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Keywords:

  • reproductive technologies;
  • fertility;
  • medical tourism;
  • Argentina;
  • private clinics;
  • regulation

ABSTRACT

A subcategory of medical tourism, reproductive tourism has been the subject of much public and policy debate in recent years. Specific concerns include: the exploitation of individuals and communities, access to needed health care services, fair allocation of limited resources, and the quality and safety of services provided by private clinics. To date, the focus of attention has been on the thriving medical and reproductive tourism sectors in Asia and Eastern Europe; there has been much less consideration given to more recent ‘players’ in Latin America, notably fertility clinics in Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina. In this paper, we examine the context-specific ethical and policy implications of private Argentinean fertility clinics that market reproductive services via the internet. Whether or not one agrees that reproductive services should be made available as consumer goods, the fact is that they are provided as such by private clinics around the world. We argue that basic national regulatory mechanisms are required in countries such as Argentina that are marketing fertility services to local and international publics. Specifically, regular oversight of all fertility clinics is essential to ensure that consumer information is accurate and that marketed services are safe and effective. It is in the best interests of consumers, health professionals and policy makers that the reproductive tourism industry adopts safe and responsible medical practices.