Who can have IVF?

With a wide range of treatments and ethical standards across the world, almost anyone can have access to in vitro fertilisation (IVF) as an infertility treatment, as long as you or you partner can produce your own sperm or eggs. If you cannot be accommodated in your own country, travelling abroad for IVF treatment is now easier than ever.

Infertility treatments such as IVF may be needed by couples who have decided to have children after the age of 35, when the female partner’s natural fertility levels have begun to drop. Most fertility clinics offering IVF will be happy to accommodate women in their early 40s, but some will draw a line soon after this. Of course there will always be infertility clinics who have no age limits, and there are regular stories in the press of women conceiving well into their 60s.

Most fertility clinics will be able to help you with IVF even if only one of you can produce sperm or eggs, or if there is only one of you, or you are a same-sex couple. Egg and sperm donation is commonplace in many countries, allowing couples to have children that are genetically related to one of their parents.

Even if you are unable to carry a pregnancy yourself, due to medical problems, or if you are in an all male relationship, you can still benefit from IVF via a surrogate mother, either using your own eggs, donor eggs or the eggs of the surrogate.

In some countries, there is strict legislation regarding who can have IVF treatment. For example, Turkey insists that couples are married before they have access to IVF, while New Zealand law insists on there being a nuclear family in place to raise the child. Other countries, such as Spain and the USA take a more relaxed approach and welcome anyone, including single people and people in same-sex relationships.

You may also find that your religion, or the religion of the country you plan to travel to, may place restrictions on access to IVF. For example, Catholics and Sunni Muslims are not allowed to consider this form of infertility treatment.

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