Medical tourism: Barbados fertility clinic sees high demand from US

Medical director at the Barbados Fertility Centre, Dr. Juliet Skinner. In the last few years, the clinic has seen an increase in American patients seeking in-vitro fertilization treatment. Skinner and her team will be in Miami on May 4 to provide information about their services.
Barbados Fertility Centre

A Barbadian fertility clinic is coming stateside to host a conference in Florida due to high demands and interest from Americans seeking affordable solutions.

The Barbados Fertility Centre is a clinic which specializes in providing in-vitro fertilization treatment — a process for women and couples looking to achieve pregnancy. The conference will be held in Miami on May 4. The centre says many of their patients hail from the United States, and a growing number of Americans are seeking the clinic as their alternative option, said the centre’s medical director.

“We’ve seen a steady growth of Americans looking for more cost-effective care in the last four years, but we’ve recently seen this massive increase as more and more Americans have started to see this as a viable option to them, and share their experiences with other patients,” said Dr. Juliet Skinner.

The clinic opened in 2002, but since 2005 they started seeing a rise in American interest. And that uptick has continued to rise as more patients share their success stories. Now more than 50 percent of all the clinics new patients come from the United States, particularly from Florida, according to Skinner.

She said that her patients were usually from various backgrounds, including some Caribbean-Americans who naturally consider the region as an option, as well as patients from Canada and Australia.

“Medical tourism is not new and our patients come from beyond the borders, and it really takes a big leap of faith for some to see healthcare in another country,” said Skinner.

At the conference Dr. Skinner and fellow Dr. Roberta Corona, and clinical director Anna Horsford will all be there to explain the clinic’s mission, the process of in-vitro fertilization, and how potential patients can seek their consultation. There will also be a segment dedicated to testimonies.

“We’re going to be there to provide resources and explain how individuals can decide what’s best for them and how to approach it,” said Skinner. “We will also have patients come and give their feedback and talk about their treatment and experience.”

The average costs of in-vitro fertilization in most states can be between $12,000 to $18,000. The price for the same treatment at the Barbados Fertility Centre is less than half of that, and can cost $6,000 American dollars, according to Skinner.

The treatment became popular in the 70s for women struggling to conceive, and is a very popular method couples consider when they want to start families. Skinner said aside from the reproductive concerns, cost was a major factor, and there was also a level of care and understanding that they provide that some of their patients said that do not encounter in the United States.

“One of the biggest things to the process is cost and there’s a significant cost savings many patients realize,” said Skinner. “And the feedback from a lot of Americans is that at some clinics they feel like a number. But we’ve always felt strongly about individualized care and we evaluate each case by giving the couple close attention to detail — because this might be the one chance they have to reach this goal and we are going to do it with all that we have.”

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]local.com. Follow her on Twitter @AS1mon.

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