Medical tourism: 5 surgeries worth a trip

In vitro fertilization
3 of 7

Destinations: Russia, Panama, India

Estimated savings: $6,000

"The No. 1 procedure our clients want is in vitro fertilization," says Taras Kuzin, founder and CEO of MedVacation, a medical tourism agency based in Denver. "An IVF procedure in the U.S., including drugs and hospital stay, is about $16,000. We offer a comparable procedure that includes medication, flights, hotel and airport transport for $10,000."

Considered an elective procedure by U.S. health insurance firms, in vitro fertilization costs $12,000 to $17,000 per treatment according to the National Institutes of Health, not including required post-procedure drugs. But often, one treatment usually won't suffice. A study by the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology, a nonprofit collective of assisted reproductive professionals in Birmingham, Ala., shows that only 28 percent of in vitro treatments result in a live birth, meaning two out of three women who undergo the procedure get nothing for their money.

Because in vitro fertilization treatments are frequently unsuccessful even under the best circumstances, it's easy for bad practitioners to chalk up a subpar treatment to the medical odds.

"Patients should make sure hospitals and doctors are accredited by a U.S. medical accreditation agency," says Andrew Lloyd, an attorney in Pleasanton, Calif., who specializes in medical tourism lawsuits.




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