Thailand has always been known for its medical tourism trade, from those seeking gender reassignment surgery to those looking for cheap dental treatments, Thailand offers it all in terms of a medical tourism destination. However, in recent years there has been a large shift in focus from two very specific nationalities for a single kind of treatment. That would be IVF gender selection and the two groups flocking to Thailand for this service are Chinese and Indian nationalities. They each have their own very specific reasons for wanting to explore these options outside their home countries.
Whether it be a cultural or more practical reason for wanting to pre-determine the outcome of their children, these groups have a renewed interest in Thailand for gender selection services due to the relative distance between the countries, however, there are far more complicated reasons for these two nationalities, as we will explore in this article.
For many years in China, the government had mandated that couples be restricted to having just one child. However you view this rule, this has now been abolished within China and with the newfound freedom to have more than one child, many citizens are now facing the prospect of having far more control over their family planning and as many do, they have a very specific idea of what they want their family to look like.
With many in the culture leaning towards wanting more male members of the family as they are considered to be able to work and provide for their parents and extended family after they are married to their future partners. While this is an old fashioned view that is rapidly changing with China’s modernization, it is still a considerable factor.
One of the more pressing issues for Chinese nationals looking for IVF and gender selection in China is a lack of quality, reputable fertility clinics and providers of IVF. Oftentimes in China, individual clients are seen for just 10 minutes, which leads to some of the lowest success rates for IVF in the world. With this being the predominant subject discussed by Chinese nationals researching the subject at home, a holiday in Thailand where they enjoy reasonably priced and high-quality treatment is a far more attractive prospect for most. With the success rates for individuals being so low with domestic providers, the money spent on a holiday in Thailand with only 4 sessions could also end up being cheaper than changing it on a local provider.
Also, the perceived distrust of local Chinese medical facilities is another reason Chinese nationals look abroad for this service. Many feel that in order to get high-quality medical treatment, it is essential to travel abroad. This stretches to everything from dental work to plastic surgery and, as in this instance, fertility treatments.
The reasons for Indian nationals to seek IVF and gender selection treatment in Bangkok is far more straightforward. Gender selection treatment Is actually illegal in India, with people desiring this kind of service needs to search outside their own domestic borders. At an average of around $8500 US across the city without factoring in flights and accommodation, the option is by no means cheap and it is mostly upper class and upper-middle-class Indian people coming for this service. The main motivation for most Indian nationals is to produce a male heir. It is something of a fascination in Indian culture to have a strong male heir that the father can pass on the mantle as head of the family to. Somebody he knows will be able to take care of him and the rest of the family when he is no longer able to. While guaranteeing this with IVF for baby boys is impossible in India, no such laws exist in Thailand.
Indian nationals deciding to pursue this kind of treatment also have to face cultural stigma from their families back at home. In Hindu culture, they have very strict rules about childbirth and prying too heavily into the natural process of creating new life. Many Indian nationals traveling to Bangkok do it without the permission or knowledge of their families, and in this respect, a medical holiday to Thailand is the perfect cover story that allows them to pursue this course of treatment freely without fear of being judged by those back home. Most Indian people who try IVF treatments to ensure a baby boy will enjoy both the end result and a fantastic holiday in Thailand as well as enjoying a significantly higher quality of medical care than those found back in India.
Ultimately the choice for these two groups to travel to Thailand specifically is largely based on distance, but there is also the strong argument to be made that on top of the individual cultural or legal reasons we explored earlier, a holiday in Thailand is both cheaper and, for most, a more enjoyable experience than say, traveling to the UK or USA for their fertility treatments. In response to this new demand, many new providers have also set up shop in Bangkok in order to profit from it. So it is even more important for these groups to find a trustworthy and professional clinic to explore their options with.
Ultimately, the likelihood is that until a proper fertility treatment industry develops within China, and India reaches its laws on IVF and Gender selection therapy, ultimately the situation which started as a small trend will most likely continue into the foreseeable future. So both the industry and other sectors of Thailand’s economy can expect to feel a generous boom in terms of both profit and visitor numbers.
However as this demand grows so will the cost and in the future, the domestic industry here in Thailand will have to ensure that they remain competitive price wise to countries like Singapore and Hong Kong, who also hold excellent reputations for this kind of treatment.