this task being carried out by the clinic staff. In the UK quite a large amount of non-identifying information can be known (although not as much as in the US) and recipients usually have a choice of donor. The decisions that people take before a child is born will have an impact on that child/adult for a life-time so making good decisions pre-conception are part of responsible parenting.
good points all.