Updated: Sep 29, 2019
Medical tourism has been around for a long time. The first recorded instance of people travelling for medical treatment dates back thousands of years to when Greek pilgrims travelled from the eastern Mediterranean to a small area in the Saronic Gulf, called Epidauria.
Later, during the 18th Century, wealthy Europeans would visit spas abroad, because their supposedly health-giving mineral waters were able to treat diseases from gout to liver disorders and bronchitis.
In recent times, the factors that have led to the increasing popularity of medical travel have diversified and differ from one country to another: the high cost of health care, the long waiting times for certain procedures, the ease and affordability of international travel, but also improvements in both technology and standards of care in many countries.
For example, the leading factor for medical tourism from the UK is the desire to avoid the huge waiting times, whereas in the United States, the main reason is cheaper prices abroad.
A liver transplant in the USA costs around 300.000 USD. In France the price is about 100.000 euros.
In USA, the price of an In Vitro Fertilisation cycle costs anywhere over 10-12.000 USD, and this doesn't include the cost of medication. In France, the total price for an IVF cycle, in a top-notch private hospital, fertility meds included costs 5000 euro tops.
With France being ranked No1 in medical assistance by the World Health Organization, there is no wonder patients come from abroad looking for great healthcare, better prices, no waiting times, while also enjoying a nice trip, lovely food and amazing accommodation.
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