Responsibilities of departure country physicians in case of cross-border fertility tourism

The patient usually consults with several sources to obtain information about the clinical set-up, ethical and social circumstances of the destination country before departure from the home country for fertility treatment. When patient obtains guidance from their physicians to whom they discuss their fertility issues about the selection of the destination countries will be beneficial for them. The following are some general responsibilities of the physician of departure country for the successful outcome of cross border fertility traveling.

Share the potential advantages of cross border fertility treatment

The general rule of medical practice is to deal with patients as autonomous individuals, which means healthcare practitioners share all the health-related information honestly and openly. In the ethical aspect, patient autonomy can be expressed by the inclusion of informed consent. The physician should provide all the information and necessary understanding of their diagnostic test report along with available treatment options. Besides this, the physician should also discuss the risk-benefit ratio of the available treatments, so that patients can know every possible treatment option and take their decision depending upon the acquired knowledge.

If a patient asks about the cross border fertility treatment to their physician, then ethically he must not misguide them about this option. He must take initiative to collect more information if he has the provision to do so and share all the acquired knowledge with the patients. Also, a physician must disclose any conflict of interest including financial advantage in an international ART program.

Disclosure of risk and benefits of cross border fertility treatment

The physician must disclose the risk and benefits of suggested treatment during the inform consent. But when a patient asks their home-based physician about the treatment option available out of country ART set-up, then it does not come under the treatment consultation. Therefore, departure country doctors not bound to tell about the risk-benefit of such treatment options. A departure country physician has no independent duty to explore the risks or benefits of treatment abroad. But the physician can share their opinion about the merit and demerit of the cross border reproductive care. In this context, he should clear to their patients whether they just provide the information or they recommend guidance to them. The physician should not pass on misinformation or false information to the patients about the cross border fertility treatment.

Depart country physicians should provide information material about the treatment options available in cross-broader during the discussion with the patient. This helps the patient to understand the authenticity of the information and also in decision making. There should not be any knowledge gap when they depart country physician recommends any cross border fertility treatment option.

Resuming Patient care after receiving cross-broader reproductive care

The mutual understanding between patient and departure country usually works to resume the treatment. But the concern arises when patients return to their home country when they do not have proper documentation about the treatment they received there. Depart country physician bound to resume treatment for patients with whom he has a contractual agreement to treat them after they return from cross broader fertility travel. But the physician is free to decide about the accepting or declining any patients with whom he has not such contractual agreement.

The ethical concern of destination country physicians

Destination country physicians should follow the standards governing informed consent procedures to treat all the traveling patients. If any patient requests some service that is illegal in the country, then the physician must avoid such practice and not even help the patient to avail such service by following circumvention tourism. The physician has to inform the treatment information accurately to the patient and provide high-quality medical care. The duty of the destination country physicians does not include disclosure of any nonmedical information. In short, destination country physicians should not play a role as a legal advisor of the patient. Doing such activity is considered as unlawful.

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