In this case, the product is IVF and the company is Greece.
Greece has had financial difficulties for some time now and while the government has focused on austerity as a way of survival, businesses have begun the long and slow process of rebuilding.
For the world of IVF, that means clinics that struggled to stay in business had to get creative in how they attracted clients. This was not a hard sell. It’s Greece!
Greece has now become the ultimate medical travel destination because of their concerted effort to bundle treatment with a vacation, and for IVF patients, this is a perfect match.
“The country is at a critical juncture,” said Health Minister Panagiotis Kouroublis at a press conference to promote “fertility tourism.” Greece has to embrace the need to promote fertility tourism as a way to improve economy.
For Kostas Pantos, founder of Greece’s biggest fertility clinic Genesis, his goal is to be a leader in fertility tourism. He oversees 5,000 cycles of treatment every year, or about a third of the total in the country, and five times what he did just a few years ago.
He and his team want to make Greece a hub for assisted reproductive technology, or ART, a worldwide market predicted to exceed US$20 billion (RM72.77 billion) by 2020. “There might be a financial crisis, but people still want babies,” said Pantos, 58. “Our clinic business is booming.”
Genesis has quintupled its business because of low cost. They employ 14 embryologists and about a quarter of their patients are now from abroad, and most of their patients have a history of multiple failed treaments.
One success is a 31 year-old woman who moved from Greece to Boston in 2012 to escape the Greek crisis. They returned to Greece in September to undergo treatment at Genesis. The first cycle in Boston cost her US$9,500, with medicine and examinations included, and failed. The second attempt cost her US$8,000.
In Greece the entire cost was €4,500. “My friends in Boston thought I was crazy and insane to leave the city of science that Boston is and come to Greece,” said Lena. She is now seven months pregnant.
So even though the Greek government is still struggling to work out its economy recovery, the fertility tourism industry is offering Intended Parents a great option and destination.