In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is an assistive technique used to help individuals or couples become pregnant. It is a procedure that requires the removal of an egg (ovum) from the intended mother, which is then fertilised by a sperm (form the intended father) in a petri dish in a laboratory.
The IVF process itself is relatively quick, as the egg removal takes about 30 minutes, followed by a 1 hour recovery period and advice for no driving or strenuous activity for the following 2 days. The woman is put under anaesthesia to minimise pain and discomfort, and risks are minimal, which are bloating and discomfort.
IVF in Malaysia is a fairly common practice, and is readily available through numerous providers. IVF in Malaysia costs about RM14,000 to RM16,000 per full cycle, and can be quite costly if needs repeating efforts.
Of the many specialists offering IVF in Malaysia, Dr Kannappan Palaniappan, the Clinical Director of Sunway Medical Fertility Centre, sat down with InfoMed to answer some frequently asked questions about infertility and in vitro fertilisation in Malaysia.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) on IVF in Malaysia
When should couples seek medical support for infertility?
Couples who fail to conceive after 2 years of unprotected sex should seek medical support.
How likely are you to conceive once you stop using contraception?
The average time taken for conception among couples considered fertile, with regular sex and without any use of contraception (this includes no condoms, oral contraceptives, or the unreliable pull-out method) is:
- 24% after 1 month
- 66% after 6 months
- 90% after 2 years
Does age play into the probability of conceiving a child?
Yes. Studies have found that the younger the age of the parents-to-be, the higher the chances of conceiving.
- 86% for couples aged 20-24 years
- 52% for couples in their mid-30s
- 5% for couples aged 45 years and above
How common is infertility?
10-15% of couples face fertility issues.
What are causes of infertility?
- 1 in 3 cases are due to male factors such as low sperm count, or sexual disorders.
- 1 in 3 cases are due to male factors such as no ovulations, uterine abnormalities or age.
- 1 in 3 cases are due to unexplained causes.
How many IVF treatments (called cycles) are performed a year in Malaysia?
Most treatments take place in women aged between 30 to 39 with an estimated 4,500 ART cycles per year.
If my partner and I are thalassemia carriers, can IVF ensure we have a thalassemia-free baby?
While no method has a 100% success rate, the ability to perform Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT) allows fertility specialists to choose embryos which do not have that condition.
What about baby gender selection through IVF ?
It is technically possible through PGT, however it presents an ethical issue. That’s not to say we don’t get asked to do it, especially from couples with who already have two or three kids of a certain gender. However, most if not all centres in Malaysia do not perform this service.
What about parents with genetic problems, should they use IVF?
Here there is an additional layer of consultants, which are the geneticists. They will be able to advise parents on the risks of their child having complications. At which point, PGT is performed to see if the procedure is feasible.
Is there any law in Malaysia concerning IVF and patients choosing IVF?
Law and implementations are still pending from the government. At current time, we have basic guidelines provided by the Ministry of Health.
Can unmarried couples choose to have IVF?
No. Malaysian laws and the National Registration Department are very particular in needing marriage certificates.