Magazine 2017
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
Twinkle Sanghavi  
The current paper makes an attempt to review the Indian scenario with regards to Medical tourism. It first  
explains how tourism has now moved away from its traditional meaning of holidaying and now includes  
holidays with medical care. The advances in technological shifts allows for patient mobility and the  
rapid advances in obtaining information from across the world through the internet helps individuals  
make better decisions regarding health care. The paper emphasizes the role of fertility tourism and  
describes how these health care travel programmes are packaged. It concludes with the roles of  
government, health care industry and travel industry in promoting fertility tourism.  
Keywords : Assistant Reproductive Technology, Surrogacy, diagnostic center, corporate hospital.  
Globalisation has cemented the way for many countries for opening their health system to greater cross-border  
movement of patients. Healthcare has become the most crucial and vital need in the present dynamic and  
stressful life.  
Healthcare facilities are not available everywhere, if available, facilities are provided at very expensive cost  
which cannot be afforded by all. The world population is aging and becoming more affluent at rates that  
surpass the availability of quality healthcare resources. In addition, out of pocket medical costs of critical and  
elective procedures continue to rise, while nations offering universal care and faced with ever-increasing resource  
burdens. These drivers are forcing patients to pursue cross-border healthcare options either to save money or  
to avoid long waits of treatment.  
This is where the concept of medical tourism emerges.  
Medical tourism can be defined as the process of travelling outside the country of residence for receiving  
medical care. Growth in the popularity of medical tourism has captured the attention of policy- makers,  
researchers and the media. Originally, the term referred to travel of patient from less- developed countries to  
developed nations in pursuit of the treatments not available in their homeland.  
Today we are experiencing both qualitative and quantitative shifts in patient mobility, as people travel from  
richer to less –developed countries in order to access health services. Such shift is mostly driven by the relative  
low cost of treatment in less developed nations, the availability of inexpensive flights and increased marketing  
and online consumer information about the availability of medical services.  
What really puts the word “Tourism’ in medical tourism concept is that people often stay in the foreign country  
after the medical procedure. Travellers can thus take the advantage of their visit by sightseeing, taking day trip  
or participating in any other traditional tourism activities.  
Medical Tourism in India  
It is estimated that worldwide tourism is growing at a rate of 15-25% with rates highest in North, Southeast and  
South Asia. The Indian medical tourism is expected to reach $6 billion by end of 2018, with the number of  
people arriving to India. India is one of the first countries to recognise the potential of medical tourism and  
today is leading destination for global medical tourists.  
Medical tourism in India is one of the best options available to people across the globe. Millions come every  
year to get treated and then enjoy their recuperative holidays across India. People from different occupations  
cutting across the entire span of the globe come to India to have their treatments done with peace of mind.  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
India provides world class medical facilities with hospitals and specialized multi-speciality health centres providing  
their expertise in the areas of cosmetic surgery, dental care, heart surgeries, coronary bypass, heart check- up,  
valve replacements, knee replacements, eye surgeries, Indian traditional treatment like ayurveda therapies and  
much more, practically covering every aspects of medicine combining modern treatments with traditional  
experience. India is placed among the top three medial tourism destinations in Asia, mainly due to the low-  
cost of treatment, quality health - care infrastructure and availability of highly skilled doctors.  
Top speciality for medical travellers in India:  
Cosmetic surgery  
Weight loss  
Scan, tests, health screening and second opinions  
Reproductive (fertility, IVF, Women’s health)  
Reproductive Tourism/ Fertility Tourism  
India is becoming the outstanding player in the global industry of reproductive tourism, in which infertile  
people across international borders inquire about Assistant Reproductive Technology (ART).  
As an integral part of the growing medical industry, the fertility industry is slated to bring in additional revenue.  
Although there are no accurate figures for the number of individuals who travel to India for ARTs, including  
Surrogacy is an arrangement between a women and a couple or individual to carry and deliver a baby. Women  
or couples who choose surrogacy often do so because they are unable to conceive due to missing or abnormal  
uterus, have experienced multiple pregnancy losses, or have had multiple in vitro fertilization attempts that  
have failed.  
It is estimated that the surrogacy business alone is worth$6 billion. ART clinic are no longer concentrated in  
metropolitan and big cities, but are also appearing in smaller towns and cities that otherwise lack even basic  
civic amenities and necessary health care facilities. The ‘phenomenal growth’ of this sector is also demonstrated  
by the fact that the international umbrella organisation for infertility consumers, the international Consumer  
Support for Infertility.  
The ARTs industry is pegged on the movement of babies, reproductive body parts and women’s caring and  
reproductive labour, both as egg donors and surrogates from one country to another, resulting in the ‘globalisation  
of motherhood’ which impacts both women who mother and those who enable others to do so.  
The main reasons for fertility tourism are legal prohibitions or regulations of the sought procedure in the home  
country, as well as lower costs in the destination country.  
Promotion of Fertility Tourism  
To promote the fertility industry specially the surrogacy the marketing is done in various ways on net some of  
the analysis is given below-  
The tag lines that one can scroll down on net are  
“First world treatment at third world price”  
XYZ “ We have combined out medical package with travel to Bikaner, a city in Rajasthan, India “ what  
more you wish if your treatment is combined with fun and pleasure.”  
“ Infertile?  
No problem!  
Fly to India,  
Enjoy the sun, sea and the exotic country side.....  
And have a baby too.  
World class facilities, world class doctors, 1//4 Cost, no legal Hurdle,  
..and we speak English too!”  
Hope for the Childless Couples  
Where hope turns into reality  
Having a child is not a dream anymore  
We are LGBT friendly Clinic etc.  
Royal Package include following services:  
Person= 1 patient and 2 accompanying person. For every extra day, you will be charged as per package  
Airport Pick-up and drop at airport after your treatment by our executive.  
One company executive will accompany you from arrival till departure.  
Total appointment and co- ordination of  
Diagnostic centres  
Arrangement for operation theatre if required  
Provisions for all medicines  
Travel assistant like air ticketing, reservation, arrangement with private tour operator if you are interested.  
Indian foods like Muglai, South Indian, Sea food & Seasonal Fruits.  
Visit to shopping malls for shopping and visit to multiplex theatre for entertainment if required  
Laundry arrangements  
Transportation by A/C station wagon car, with driver till your treatment.  
Cell phone will be provided by the company to you along with all emergency telephone no & should be  
return before your departure back home. (You pay as you talk bases.)  
0. Five star hotel accommodation or 3 bedroom, hall furnished apartment with A/C.  
1. Pre-treatment or post- treatment, sightseeing by road or by rails to Goa (well- known beaches) Ajanta and  
Ellora (Historical place). Panchgani and Mahabaleshwar (Hill stations) as time permits and for as many  
days possible.  
0% discount only on service charge for any extra patient.  
Favourable Environment for Fertility Tourism  
India has many advantages.  
Coast advantage  
Hospitals equipped with international standards  
Most of the Indian doctors and staff has world class exposure  
Fluent English which is connecting language globally  
Many exotic tourist point  
Centre for Yoga and ayurveda  
Cheap labour  
A1 treatment to foreigners  
Booming of fertility Industry  
Uneducated woman’s  
Lack of legal procedures etc.  
Challenges faced by the Fertility Tourism.  
No strong Government Support to promote Fertility Tourism  
Lack of co-ordination among various players in the industry- airline operator, hotels and hospitals  
The negative perception about India with regard to public sanitation, hygiene, standards or prevalence of  
contagious diseases  
No proper accreditation and regulation system for hospitals  
Lack of uniform pricing policy across hospitals  
International Peer-Reviewed Journal  
Strong competition from many other players  
Lack of insurance policies for this sector  
Though India’s booming commercial surrogacy tourism is on the point of collapse after government plans to  
introduce new regulation banning foreigners from hiring Indian surrogates  
In October 2015, Indian embassies stopped issuing medical visas allowing foreigners to enter the country for  
the purposes of hiring a surrogate mother. The Indian Council of Medical Research has also banned clinics from  
offering such services to foreigners.  
What was a $2.3 billion industry will collapse. The government says that the lack of a legal framework has  
allowed surrogates to be under paid and exploited by clinics, which charge between $25,000 and $50,000 for  
the safe delivery of a baby. Surrogates get between $4,000 and $6,500 from foreign couples and between  
3,000 and $5,000 from Indian couples.  
There are certain ways in which the healthy medical tourism can be promoted and they are  
The Role of Government:-  
The government of India must act as a regulator to institute a uniform grading and accreditation for hospitals  
to build consumer trust it should also act as facilator to encourage private investment in medical infrastructure  
and in policy making for improving medical tourism the government should reduce beerier in getting  
medical visa for patients  
Holistic medical end diagnostic centre within the corporate hospitals:-  
Most of the big tertiary hospitals are opening up holistic centres within the premises with yoga and meditation  
programmes along with naturopathy,herbal medicines and homeopathy departments  
Setting up National level bodies:-  
To market India’s specialised health care products in the world and also address the various issues  
confronting the corporate health care sector leading private hospitals across the country are planning to  
set up national level body on the lines of National Association Of Software and Service Companies.  
References :  
Anupama Sharma (2013) “ Medical Tourism :Emerging Challenges and Future Prospects”. International  
Journal of Business and Management intervention Volume 2,PP.21-23  
C.Gobalakrishnan (2015)”Sociology of Medical Tourism”,MJP Publishers Chennai.  
Bookman, M. & Bookman, K. (2007). “Medical Tourism in Developing Countires”, New York, NY: Palgrave  
Baski Ajay, Verma, A.K (2013) Domestic Medical Tourism in India: some facts. Journal of Hospitality  
Management and Tourism. Vol.4(2), pp. 2958  
Annette B. Ramírez de Arellano, .Patients Without Borders: The Emergence of Medical Tourism. 37  
International Journal Of Health Services 193(2007).  
Assistant Professor, Dept. of Sociology, Maniben Nanavati Women’s College