Firstly, I’d like to say that Access Fertility doesn’t encourage or discourage patients to go abroad for IVF treatment. Secondly, it’s a reality that for reasons mostly attributed to cost and UK law patients do leave the UK every week to access IVF abroad.
At Access Fertility we want to help all patients, even if they don’t use our services, to know their treatment options and get the most from their treatment.
I recently visited a clinic in Cyprus and thought I would make some notes about things people should consider when thinking about going abroad. You may have to visit the clinic more than once so it’s important you factor this into your decision.
If cost is a concern for you it may be worth considering some of our programmes. We offer a 2 and 3 Cycle Refund Programmes as well as our Multi-Cycle Programme. To find out more about our programmes Click here.
The Flight Out
I took an economy flight from Heathrow Terminal 5 to Lanarca with British Airways and the flight cost around £300. The flight took just over 4 hours and the plane was jam-packed full of holiday makers, all no doubt looking forward to a well-earned break. There was entertainment on the plane but it was limited to shared-screens and a single showing of one film (in my case it was Eddie the Eagle).
Getting off the plane was easy via a walkway rather than having to board a bus or train. Border control was well-staffed and all-in-all it took fewer than 15 mins to get from the plane to the front door of the airport. It’s worth pointing out that I took hand-luggage only.
Once I exited the airport I was collected by a car organised by the clinic (somehow it always feels special to see your name written on a board). The transfer to the clinic would typically take around 1hr but I was travelling to a hotel and the total transfer time was around 2hrs. The driver sent by the clinic had reasonable English but more importantly he was extremely friendly and wanted to be helpful.
Once I arrived at the hotel I did feel pretty tired after a total of 10hrs travelling. I stayed in an all-inclusive 3* hotel recommended by the clinic (which I won’t name). The hotel staff were well-intentioned and were quite relaxed generally. Once I got to my room I was pleasantly surprised to find that I didn’t need any adapters for my laptop or phone charger as the UK standard 3 pin sockets are used throughout Cyprus (both North and South). The room was very comfortable, clean and it felt safe. In fact, the whole hotel felt clean and safe.
The hotel I stayed in, which I believe is typical, offered both local and international cuisine. If you like Greek or Turkish food you won’t be disappointed. However, if bangers and mash is more your bag you also won’t feel left out. The quality of the food was what you would expect in a 3* star hotel in almost any other country in Europe.
I travelled in early May and the temperature was pushing 30 degrees each day. Although, it did rain each day for short periods.
The clinic itself was no different from many of the UK clinics I have visited. However, unlike all UK clinics, this clinic is not licensed or regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA). I don’t want to comment on success rates because they are not published via any regulator. I also don’t want to comment on the appropriateness of the clinic for different patient types (that’s down to each patient to decide). What I will say is that the clinic staff were very friendly and hard working. The Medical Director was also very personable with excellent English and he clearly cared about the overall patient experience.
The Flight Back
I’m not sure whether I was unlucky, or whether it’s typical, but the quest to get to check-in was extremely long. That said, they were nothing compared to the queue for security and departures which snaked its way in an incredibly disorganised fashion across much of the check-in area. I can’t imagine how long some of those poor souls would be waiting for but I didn’t want to find out. I paid 5 Euros to access the fast track line, which took no more than 15 minutes in total.
Once in the departures area there were several restaurants and the usual duty free shops; it’s not a big area and I wouldn’t want to spend more than an hour at the most there. There was no entertainment on the plane which lasted for around 5 hours – make sure you have a tablet, book or good company.