Medical tourism has turned from something only the rich and famous can indulge in, into a far more widely accessible and lucrative industry. People travel abroad for a wide variety of medical treatments from physical treatments and cosmetic surgery to dentistry and ophthalmic procedures. Another service that is widely sought after by medical tourists is IVF and Fertility treatment, particularly by Chinese and Indian nationals, mainly due to the strict laws and regulations or social stigmas faced domestically. So they and many others across the globe seek these kinds of treatments outside their home country.
With more and more people travelling to receive medical treatment in a foreign country, certain trends have started to develop, as to where people choose to go to receive different kinds of treatment. Thailand ranks as one of the most highly visited locations for medical services of a broad spectrum, but in particular, the numbers of people receiving IVF treatment in Bangkok has risen dramatically over the past few years, establishing itself as something of a regional hub for healthcare in South East Asia. So let’s look at a few of the defining reasons for this newfound interest in Thailand’s medical industry.
1. Lower Prices than Domestic Treatment
The first thing that needs to mentioned is the price of the treatment received in a private hospital in a western country, particularly Europe and America is fairly substantial. Some people can pay several thousand dollars per treatments in some countries and subsequently, a full course of IVF treatment with all the additional scans, medications and services provided on top of the main treatment can become extremely costly. With this extreme pricing, some people theorize that they could probably fund a course of treatment in a significantly better quality clinic and still have money left over to fund a holiday in Thailand.
There is no public healthcare in Thailand (although there are government-run, subsidized hospitals) this makes Thailand’s medical treatment in general of both a fairly high standard (in private hospitals and clinics) and access to some degree due to the differences in the exchange rate and average earnings. In addition to this, comparative to average western wages and prices found in their home countries, foreigners visiting Thailand for IVF are easily able to afford the additional expenses of their stay, like activities and hotels. Making Thailand firstly, a great value destination to receive fertility treatment.
2. High-Quality Private Hospitals and Clinics
Overall, the quality of medical treatment in Thailand is very high and people often feel as though they get real value for the quality of treatment they receive vs. the price they would pay for the same treatment in their home country. As there is no national health service, private hospitals often compete with each other in terms of quality of service, and while private treatment is still expensive for most Thai people, this is not so much a problem for medical tourists who are happy to pay such a low price for high-quality treatment.
Comparatively, your average mid-range Thai hospital or private fertility clinic is going to be of substantially better quality than most public hospitals in the west. In addition, as they are often grateful for selecting them, they will be a lot more attentive to you comparatively a lot better than a public hospital in other countries for the same treatment they would potentially still have to pay extra for. That extra level of attention can be potentially a great comfort when going through the nerve-wracking and confusing process of IVF treatments.
3. Proximity to both India and China
Thailand has for a long time been known as a travel hub for countries on the border between Central and Eastern Asia, between the border of both China and India, lies South East Asia. As mentioned briefly before, there are several reasons why these two nationalities make up a large portion of the people who travel to Thailand for IVF treatment.
In India, commercial surrogacy and in some circumstances IVF treatment is actually outlawed due to the strict beliefs around childbirth, however, the law to ban commercial surrogacy was actually enacted due to concerns that foreigners visiting the country would exploit poorer people into becoming surrogates. While the law does protect people it has, however, left many native Indians in a dead end in regards to conceiving. In China, the quality of the fertility treatment industry and in particular IVF treatment is notably abysmal, with even lower rates of success to back it up. In addition, you can sometimes expect to pay a high price compared to Thailand for a much lower chance of conception. So until the Chinese Government steps in with more regulatory control over these establishments, this trend can be expected to continue among the Chinese population.
4. Thailand is a Fantastic Holiday Destination
Another thing to consider is Thailand itself! With its beautiful, sunny beaches and its stunning mountain ranges in the north, it is a fantastic place to spend a few weeks under practically any circumstances! Consulting about and receiving fertility treatment can be slightly difficult, and in some countries, perceived as an embarrassing process to go through, and it is perfectly natural to be slightly anxious. However, when you aren’t in your chosen Fertility clinic, you ideally want to have a wide variety of activates and things to do to help you unwind and forget about any stresses you may have.
Whilst naturally, your IVF treatment should be your primary concern, there is no reason why you shouldn’t factor in your own personal enjoyment into your medical trip. After all, what’s the point of visiting a foreign country if you aren’t going to look around at what there is to see, seeing as you will be there for a couple of weeks anyway. It is a perfect time to also enjoy this opportunity to spend extended time in one of the most vibrant, beautiful and richly cultured countries in the world, Thailand.