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, until recently there had been little systematic research in this area. This study was designed to fill that gap and to explore this phenomenon from a UK perspective for the first time.
Using a qualitative methodology, the TRANSREP study explored the motivations, understandings and experiences of UK based individuals who had travelled abroad for assisted reproductive treatment, or were planning to do so. This study sought to deepen the understanding of transnational aspects of assisted reproduction, and to provide recommendations for user support and regulatory policy. The study was funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. Details of the grant, the related publications and media coverage can be found on the ESRC website.
The research team
Principal Investigator: Prof Lorraine Culley, De Montfort University, Leicester.
Co-applicants: Dr Nicky Hudson, De Montfort University, Leicester; Prof Eric Blyth, University of Huddersfield; Dr Allan Pacey, University of Sheffield; Ms Wendy Norton, De Montfort University, Leicester; Prof Frances Rapport, University of Swansea.
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:
- A scoping phase which included a literature review and interviews with key informants.
- Interviews with couples and individuals who had travelled abroad for assisted reproductive treatment, or were planning to do so.
- 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.
A report of the key findings is available here and a podcast providing details of the findings is available here.
If you would like to find out more about the study, please contact:
Dr Nicky Hudson
School of Applied Social Sciences, Hawthorn Building,
De Montfort University,
Leicester, LE1 9BH
T: +44 (0)116 2078766