- quality of health-care in Poland/UK. Based purely on our experiences we rate Polish hospitals better than those in the UK - which would you rather choose from - old equipment but well-staffed, or shiny new equipment and buildings and 1 doctor per 30 patients? Plus you can always bribe the doctors/nurses in Poland and get grade A care and attention.
- closeness of family/relatives. My wife wanted her parents near by, and mine are always happy to visit Poland
- her gynaecologist would be on hand. A good gynaecologist was recommended to my wife and she saw him privately through-out her pregnancy. So it made sense to have the birth at the hospital where he worked
- No fancy water births or anything "new age". Fathers have only been allowed to even attend births in the last couple of years here in Poland
- No caesareans on demand. I don't know what the rules are regarding caesarens in the UK but you can't pay or chose to have one in Poland. The doctor will organise one only if it is needed for medical reasons.
- Citizenship issues - do you need to have your child born in your home country for citizenship reasons? I am fully British so my children have the right to British citizenship regardless of where they are born (having checked with the British embassy)
On one hand I think it's a terrible shame that medical staff are corrupt. The NHS isn't perfect back home but I would never expect staff would take bribes. On the other hand it's great if you have the money that you can effectively 'buy' good service. When someone you love is ill, is suffering or is in this type of situation it's fantastic to have the power to do something about it rather than just complain that there aren't enough doctors.
After the birth the hospital automatically sends notfication of the birth to the office for civil affairs (Urząd Stanu Civilnego) in the town the birth occurred so it's important that the hospital has your details correctly recorded. You must go to this office within 14 days to take care of the paperwork. I don't know what happens if you don't, but according to my wife it's something very terrible. At this stage they produce a birth certificate which they permanently keep. They issue you with 3 copies of a summary version (transkrypt aktu urodzenia). If you need more copies (because everyone always wants to keep your originals) you have to go back to that office and buy more.
So I went to the USC within 14 days under fear of death. I filled out the form giving the parents details and the chosen names of our daughter. Because we are married they wanted our Polish marriage certificate. The girl in the office wasn't happy with this though because it is missing some information on it (because British marriage certificates don't have all the info that Polish ones do - see my blog article in the link). Short story is that she refused to issue me the documents. My wife had to call and complain to the manager. We had to explain that there is nothing wrong with the documents or our translations, it's because we got married in Britain etc.. etc.. Next day I went back and collected our documents.
I have heard stories that the manager of the USC has the right to reject your chosen name for your baby (is this why everyone in Poland seems to be called Mariusz or Kasia?). I was expecting a battle as to why our daughter's chosen middle name was of Welsh origin but nothing was said at all.