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27-31 August 2019
Poznań, Poland
Europe/Warsaw timezone
programme last update: 23 August 2019
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Contribution Paper

Poznań, Poland - Morasko Kampus, room: 3.44

Crossing Borders to Access Care: German and Polish Fertility Patients Explore Options Abroad


  • Dr. Tracie WILSON

Primary authors


The fact that Germany and Poland are neighboring countries and that assisted reproductive technology (ART) policies are quite strict in the former and generally permissive in the latter, has led some Germans to travel to Poland for treatment. A significant reduction in state-sponsored support for IVF cycles (ESHRE, 2007) along with the relatively low cost and high quality of medical services also prompts some patients to travel abroad. Other reasons include improved options for freezing embryos for further treatment, as well as the possibility of egg and embryo donation. In autumn of 2015 a new law regulating ART became effective in Poland, excluding single women and lesbians from receiving IVF treatment.[1] In addition, the government chose not to renew public financing of IVF. These changes make it more difficult for many patients seeking treatment to receive it, thereby increasing “reproductive stratification” (Colen 1995) with those with fewer resources or groups who are stigmatized as inappropriate parents having diminished access to care. At the same time new restrictions may mean that more affluent women from Poland will look for treatment abroad. This paper examines the motivations and narratives of fertility patients from Germany who have traveled to Poland for treatment and explores whether new legal restrictions have prompted Polish patients to seek treatment abroad. [1] Among European countries, Poland is not alone in this form of exclusion. France also does not permit single women or those in same sex relationships from receiving IVF treatment.