What you need to know about In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) in Thailand

In order for a pregnancy to occur naturally the ovary releases an egg at ovulation which travels through the Fallopian tube where it meets the sperm and is then fertilised. The fertilised egg enters the uterine cavity where it implants in the thickened lining of the uterus (the endometrium).                                             

Through IVF treatment(In vitro fertilisation), the ovaries are stimulated to produce a number of eggs which are then collected and mixed with sperm in the laboratory; this then allows fertilisation to occur. The developing embryos are monitored closely and the healthiest embryos are then transferred into the uterus to allow implantation to occur.

MyMediTravel offers 71 Medical Centers in Thailand, with a few offering In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) procedures - see below for the complete list, along with estimated prices. There can be many factors affecting the price of IVF, for a bespoke quote and to discuss further with a member of our patient support team, Click Here for a Free Quote.

Phases of IVF

The basic IVF technique can differ from clinic to clinic, but a typical treatment is as follows.

For Women

Step one: suppressing the natural monthly cycle

You are given a drug to suppress your natural cycle. This is given either as a daily injection (which is normally self-administered) or a nasal spray. You continue this for about two weeks.

Step two: boosting the egg supply

After your natural cycle is suppressed, you are given a fertility hormone called FSH (follicle stimulating hormone). This is usually taken as a daily injection for around 12 days. It will increase the number of eggs you produce, so more eggs can be fertilised. With more fertilised eggs, the clinic has a greater choice of embryos to use in your treatment.

Step three: checking on progress

The clinic will monitor your progress throughout the drug treatment. This is done by vaginal ultrasound scans and possibly blood tests. You will have a hormone injection to help your eggs mature 34-38 hours before your eggs are due to be collected.

Step four: collecting the eggs

Eggs are usually collected by ultrasound guidance under sedation. This involves a needle being inserted through the vagina and into each ovary. The eggs are then collected through the needle.

Cramping and a small amount of vaginal bleeding can occur after the procedure.

Step five: fertilising the eggs

Your eggs are mixed with your partner's or the donor's sperm and cultured in the laboratory for 16-20 hours. They are then checked to see if any have been fertilised.

If the sperm are few or weak, each egg may need to be injected individually with a single sperm. This is called intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection (see below).

The cells that have been fertilised (embryos) are grown in the laboratory incubator for one to four days before being transferred. The best one or two embryos will be chosen for transfer.

After egg collection, you are given medication to help prepare the lining of the womb for embryo transfer. This is given as a pessary (placed inside the vagina), an injection or a gel applied to the skin.

Step six: embryo transfer

For women under the age of 40, one or two embryos can be transferred. If you are 40 or over, a maximum of three can be used.

The number of embryos is restricted because of the risks associated with multiple births.  

Some clinics may also offer blastocyst transfer, where the fertilised eggs are left to mature for five to six days and then transferred.

 


For Men

Around the time your partner's eggs are collected, you are asked to produce a fresh sample of sperm. The sperm are washed and spun at a high speed, so the healthiest and most active sperm can be selected.

If you are using donated sperm, it is removed from frozen storage, thawed and prepared in the same way.


Results

About 12 days to two weeks after egg retrieval, your doctor will test a sample of your blood to detect whether you're pregnant.                                                               

If you're pregnant, your doctor will refer you to an obstetrician or other pregnancy specialist for prenatal care.

If you're not pregnant, you'll stop taking progesterone and likely get your period within a week. If you don't get your period or you have unusual bleeding, contact your doctor. If you're interested in attempting another cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF), your doctor might suggest steps you can take to improve your chances of getting pregnant through IVF.


Counselling

Undergoing IVF can be emotionally and physically draining. It is important that couples are offered counselling where appropriate, for example to understand the implications of treatment or for support at a critical time (for example, if an IVF cycle has failed).

It is generally recommended that counselling should be offered before, during and after IVF treatment (regardless of the outcome of the procedures) by someone who is not directly involved in the management of the couple's fertility problems. 


Additional factors to consider:

1. Recovery and Risk:  After the embryo transfer, you can resume your normal daily activities. However, your ovaries may still be enlarged. Consider avoiding vigorous activity, which could cause discomfort. Typical side effects include:

  • Passing a small amount of clear or bloody fluid shortly after the procedure — due to the swabbing of the cervix before the embryo transfer.
  • Breast tenderness due to high estrogen levels.
  • Mild bloating.
  • Mild cramping.
  • Constipation.

If you develop moderate or severe pain after the embryo transfer, contact your doctor. He or she will evaluate you for complications such as infection, twisting of an ovary (ovarian torsion) and severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.

2. Specific steps of an in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycle carry risks, including:

  • Multiple births. IVF increases the risk of multiple births if more than one embryo is implanted in your uterus. A pregnancy with multiple fetuses carries a higher risk of early labor and low birth weight than pregnancy with a single fetus.
  • Premature delivery and low birth weight. Research suggests that use of IVF slightly increases the risk that a baby will be born early or with a low birth weight.
  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. Use of injectable fertility drugs, such as Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG), to induce ovulation can cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, in which your ovaries become swollen and painful. Signs and symptoms typically last a week and include mild abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. If you become pregnant, however, your symptoms might last several weeks. Rarely, it's possible to develop a more-severe form of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome that can also cause rapid weight gain and shortness of breath.
  • Miscarriage. The rate of miscarriage for women who conceive using IVF with fresh embryos is similar to that of women who conceive naturally — about 15 to 25 percent — but the rate increases with maternal age. Use of frozen embryos during IVF, however, may slightly increase the risk of miscarriage.
  • Egg-retrieval procedure complications. Use of an aspirating needle to collect eggs could possibly cause bleeding, infection or damage to the bowel, bladder or a blood vessel. Risks are also associated with general anesthesia, if used.
  • Ectopic pregnancy. About 2 to 5 percent of women who use IVF will have an ectopic pregnancy — when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. The fertilized egg can't survive outside the uterus, and there's no way to continue the pregnancy.
  • Birth defects. The age of the mother is the primary risk factor in the development of birth defects, no matter how the baby is conceived. More research is needed to determine whether babies conceived using IVF might be at increased risk of certain birth defects. Some experts believe that the use of IVF does not increase the risk of having a baby with birth defects.
  • Ovarian cancer. Although some early studies suggested there may be a link between certain medications used to stimulate egg growth and the development of a specific type of ovarian tumor, more recent studies do not support these findings.

3. Success rate: The success rate of IVF is determined to a large degree by the age of the woman undergoing the treatment. Younger women tend to have healthier eggs, which increases the chances of success. The rate of miscarriage and birth defects increases with age of the woman undergoing IVF treatment.

4. Patient reviews: The vast majority of patients are very pleased with the level of professionalism and emotionally support with the entire process leading up to and following all Treatments.

5. For an in-depth understanding and more information on how IVF works, watch this short video.


About Thailand

Thailand leads the way for Asian countries with over 60 state-of-the-art JCI accredited facilities and consistently voted one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. It's known for its tropical beaches, floating markets, stunning royal palaces and Buddhist temples. In Bangkok, the capital, an ultramodern cityscape rises with brand new high-rise condominium developments next to quiet canal side communities. According to the Tourism Authority of Thailand, the most popular tourist areas outside of Bangkok are Phuket, Koh Samui, Chiang Mai, Hua Hin and Pattaya, all with great yacht chartering opportunities.

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