How Much Is the IVF Treatment for Couples with Fertility issues?
For many couples, starting a family is a dream they hope will come true. Unfortunately, not everyone can conceive naturally. This is where I believe, In-vitro fertilisation (IVF) becomes a viable option. IVF has been around for many years and has helped millions of couples achieve their dreams to get pregnant and have a child. However, a common question that arises is “how much is the IVF treatment?”, but before getting into the details of the costing or price, I think it is important to first understand the essentials of the IVF treatment.
What is IVF Treatment?
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a fertility treatment that involves fertilising an egg with a sperm outside of the womb in a laboratory dish, after which the resulting embryo is transferred back into the womb. Typically, IVF is used when other methods of conception, like Intrauterine insemination (IUI), have failed. It is often considered the last resort for couples trying to conceive. The IVF procedure starts with the use of fertility drugs to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, which are then harvested and fertilised with sperm in a laboratory. After fertilisation, the resulting embryos are monitored to track their development before being transferred into the womb, where they implant and develop into a healthy pregnancy.
Who can benefit from IVF treatment?
IVF is suggested for couples facing severe infertility problem. Some of the problems include:
- Fallopian tube blockage
Fallopian tube blockage can prevent the sperm from reaching the egg, making it difficult to conceive naturally. IVF can bypass this fertility problem as it would not involve the fallopian tube during fertilisation. It works by retrieving the eggs from the ovaries and fertilising them with sperm in the lab. The resulting embryos can then be transferred to the uterus.
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS can make it difficult for women to ovulate regularly due to imbalance in hormone level. It may be caused by the increased level in testosterone, luteinising hormone (LH) or from having insulin resistance. These problems can make the conception more challenging. IVF can help by using medication to stimulate ovulation and retrieving the eggs for fertilisation in the lab.
Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of it, sometimes in the fallopian tubes, and can cause pain and affect fertility. For couples with endometriosis, IVF can be an option because it bypasses the need for the sperm and egg to meet in the fallopian tubes, which may be affected by the condition.
- Uterine fibroids
Uterine fibroids are growths that can develop in the uterus and affect fertility. Depending on the size and location of the fibroids, they can interfere with the implantation of a fertilised egg. IVF can help by transferring the fertilised eggs directly into the uterus.
- Problems in sperm production or function
Men having problems with sperm production or function indicates fertility problems. The problem in sperm includes low sperm count, sperm with poor motility or abnormally sized sperm. If any of these problems are found during a sperm analysis, then IVF may be suggested.
Alternative options for fertility treatment besides IVF.
IVF is not the only option for couples struggling with fertility problems. There are other fertility treatments available that may be less invasive and costly. Before knowing how much is the IVF treatment, get to know the other alternative options that can also aid fertility problems. Some of the alternative treatments besides IVF include:
– Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
IUI involves placing washed sperm directly into the womb. IUI treatment begins with monitoring the woman’s natural menstrual cycle to determine the optimal time for the procedure. Sperm is then collected, washed and concentrated in the laboratory. The concentrated sperm is then inserted into the uterus lining using a thin catheter. This process increases the chances of the sperm reaching and fertilising the egg, resulting in a successful pregnancy. IUI treatment is often used in cases of unexplained infertility or when the male partner has a low sperm count or mobility. It is also suggested by doctors for women who have mild fertility problems such as mild endometriosis.
– Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
ICSI is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that can be used to treat male infertility factors, such as low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or abnormal sperm shape. ICSI involves the injection of a single sperm directly into the cytoplasm of the egg using a specialized pipette, bypassing the natural barriers to fertilization. The fertilized egg, now called an embryo, is then cultured in a laboratory for a few days before being transferred into the woman’s uterus. ICSI has been shown to be an effective treatment option for couples experiencing male infertility factors, as well as for those with unexplained infertility or other fertility issues.
How much is the IVF Treatment?
The cost of undergoing IVF treatment can vary significantly and is influenced by several factors, including medical history and the clinic chosen to perform the procedure. In Malaysia, the average cost of a single cycle of IVF treatment ranges between RM 14,000 to RM 25,000, with some reputable clinics charging up to RM 25,000 per cycle. Additionally, medications or other procedures may incur additional fees depending on your specific fertility problem. Couples may require multiple treatment cycles before achieving a successful pregnancy, so it’s important to consult with a doctor and understand the personalized cost of treatment.
Fortunately, financial assistance is available to those who may struggle to afford IVF treatment. I often advise my patients to explore government programs, insurance coverage, or financial assistance programs related to fertility treatments. I believe that you can determine the best course of action to pursue your dream of starting a family.by gathering enough information and speaking with your doctor regarding your condition.
Financial Aid in Malaysia
Many families do crowd-funding where grandparents, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins come together to pool resources for a couple to undergo fertility treatment, notwithstanding the number of cycles it may or could take. In other cases, couples dipped into their life savings, took out personal loans and used credit services. It might seem like people are taking such extreme measures to finance fertility treatments.
The Malaysian Government has stepped in to provide an alternative to finance fertility treatments in the latest development. Couples can now fund In-Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) treatments by withdrawing from their Employee Provident Fund (EPF). This decision, though, comes from a deeper concern. According to figures released by the Department of Statistics, the fertility rate in 2019 was 1.8 babies per woman (down from 1.9 babies in 2017) and a drastic decline from 4.87 in 1970. In broader terms, this implies that the number of children produced by a woman during her reproductive years is insufficient to replace herself and her partner, a clear and present sign that dropping fertility rates threaten national productivity.
To couples battling infertility, the option to take from their EPF savings is a much-welcomed move. However, this does not alleviate the fact that addressing infertility can be as complicated as it is straightforward. There are no shortcuts to treating infertility, and I choose to stay with proven methods that bring the best results. For over a decade, I have journeyed with hundreds of couples to build a family, but despite the best prognosis, we have had our fair share of ‘-ve’ results. Thus, it gives me no pleasure to caution that at the end of the day, there is no guarantee; and if one is to cash out one’s retirement fund, one must do so with eyes wide open.
EPF Withdrawal Financial Aid
That said, the EPF Withdrawal for IVF option is a move in the right direction. There are no limits set as to how much one can withdraw. Legally married couples below the age of 55 years can apply to withdraw from their Account 2 savings for the following fertility treatment(s):-
• Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
• In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)
• Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
The process of reimbursement is fairly straightforward and one that we will assist with. However, it is better for couples to enquire and/or discuss with EPF and clear doubts before proceeding with financial aid.
Preparing for IVF treatment can be a daunting process, but with adequate preparation and care, it can be a successful journey. It’s crucial to find out “how much is the IVF treatment” as it plays a significant role in deciding whether to proceed with the treatment or not. Consulting with your doctor and conducting thorough research can help you make an informed decision. By following the necessary steps, you can improve your chances of success and effectively manage your expenses. It’s essential to maintain a positive mindset, prioritize self-care, and seek support whenever needed throughout the process.
Watch this short video to find out about different types of fertility treatment options available nowadays that you can opt for depending on your financial situation and ways to subsidize the cost so that it can be helpful for you to plan the financial aspects of your fertility journey : Planning Fertility Treatment Budget
This blog is intended for educational purposes only. All contents here is general in nature and does not take into account your personal circumstances. Please consult with your health care professional to ensure you get the right diagnosis and treatment.