Trans-national Reproduction: An exploratory study of UK residents who travel abroad for fertility treatment
It is estimated that over 40 million women worldwide are currently seeking fertility treatment. There are indications that, for a variety of reasons, individuals and couples from many developed countries are increasingly travelling outside their home states in their quest for a child. Although there has been a high level of media interest in those who seek to use the services of overseas fertility treatment providers, and much speculation about the causes and consequences of this practice, so far there has been little systematic research in this area. This project was designed to fill that gap.
‘Transrep’ was a qualitative research study, designed to explore the experiences of people who are involved in the process of cross-border reproductive care, either as a ‘user’ of services, or as a ‘provider’ of services.
The study sought to answer the following questions:
- Why are people travelling abroad for fertility treatment?
- What are the possible personal and social implications of overseas treatment?
- How can treatment providers, regulators and patient groups support couples who are faced with decisions about travelling overseas for treatment?
The study included three key phases: phase one was a scoping phase which included a literature review and interviews with key informants. Phase two was an in-depth interview study with couples and individuals who have considered or have undertaken treatment in another country. Phase three included a stakeholder workshop bringing together service ‘users’, academics, practitioners, infertility support groups and regulators to reflect on the findings, debate the issues and suggest action points for different stakeholder groups.
The study was overseen by an advisory group comprising ‘users’, fertility professionals, academics, support group representatives and regulators.
The project began in March 2009 and concluded in February 2011.
A report of the key findings is available here.
The study was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Details of the grant can be found on the ESRC website.