Fertility Destination: IVF in Israel, Part I: Jerusalem

IVF in IsraelIsrael’s highly educated and highly entrepreneurial workforce is a world leader in many fields –biotechnology, defense, hi-tech, and medicine. And within the field of IVF treatment, Israel has attained undisputed world leadership.

IVF in Israel is a flourishing field as Israel has the highest IVF rate per capita in the world and it has leveraged this expertise to provide hope to others seeking their own miracle of birth. The biblical commandment to “go forth and multiply,” is one taken very seriously by Jewish people for who the concept of family is of paramount importance. And what is a family without children? It is also sensitivity to the needs of others seeking this all important fulfillment that makes Israel a willing partner in helping non-Israelis achieve their dream of having children.

According to a Human Reproduction Update in 2002, 1,657 IVF procedures per million people were performed in Israel, 84% more than Iceland in second place, and a whopping 1,300% more than the U.S. In 2010, 4% of Israeli children are born via IVF versus 1% in the U.S. In the decade from 2000 to 2010, the IVF success rate almost doubled. The number of IVF cycles almost doubled to 35,000 from 20,000 as reported in 2011.

Due to a preponderance of factors Israel has carved out a niche as a country specializing in IVF treatment. The number of procedures performed together with excellent medical staff and facilities, as well as exposure to the numerous individual problems encountered in the successful creation of an IVF baby resulting in the development of a broad range of solutions, have resulted in Israel being the country of choice for those unable to conceive naturally.

Israeli residents pay nothing for IVF procedures performed at public hospitals and only approximately USD150 at private hospitals for patients with supplementary insurance. This compares with the cost of an average treatment in the U.S. that costs USD $12,400.

Israel has thrown open its doors to anyone in the world seeking children but unable to conceive naturally. Non-residents are not government subsidized, however the cost of treatment in Israel is far less than comparable treatment in the U.S. And here is the clincher – there is no comparable treatment in the U.S., or any other country for that matter. Israel is the undisputed world leader in IVF treatment. IVF in Israel cannot be beaten.

Israeli’s are very sympathetic to those seeking a child but unable to conceive. Israel has a highly evolved tourism, including medical tourism, industry. Most Israelis speak at least Basic English, with medical practitioners being fluent in the language. This makes Israel a very user friendly destination for those seeking IVF treatment.

IVF in Israel is the result of an almost perfect storm as Israel is a country culturally predisposed, technically capable, and financially supported by the government in providing world best practice, state-of-the-art IVF treatment.

 Why come to Israel?

Patients come to Israel from all over the world because surgery and in-vitro fertilization treatments cost considerably less than in their home countries. Israel is the world leader of in vitro fertilization – Israel performs roughly about 35,000 IVF procedures each year making Israel one of the busiest places in the world for infertility and IVF.  The cost comparison is staggering. In the United States an average treatment or cycle, from egg retrieval to embryo transfer, costs around $12 – 15k. One of the key features attracting patients from the US and Europe to IVF treatment in Israel is the competitive low cost, even when factoring in travel and lodging expenses.

IVF isn’t just what’s on the menu.  Thousands flock each year to Israel to seek relief for medical conditions at spas and treatment centers at the Dead Sea which is a globally famous therapeutic spa and resort.

Israel’s facilities are recognized throughout the world, with regular contacts maintained on a reciprocal basis with major medical and scientific research centers abroad.

We can’t forget the climate – another reason patients around the world travel to Israel for medical treatment is the comfortable climate and scenic locations which have a calming effect on patients.

Traveling to Israel

International travelers come to Israel for a wide variety of reasons, including tourism, business, medical treatment and certain types of temporary work. The type of visa needed is defined by immigration law, and relates to the principal purpose of the traveler. Please, note, a visa does not guarantee entry into Israel.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs website  details in their visa requirements pdf on the site, which countries a prearranged visa is necessary .  Please note that tourists are in column of Nationals while service refers to Diplomats on official service.

Upon arrival in Israel, visitors undergo a security check and are requested to present a passport that is valid for at least six months from the date of their departure

Arrival by Air and Land Crossings – Incoming travelers continue to the passenger luggage area after their passports have been inspected. Carts are at their disposal. From there, they continue to customs control and to the airport exit.

Important note for tourists continuing from Israel on to Arab countries: It is recommended that you request that an Israeli stamp does not appear on your passport. You must notify the clerk of your request before your documents are stamped.

As of July 3, 2008, an official decision has been made that will no longer require entry stamps on foreign passports. In such cases, you must fill out form 17L including your personal details, and that form shall be stamped by passport control upon entry/exit. The form 17L will not be collected upon exit of airport as it is necessary for the collection of tax refunds and proof of legal entry.

Go to Israel has even more information on Immigration Customs.


Okay – I’m Interested Where To Go?

There are clinics in Jerusalem, Rishon le tzion, Tel Aviv and Haifa

First stop on our list is Jerusalem:

Jerusalem is one of those exceptionally rare places that combine ancient history with the full of life – bustling modern city  — even if you find yourself in a different city for medical treatment this city is truly a trip of a lifetime and a must see destination.   It offers all kinds of archeological relics, spiritual landmarks and world-class cuisine all in one place! The trendy wine bars are amazing!

The amazing aspect about traveling to Jerusalem are the political, historical and religious significance this city has. Where else in the world can you travel and see some of the holiest places with regards to   Judaism, Islam, and Christianity? Aside from the fact the religious aspects of this beautiful city – this place has lovely art, food, and a busy nightlife.  The other fact – it’s a really safe place for travelers especially females traveling alone as well as families.

Things to see and do:

  • The Wailing Wall also known as the Western Wall or Kotel.  This is the holiest place in Judaism. Millions and millions of visitors come each year to pray. This wall is believed to be the last trace of the Second Temple built by Solomon. Regardless of what your religious beliefs are visiting this wall is an extraordinarily powerful experience as those who visit slip their prayers written on folded pieces of paper into cracks within the walls.
  • The Holocaust Museum is the world’s largest Holocaust museum.  The Yad Vashem is a memorial to the memory of the millions of Jews who perished during World War II. The 45-acre complex houses a history museum, art exhibits, synagogue, library, commemorative sites and more, and is Israel’s second most-visited site after the Wailing Wall.
  • Mahane Yehuda Market – This is an open-air market better known as a “Shuk”.  What’s amazing about this market is that it’s truly a travel destination all by itself. The market offers tourists a bird’s eyes view of the local life – observing how generational families sell their produce, meat, fruits and other wares. As tourists wander through this delightful place they will come across boutiques, adorable cafés, and other cute little market areas.
  • The Old City Bazaar – This gem of located between the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Wailing Wall and the Dome of the Rock.  Inside Jerusalem’s walled old city is the Old City Bazaar. This is hands down one of the best places in Israel to purchase authentic souvenirs. The Bazaar is loaded with lively shopkeepers who are adept at the art of bargaining or negotiating!  If you know how to haggle amazing deals can be head for those willing to take the time to bargain or negotiate.  Make sure you always start about half of the asking price!
  • The Israel Museum

This place is so amazing you could easily spend an entire day or more checking this place out – it’s the country’s biggest cultural institution – with an astounding collection of ancient artifacts as well as present day artifacts and other art.  It’s most famous for the original Dead Sea Scrolls.

  • Day Trips Galore!

Jerusalem is a great centralized location for those of you who travel to Israel for medical treatment.  Aside from all the incredible things one can see, go, and do in Jerusalem don’t forget the Dead Sea is a short car ride away.  There are also the holy cities that are a must see (since you are already here) – Nazareth and Bethlehem.  Many describe the Judean Hills as stunning and home to many vineyards.

We can’t talk about Jerusalem without talking about the night life, the culture and yes the food!

Traveler after traveler as well as the many travel sites that talk about Jerusalem rave about the food.  It’s amazing, incredible and delicious.  The cuisine is created and made up by the many immigrants who have chosen to make Jerusalem their home.  From what we understand the Shawarma and Falafel are the best in the world here.  One can also dine in fine dining restaurant or be adventurous and try the incredible street food the streets of Jerusalem have to offer.

And last but not least – the night life baby!  Between the café’s, the hookah bars, or the many clubs – Jerusalem has something for everyone who is looking to relax and blow a little steam off.

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