Is Barbados the best-kept secret for infertility treatment?


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados – The prevalence of infertility worldwide has increased dramatically due to changing health and lifestyle habits, and an increasing trend among millennials to defer pregnancies until their thirties. And for the millions of couples who will experience infertility in their lifetime, the surprise discovery that they are unable to conceive usually starts a race against time for medical intervention.

With five-figure in-vitro fertilization (IVF) treatment costs in the US, Canada, and the UK, and long waiting lists on public healthcare alternatives, thousands of couples have turned to a clinic in Barbados for IVF solutions.

Tucked away on the island’s south coast, the thirteen-year-old Barbados Fertility Centre has been quietly outpacing international clinics on cost, pregnancy rates and quality of care. For a majority of its clients, a full IVF cycle comes in at under $6,000, compared to clinic fees of up to $40,000 in parts of the United States and Europe. Since inception, it has had thousands  of babies born through IVF, with 8 in 10 of its patients having successful pregnancies, compared to national averages of just over 2 in 10 in the UK and 4 in 10 in the US.

For many couples, Barbados is the only choice. The cost of delaying treatment to secure financing or the alternative of juggling waiting lists on state-funded healthcare can severely limit chances of successful conception. Clinic Director, Anna Hosford  said, “we are contacted every day by couples asking us about waiting lists. They realise that by waiting for free treatment, they are wasting their best fertility years and compromising their own chance of success.” In addition, the clinic also has a far more robust egg donor programme for Afro-Caribbean and ethnic minority couples, who are particularly affected by long wait times due to the low availability of donor eggs in international clinics.

What makes the clinic unique, Hosford says, is that it is the only Caribbean IVF centre with international accreditation through the JCI and the Canadian Best Practice Quality Audit, both of which have awarded the Centre with their gold seals of approval for patient care, technical expertise and best practices in safety. “Best practice is critical in healthcare”, Hosford said, “we have strict procedures in place so that our clients can be assured that they will receive the best level of care to an international standard.”

After an initial telephone consultation, the IVF procedure in Barbados takes as little as three days to turnaround, with no waiting lists. Treatments are part of a personalised vacation, with optional all-inclusive travel packages available that include Luxury hotel, airfare and spa programmes, as well as concessionary rates for CARICOM patients.

Daily flights from the US, Canada, and the UK make scheduling the Barbados IVF procedure simpler for international clients, and total travel and treatment costs are often cheaper than the cost of treatment alone in the US.

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