Some Canadian couples struggling to get pregnant are giving up on Canadian fertility clinics and heading south for vacation packages with claims of successful fertilization.
They’re called “procreation vacations,” where couples with fertility issues can relax in the sun, while at the same time taking advantage of high-tech fertilization clinics to help them get pregnant.
The idea behind vacationing at such a clinic is that with getting away from it all and enjoying a vacation, stress levels are lowered and the chances of a successful fertilization increases.
It worked for Shauna and Cary Wock, who had twins following a visit to a fertility clinic in the sun.
“As anyone who has experienced infertility knows, your stress levels are maxed right out, so…just being there sure did help,” Shauna told CTV News.
Fertility vacations are being offered in several sun-soaked destinations, such as Mexico, India, Spain and even Thailand.
Katrina Turcot and Brian Nicolle spent about $7,400 for a fertility vacation in Barbados after five failed attempts with a Canadian clinic. About 10 months later, baby Clara was born.
“We were scared that it would never happen,” said Nicolle. “Finally it did and with the help of Barbados our miracle is here and we’ve never been more in love.”
The couple already has plans to grow their family with another trip to down south.
“We have more embryos in Barbados. We plan on going back 100 per cent,” said Turcot.
In an email, Dr. Juliet Skinner, medical director with the Barbados Fertility Clinic said thousands of babies have been born with the facility’s help since it opened in 2002.
Skinner said Canadians are fairly popular clients at the facility, with 14 per cent of their patients being Canadian. Including current pregnancies, 126 Canadian babies came from the Barbados Fertility Clinic.
Skinner says the facility continues to grow about 20 per cent annually.
As for success rates, Dr. Skinner said they are similar for patients regardless of where they are from.
“Success rates are age dependent,” he said. “Under (the age of) 35, we have a 67 per cent success rate and a 57 per cent for over 35. With egg donors, we have a 75 per cent success rate.”
Valorie A. Crooks, who studies medical tourism at Simon Fraser University and toured the Barbados Fertility Clinic, says couples should be careful before signing up for such a vacation as the clinics might not be as advertised.
“What we have to be concerned about with regards to claims of success is how accountable these clinics are to the figures that they report — if they’re self-reported,” she said.