Barcelona is Europe’s hotspot for fertility tourism

by Lorraine Williamson
fertility tourism

BARCELONA – To the chagrin of many residents, Barcelona has been a growing tourist hotspot within Europe for years. Now the city also appears to exert an attraction on people from abroad for reasons other than culture and recreation...Fertility tourism!

Recently, the city has also put itself on the map as the international epicentre for so-called fertility tourism. Women from all over the world visit the city and one of the 300 fertility clinics registered there for medical treatments such as in vitro fertilisation and egg preservation. 

According to data provided by the EFE news agency, currently around 70% of patients in the more than 300 registered fertility clinics in Barcelona come from abroad, mainly from France and Italy. 

Flexible legislation regarding the age of the expectant mother 

The main attraction for these international visitors is as follows;

  • “flexible” legislation regarding the age of the expectant mother
  • “inclusive” reproduction options for the LGTBI community
  • high specialisation of gynaecologists and other experts

Convenient location to Madrid 

Borja Marqués, director of the Marqués Fertility Institute, told EFE that Barcelona is “clearly the most important city in Europe in terms of fertility”. While Madrid continues to attract many Spanish fertility patients, Marqués notes that Barcelona has acquired the majority of foreign clients. This is thanks in part to its favourable geographic location closer to other European countries. 

Cogesa Expats

Popular treatments 

The most common treatment is fertilisation with egg donation. That procedure is limited by age in other parts of the world. However, according to gynaecologist and director of Fertilab, Federica Moffa, there is an unwritten rule in Spain that 50 years is the maximum age for certain treatments. Although there may be “exceptions” depending on “the health and characteristics” of the patient. 

Egg freezing is also becoming increasingly important in order to postpone motherhood beyond the age at which it is easier to do so in a ‘natural’ way. In the past two years, says Dr. Moffa, this treatment to delay motherhood has increased by 200% in her clinic. 

Useful with pleasant good to combine 

“Besides the specialised centres and the word of mouth among patients from other countries, the appeal of the city itself also plays a role. Many parents-to-be like to spend time in Barcelona during their treatment process. It is common for them to take holidays or even take sabbaticals and get to know the city and the surrounding area well during their stay,” he explains. 

Also read: Is there a taboo on infertility in Spain? 

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