In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) and IVF Abroad – From $5500 USD

What is an IVF vacation?

An IVF vacation is when one leaves home to undertake a cycle of in vitro fertilization, often with the added benefits of  huge cost savings.  Popular destinations for IVF include The Czech Republic, Greece, Ukraine, Mexico, etc and savings can be as much as 80%.

What is in vitro fertilization (IVF)?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a therapeutic protocol in Assisted Reproductive technology (ART), due to a couple’s infertility. IVF is usually attempted after natural methods and other methods like intrauterine insemination (IUI) have failed.  During IVF, a woman’s ova (eggs) are removed and fertilized by sperm outside the body and grown in a medium which mimics the uterus.  The  fertilized eggs, or zygotes, are then transferred back into the intended parent several days later.  During a normal monthly cycle, a woman releases 1-2 eggs at ovulation, usually between cycle day 12-14.  During an IVF cycle, a woman is given medication to create more eggs to increase the chance of pregnancy.

What is involved in vitro fertilization (IVF)?

There are basically five steps in the IVF and embryo transfer process:

  1. Ovarian stimulation and monitoring;
  2. Aspiration of the ovaries and egg collection;
  3. Sperm collection;
  4. Insemination;
  5. Embryo transfer;

How successful is in vitro fertilization?

The success rate of IVF depends on a number of factors, the most important of which is the woman’s age.  It is also important to realize whether a cli ic is referring to a pregnancy rate as confirmed by a Beta HCG test or a live birth rate.  In the U.S., live birth rates are usually referred to.  According to The Society For Assisted Reproduction Technologies (SART), the averagelive birth rate in the U.S. is:

  • 40% for women under age 35
  • 38% for women ages 35 to 37
  • 29% for women ages 38 to 40
  • 19% for women ages 40 to 42
  • 9% for women over 42

What if I don’t produce healthy eggs?

If a woman;s eggs are not viable for IVF, one can choose to work with donor eggs, eggs from a third party that are transferred back to the intended mother’s uterus.  Success rates with donor eggs can be significantly higher than with one’s own eggs as success rates are almost entirely bound to the age of the eggs used.

Are there any side-effects of an IVF cycle?

IVF can certainly be a hormonal roller-coaster.  In addition, to the natural mood swings induced by artificial hormones, feelings of swelling in the abdomen are common, and it is normal to feel some discomfort after follicular aspiration.   Thus, it is important to modify your activity during the later stages of a cycle.

How many embryos should be created or transferred?

The number of embryos that should be created or transferred during any single IVF cycle is open to debate and is a discussion for you and your fertility doctor before you go on an IVF vacation.  It will also depend on age, factor, and whether embryos are transferred at day 3 or day 5.

Why take an IVF vacation?

The answer is different for every woman:  a) the desire to save money (and you can save a lot), b) the desire to take one’s mind off the hormonal rigors and obsessions of an IVF cycle, and c) at the very least if you’re unsuccessful, you’ve ‘gotten something out of’ the money you’ve spent, a vacation experience (IVF is by no means a certainty, and the number of women who go through multiple times is staggering.

How much money can I save by taking an IVF Vacation abroad for fertility treatments?

Considering the average cost of IVF in the US starts at $9,000 – $12,000 without medication, and closer to $18,000 – $20,000 with medication, you can save thousands of dollars even after an IVF vacation. It is very possible to save up to $10,000 with an IVF vacation.

Are there tests I need prior to taking an IVF vacation?

Like any procedure, it is essential to decide if you are a good candidate before traveling on an IVF vacation. Thus, you will need to complete the following tests at home, and the results need to be sent to the doctor at least 2 months in advance of an IVF vacation for assessment:

  • Day 3 FSH or AMH;
  • Semen analysis;
  • Uterine cavity evaluation;
  • Infectious disease screening for male and female:  HIV I/II; Hep B/C; VDRL;
  • If you have these tests already done, tests are typically good for 6 months;
  • You will also complete a health questionnaire and medical history to share with the doctor;

Should I be concerned about culture / language barriers on my IVF vacation?

This is a question that only you can answer. Will these countries be exactly like ‘home’?  The answer is no.  You will undoubtedly find some people who do not speak English, but most  doctors speak English and some centers have foreign patient departments to assist.  If you’re a person who likes adventure, you will have no trouble at all.  If you are a person who wants everything to be exactly the same, you’re probably better off cycling at home instead of taking an IVF vacation.

How long do I have to be away from home?

Given the various stages of the process, a minimum of 19 days is usually required to be away from home for your IVF vacation.

Is there a way to shorten the trip?

The only way to shorten the experience of a regular IVF cycle is to have a doctor at home who will prescribe medication and do initial monitoring.  This may defeat the purpose as savings achieved by purchasing medication abroad will not be available.

What factors can reduce my chances of success with IVF?

Factors such as being overweight, smoking, drinking alcohol, recreational drug abuse can all lead to infertility.

How much lead time do I need before being treated?

Typically, we will need at least 2 months to organize your IVF vacation experience.

What if my partner can’t come for the whole length of my IVF vacation?

The male partner can be in the country with you on an IVF vacation for as few as 3 days, during sperm donation.

How long after embryo transfer will I have to wait before I find out if I am pregnant?

You will typically take a Beta HCG blood test approximately 10-12 days after embryo transfer.  If the test is positive, it is usually repeated several days later to ensure it is a viable pregnancy.

Do I have to have my doctor’s support at home?

It is important to have a doctor’s support at home after your IVF vacation as you will likely need to have them prescribe certain medications both pre and post-cycle.

Do I have to take any medication before traveling for an IVF vacation?

Depending on your doctor, you may be required to take medication to suppress your system and align your cycle with your travel dates for your IVF vacation.  This may include a contraceptive pill timed precisely to ensure your cycle falls at a specific time on your IVF vacation.

Do I have to take any medication after transfer?

A woman may be required to continue to take estrogen and progesterone for up to 10 weeks after transfer to support the pregnancy.

What if I have extra embryos after transfer?

Extra embryos can typically be frozen for later use at a much reduced cost, as the woman does not need to go through all the steps of the IVF process again, just a frozen embryo transfer (FET).