I met Vanessa at the Choice Mom networking event in London (July 2010). She had these tips to share about the pros and cons of fertility tourism to Belgium for single women.
“I have lived in Belgium for three years and discovered shortly after moving here that it is one of the world centres for fertility treatment. In addition, once you are working here and are on the Belgian national health insurance, any kind of treatment (in vitro, ICSI, IUI) is practically free (up to five tries with in vitro). Finally, I also discovered it is possible for single women to get the same fertility treatment, which means that many single women and lesbian couples come to Belgium for treatment from other European countries where this is not possible. If you come from outside Belgium, treatment is not free, but is still far less than in North America or the U.K., as I understand it.
There are some downsides to the approach to using donor sperm in Belgium, however. The only choice is completely anonymous and your doctor also picks your donor for you (based on basic parameters that you define.) You can choose to order your sperm from abroad and have it flown here packed in dry ice, but for me that option was prohibitively expensive.
I soon discovered the Belgian health service would only pay for in vitro until my 43rd birthday (IUI or insemination until 45). So I had to get going immediately, as I was already 42 when I started looking into it. I quit smoking, made some other life changes and started the process. Much to my surprise, ICSI worked on the first try and I am now pregnant with twins. (Twins were not part of the original plan so I’m now trying to manage planning for that turn of events!! ).
Anyone with further questions about the Belgian process can feel free to contact me.”
Mikki’s note: You can leave a message in the comments field below. Also note that in 2014 Vanessa relocated to her home area in the United States, so we need a new contact person for our Finding Support e-guide in the Benelux area if you want to volunteer!