October 8, 2009
The Ethical Dilemmas Of Medical Tourism
University of Montreal researchers publish in Developing World Bioethics journal
Medical tourism in Latin America needs to be regulated to protect consumers, according to Universit© de Montr©al researchers. A new study published in the journal Developing World Bioethics argues that Argentinean fertility clinics are increasingly marketing themselves to international health care consumers: these clinics offer all-inclusive packages with fixed prices that feature airfare, accommodations, transfers, language interpreters and, of course, fertility treatments.
An increasing number of private fertility clinics have opened in developing countries such as Argentina over the last decade and are attracting consumers through lower pricing. There are two subcategories of medical tourism clinics: accredited centers that are part of the broader healthcare industry and non-accredited clinics focused on medical tourism. "While the 'big players' in medical tourism, such as India and Poland, are actively involved in the fertility sector, so too now are Latin American countries such as Brazil, Chile, Mexico and Argentina," says Dr. Williams-Jones.
Reproductive tourism clinics are targeting wealthy North American or European couples through the Internet. "The main interest for these individuals to become medical tourists is the high cost, long waiting lists, or even the absence of access assisted reproductive technologies services at home," says Dr. Williams-Jones.
Developed and developing nations have encouraged the practice of medical tourism, the authors argue, because of the economic spinoffs. Legislation and professional guidelines "“ both local and international "“ are needed to regulate the conduct of private fertility clinics in order to ensure that services are safe and effective. "It is in the best interests of consumers, health professionals and policy makers that the reproductive tourism industry adopts safe and responsible medical practices," says Dr. Williams-Jones.
Partners in research:
This study was supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Fonds de la recherche en sant© du Qu©bec, COPSÃ“° and the Universit© de Montr©al's Faculty of Medicine.
About the study:
The paper, "Reproductive Tourism in Argentina: Accreditation and its Implications for Consumers and Policy Makers," published in Developing World Bioethics, was authored by Elise Smith, Carolina Martin, Jason Behrmann and Bryn Williams-Jones of the Universit© de Montr©al.
On the Net:
- University of Montreal
- About the cited study
- Bryn Williams-Jones
- University of Montreal's Bioethics Program
- University of Montreal's Department of Social and Preventive Medicine