Sunday People



COUPLES desperate to have children are travelling abroad for cheaper treatment as private prices soar – with Greece hailed as Europe’s new fertility hotspot.

World-class IVF costs there are a fraction of those in Britain as clinics can charge just £2,000 for one cycle compared with up to £15,000 here.

Figures show 63% of couples struggling with infertilit­y have to go private and 95% suffer financial worries.

And the NHS is accused of running a “postcode lottery” for IVF by insisting women conform to different criteria from area to area.

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.

They told us care is more individual­ly tailored – and some couples even combine it with a holiday in the sun.

Katie Brehaut, 30, was refused IVF on the NHS due to a BMI of 40 so she went to Greece to become a mum.


She said: “In Athens they don’t have a BMI 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.”

Kate Burgess, 38, was eligible for IVF on the NHS in London but moved to Hampshire – where she was barred due to her age and BMI.

She said the £8,000 she has spent so far on two rounds of IVF in Greece is far less than in the UK, adding: “The way they individual­ised 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.”

Its clinics charge between £2,000 and £3,000 per cycle of IVF, compared with £3,500 to £15,000 in the UK. Here, there can also be additional costs for consultati­ons, scans, blood tests, medication and embryo transfers on top of initial treatment quotes.

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 in total, with 10% forking out £30,000 and some even more.

The charity’s Dr Catherine Hill said: “We have a two-tier health system here for those who can afford it and those who can’t.

“It is wrong. Infertilit­y is a disease as deserving of medical treatment as any other medical condition. People should not be paying for treatment. And the regulator, the Human Fertilisat­ion and Embryology Authority, does not have control over pricing.

“If other clinics overseas can provide fertility treatment just as effective and safe at lower prices,

Greece and Spain have establishe­d fertility programmes with the world’s leading experts

surely UK clinics should be able to.” Of 200 people polled by the charity, 49% said the cost-of-living crisis, combined with a lack of Nhs-funded help and the high cost of private care, meant they could not proceed with fertility treatment. One in five were pausing it indefinite­ly, 2% had stopped permanentl­y and 6% could not afford to keep embryos stored.

And 7% were choosing cheaper treatment abroad, with Greece a

favourite destinatio­n that offers around 40 clinics.

David Soffer, of, which helps people access healthcare abroad, has seen inquiries double in the past two years. He said: “Places

like Greece and Spain have wellestabl­ished fertility programmes with some of the world’s leading experts. Why wouldn’t people travel there?”

Meanwhile, Dr Hill has heard of patients here pursuing risky practices

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