Are you and your partner trying to conceive but struggling with fertility issues? Do not worry because you are not alone. Many couples face barriers when trying to conceive, but with advancements in technology, there are multiple ways to start a family. One of the most popular options is In-vitro Fertilisation (IVF), which is a procedure that has helped many couples achieve their dream of parenthood. However, it’s important to have a good understanding of the IVF procedure before deciding if it’s the right fertility treatment for you. Here are some commonly asked questions for couples considering IVF in Malaysia. 

  1.   What is IVF?

IVF is a medical procedure involving fertilising eggs outside the women’s body and transferring them back into the womb. The eggs will be surgically removed and placed in a laboratory dish. Then, the sperm from the male partner will be inserted into the egg for fertilisation. After a few days, the fertilised egg will be transferred back into the womb to achieve pregnancy.

  1.   How does IVF work?

There are several medical procedures involved to help a couple overcome fertility problems. The entire procedure may take about 4 to 6 weeks.  Generally, the IVF procedure consists of the following:

  • Ovarian stimulation – In this first step of IVF, a woman is given hormonal medication to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. The medication would increase the chances of obtaining matured egg for fertilisation. The doctor will continue monitoring the woman’s hormone levels occasionally. Then, the doctor will perform ultrasound scans to track the growth and development of the eggs.
  • Egg retrieval- Once the eggs have matured, they are surgically removed from the woman’s ovaries. Usually, the woman will be under general anaesthesia during this process. Then, a transvaginal ultrasound-guided needle is used to aspirate the fluid from the follicles that contain the eggs. The fluid will then be sent to the IVF lab.
  • Sperm collection – The male partner is asked to provide a semen sample on the same day as the egg retrieval. The laboratory will then process it to obtain the healthiest and most motile sperm.
  • Fertilisation – The retrieved eggs and the processed sperm are combined in a laboratory dish and placed in an incubator to allow fertilisation. The fertilisation process can take several hours, depending on the quality of the eggs and the sperm.
  • Embryo transfer – The final IVF step involved transferring the selected embryos into the woman’s womb. It is usually done under ultrasound guidance, using a thin catheter to place the embryos into the womb through the cervix. The woman will then need to wait about two weeks to see if the embryos have been implanted. Successful implantation will result in pregnancy.
  1.   Who can undergo IVF?

IVF is recommended for couples trying to conceive for more than six months or a year without success. It can also be suggested for couples with certain fertility problems like Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), damaged or blocked fallopian tubes, low sperm count and other severe fertility problems.

  1.   Is IVF painful?

IVF is generally not considered a painful process. However, depending on person to person, it can be discomforting and painful. Some women may experience mild discomfort during the egg retrieval process, which can be typically managed through pain medication and general anaesthesia. After egg retrieval, they may experience side effects like headaches and mood swings. It is best to consult the doctor to help manage discomfort and ensure you are as comfortable as possible.  

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  1.   How successful is IVF in Malaysia?

According to Malaysia Travel Healthcare Council, Malaysia recorded a 65% success rate for its IVF treatment in 2017, compared to the global average rate of 50%. It is important to note that IVF success rates can vary significantly depending on the clinic and each couple’s circumstances. Some clinics may have higher success rates due to their expertise, experience and use of advanced techniques and technologies. Thus, it is important to research and choose the clinic for a successful IVF.

  1.   How many cycles of IVF are needed to achieve pregnancy?

The number of IVF cycles varies from person to person. Some couples may conceive after only one cycle, while others may require multiple cycles. For women under 35, the success rate of IVF is generally higher, and it is possible to achieve pregnancy within one to three cycles. However, for women over 35 years old, the chances may decline, and it may take several cycles of IVF to achieve a successful pregnancy. IVF can be emotionally and financially stressful, and some couples may choose to stop after several unsuccessful cycles. However, do not give up. Always consult and discuss your options and pregnancy chances with your fertility doctor.

  1.   What is the cost of IVF in Malaysia?

IVF treatment costs differ according to the hospitals or clinics and the specific services required. On average, a single cycle of IVF can be around RM 14 000 to RM 25 000. Certain fertility problems may require additional medication or procedures, increasing the overall cost. It is best to consult the doctor to determine the best option for your fertility problem.

  1.   Are there any financial assistance available for couples facing financial problems?

The Malaysian government provide an alternative to finance fertility treatment. Couples can now fund IVF treatment through withdrawal from their Employee Provided Fund (EPF). Legally married couples below 55 can now apply from their Account 2 savings for fertility treatments such as IVF, Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). There is no limit as to how much a couple can withdraw. However, it is important for couples to clear their doubts regarding EPF before proceeding with financial aid. 

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msx5mrCQUa8&t=3s

  1.   Can IVF be combined with other treatments?

IVF can be combined with other treatments to increase the chance of successful pregnancies. Some of the treatments include:

  • ICSI – ICSI is a technique involving injecting a single sperm directly into the egg. This treatment is suggested for male partners with fertility problems like low sperm count or poor sperm motility. ICSI is commonly done together with IVF to increase the chances of fertilisation.
  • Pre-implantation Genetic Testing (PGT) – PGT is a procedure that can be done on embryos before they are implanted to check for any genetic abnormalities. It helps to reduce the risk of genetic problems passing to the child. PGT can be performed alongside IVF for healthier implantation.

It is important to know that these treatments are optional and may not be suitable or necessary for every couple. It is usually recommended by the doctor based on the couple’s circumstances.

  1.   Is IVF a guarantee of a healthy pregnancy?

IVF does not guarantee a healthy pregnancy but can increase the chances of a successful pregnancy. There are still risks of complications during pregnancy. Some of these include:

  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome- It is a condition that can occur due to ovarian stimulation during an IVF procedure. It happens when the ovaries become swollen and painful, leading to symptoms like bloating, abdominal pain and shortness of breath. It can cause fluid build-up in the abdomen and chest in severe cases. 
  • Multiple pregnancies – IVF can increase the chances of multiple pregnancies, such as twins or triplets. It can increase the risk of pregnancy and childbirth complications such as premature delivery, low birth weight and developmental delays.

Not all couples undergoing IVF would face these problems. The likelihood of experiencing this can vary according to factors like age, underlying medical conditions, and more. It is important to discuss the potential risks with the doctor to prepare alternative methods for a successful and healthy pregnancy.

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  1.   Are there alternative treatments to IVF in Malaysia?

There are a few alternative treatments, although the effectiveness of these treatments can vary depending on the couple’s fertility problem. Some of the alternatives include:

  • IUI – IUI involves placing sperm directly into the womb during ovulation to increase the chances of fertilisation. It is less invasive than IVF but may not be as effective for couples with fertility problems like poor sperm health.
  • Lifestyle changes – making lifestyle changes such as losing weight, reducing alcohol consumption, quitting smoking and increasing healthy diet and exercise can increase the chances of natural conception.
  1.   Are there any emotional support available during the IVF process?

Prioritising emotional well-being during the IVF process is important, as it can be a stressful and emotional experience. Seeking emotional support can help individuals and couples manage the stress and anxiety that comes with IVF and improve the overall experience. Here are some ways you can get emotional support:

  • Fertility clinics – Many fertility clinics offer counselling and support services to patients undergoing IVF, including couples counselling, support groups, or access to mental health professionals specialising in fertility issues.
  • Online support groups – Many online groups and social media pages support individuals and couples undergoing IVF. These communities can provide a sense of connection and support and can be especially helpful for individuals who may not have access to in-person support.

Family and friends – Support from loved ones can also be valuable during IVF. It may include emotional support by offering words of comfort or practical support like helping with household tasks or simply being there for them to listen and understand their pain. 


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IVF has become a beacon of hope for couples struggling with fertility problems in Malaysia. With advancements in medical technology, IVF treatments have become safer, more accessible, and increasingly successful. While the decision to undergo IVF treatment is a deeply personal one, it is important for couples to understand that they are not alone in their journey. IVF in Malaysia provides a range of options and resources for couples seeking fertility treatments, offering hope and new possibilities for those who thought having a child was impossible.

Learn more about IVF here:  In vitro fertilization (IVF)

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.

(Everybody has a chance to build a family) by Dr Navdeep