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In vitro fertilisation, or IVF, is becoming a more popular option for couples who want to have a new family member.
Although not guaranteed, IVF gives you a higher chance of getting pregnant.
Depending on your age, your health, your partner’s health, and so on, the success rate can be higher than 40%.
Finding the right information and support are key to helping couples who are experiencing difficulty having a baby and want to seek help from IVF clinics.
But how do you find answers and comfort, especially if you choose to have the treatment away from home?
This is why we have made this article. We aim to provide information that will give you a good idea on what it’s like to do IVF in Bangkok, including where you can go.
We also include support from others who are on the same journey as you are.
- First Things First
- What is IVF
- Is IVF Right for You?
- Why Bangkok?
- Treatment Procedure
- IVF Center
- Can I Fly to Thailand During COVID-19 Travel Restrictions for IVF?
- Now, on to You
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First Things First
Please note that we are not doctors or medical specialists.
The information here is written based on our research and experience from people who have done IVF in Bangkok. The article was also reviewed by a physician to make sure it’s as accurate as possible.
However, mistakes may still happen.
While this article can give you a good idea about the process of doing IVF in Bangkok, it’s still best to contact an IVF clinic and get a consultation with them.
This way they can tell you the exact procedure based on your health conditions and provide medical advice on whether IVF is suitable for you or not.
What is IVF
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is a multi-step treatment for couples who are unable to conceive due to pre-existing health conditions.
IVF involves harvesting mature eggs from a woman abd fertilizing them externally with sperm in a lab. The eggs can be either naturally mature or induced by hormones.
After that, there’s an optional chromosome test to rule out any obvious chromosomal abnormalities. This also means the couple knows and has a role in consenting to or choosing the sex of the fetus.
Then the embryo will be re-implanted back into the woman’s uterus after fertilization has been confirmed.
Although IVF is a more advanced treatment, it is also the most popular as it can provide the highest chances of success, with a nearly 50% live birth rate for women under the age of 35.
It is a treatment option for those who have not succeeded with other, less-aggressive methods like hormone therapy, intrauterine insemination (IUI), and ovarian stimulation.
Is IVF Right for You?
Let’s start with the first question you need to be asking yourself if you are considering IVF – are you a good candidate for IVF?
The majority of treatments are offered to women with tubal issues, but it can also be offered for:
- unexplained infertility
- polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- cervical factor infertility
- ovulation disorders
- repeated miscarriages
- male factor infertility
On the other hand, IVF may not be as successful if you have fibroid tumors, ovarian dysfunction, abnormal hormone levels, or uterine abnormalities. Also, women age 37 and above may have lower IVF success rates and should note that egg production decreases with age.
Bangkok is making its mark on the map as one of the go-to places for IVF. The city has so much to offer when it comes to options, as there are several excellent fertility doctors and clinics here.
One of the many reasons why expats travel to Bangkok for IVF is the top-notch care, commitment, and professionalism of doctors here.
Many have dubbed their experience here as “five-star”, not only because of the dedication of staff and doctors, but because they have found success here when all else had failed in their home country.
The approaches are creative and comforting, and the treatments are advanced.
However, this doesn’t mean that you can just go to any clinic in Bangkok. Instead you should go to the IVF clinic you feel most comfortable going to. Physicians should be ethical as well. We will talk more about this later in the article.
It is worth noting that doing your IVF in Bangkok is not necessarily cheap.
It might even be more expensive than doing it in your home country.
You might need to pay additional costs, such as for accommodations and hired help, during your stay in Bangkok.
Although it could be expensive, it’s definitely a convenient option. Many clinics cater to foreigners. They will have suggestions in place for where to stay, or even plan for a same-day flight back.
We asked a group of mothers who have done IVF in Bangkok why they chose to do it here.
Their names have been removed in order to protect their privacy.
Here’s what they said:
“I did not travel to Europe for the treatment because ICSI turned out to be more expensive in my home country. It’s tricky because every clinic and doctor is different – in every country.”
“Funny at the sessions I facilitate in NZ, I often get asked if it was cheaper to go to Thailand for treatment. The simple answer is No, it wasn’t cheaper. In fact staying in NZ and doing treatments here would have been cheaper. While I was in Thailand we were running 2 households! Having said this we pumped some significant cash into the NZ system over 12 years and got nowhere. At least with what we’ve pumped into Thailand we have 2 kids to show for it.”
“Bangkok was first class. I was taken care of every step of the way. The approach used on me was creative and comforting. I was treated as a person not $$$ signs. If anything of my specialist would say things like no I don’t think you need to spend money on that etc”
“The whole experience for me was refreshing and at a gut level it felt good. I also put in place things to really help me. Hiring a full time nanny was the best thing I did. We paid her well and my expectations were high and she delivered in fact she outperformed! But gender selection is what brought me to Bangkok”
Before the actual IVF process, you will need to undergo a basic infertility check-up that will help the OB-GYN determine all the factors in play between male and female partners.
This basic check-up will include:
- Pre-consultation – detailed consultation on medical history and lifestyle factors
- Bloodwork – to identify the female partner’s hormone levels
- Pelvic ultrasound – to count potential eggs in the ovaries
- Anti-Müllerian hormone (AMH) testing – a blood test to predict the female partner’s egg supply
- Hysterosalpingogram (HSG) – an x-ray dye test that checks for deformities in the uterus cavity and Fallopian tubes
- Semen analysis – a non-invasive test that determines volume, concentration, motility, and morphology of sperm cells.
Step 1: Superovulation
One of the many factors of success in an IVF treatment is the number of egg cells a woman produces. During this step, injectable hormones will be prescribed for about 8-14 days to stimulate the ovaries to produce egg cells.
The essence of this step is hormonal treatment to stimulate several eggs to ovulate at the same time as opposed to just one per month.
Also during this step, patients have 5-7 monitoring appointments that will help physicians track the development of the cycle using blood tests and ultrasounds, and modifying dosages as required.
The final phase of this step is called the trigger shot. It encourages the developing follicles to mature and activate ovulation.
Step 2: Egg Retrieval and Sperm Production
This step involves a consultation with an anesthesiologist who will evaluate your medical history and administer a light general anesthesia via IV fluid.
The actual egg retrieval generally lasts about 20-30 minutes where the physician will insert a needle into each ovary to harvest the eggs. It could also take much longer depending on the number of eggs harvested and other difficulties.
Recovery time takes about 30 minutes, where you can leave after but will require someone to drive you home.
The trigger shot is important during this process since ovulation will occur during a specific time. The time of the appointment for egg retreival is also important as patients might lose a number of eggs by being an hour late.
During the same appointment, your male partner also needs to provide his semen sample.
Some labs require patients to collect semen at home and bring to the clinic, while others require a lab technician to collect a fresh semen sample at the clinic.
There are also procedures doctors can do to extract sperm (TESE or TESA) using a needle or scalpel.
Step 3: Fertilization
The physician will prepare the eggs and sperm for fertilization in the lab. Depending on sperm quality, the physician may use conventional insemination or ICSI-injection, injecting a single sperm directly into the egg cell under microscope.
If all goes well, the fertilized eggs are placed inside an incubator and embryo development starts. The physician will monitor the progress daily.
In some cases, pre-genetic screening (PGD) of the embryos will be recommended, especially for older women. This screens for chromosomal abnormalities, such as three copies (trisomy) of chromosome 21, which manifests as Down syndrome, and other irregularities that can lead to implantation failure or miscarriage.
Step 4: Embryo Transfer
Generally at five days after egg collection, you will have an appointment where the physician will transfer the embryos to your uterus. By this time, the eggs have already developed into blastocysts. The physician will choose the highest-quality embryo to implant, based on appearance and how well they have developed.
The procedure lasts for about 5 minutes. To prepare, you will be asked to drink plenty of fluids 30-40 minutes before, as you need to have a full bladder during the transfer. The physician will use a catheter to transfer the embryos and will be guided via ultrasound.
After the transfer, you will be asked to lie still and rest for 5 minutes. After that, the physician will provide instructions on how to prepare for the pregnancy test which will be 2 weeks thereafter.
Also, if you have additional embryos, there are options for freezing eggs (less likelihood of survival) or freezing embryos (more likelihood of survival) and implanting them at a later point (in years).
However, this comes with an additional cost for freezing.
Step 5: Pregnancy Test
Two weeks after the transfer, you will have your blood test to confirm the pregnancy. It is a much more reliable test than home pregnancy kits.
If you get a positive result, you will be scheduled for your first pregnancy scan 2 weeks thereafter. You have the option to continue prenatal care with your IVF specialist as your OB-GYN if the center allows it, or give birth at a different hospital or OB-GYN of choice.
Please note that while IVF patients may be encouraged to do natural labor, some hospitals may not allow natural birth for women under IVF. You have to point this out in advance with your hospital or OB-GYN.
On the day you get the positive result, the physician will provide you with medication to try to increase the chances of a healthy pregnancy.
You will also be scheduled for several blood tests to monitor HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels. On the 6th–7th week, you will have the ultrasound scan to check for fetal heartbeat.
If the test is negative, you will need to consult with the doctor on how best to proceed.
Before we tackle costs, it is important to know that each patient’s condition, each doctor, and each clinic is not the same.
So treatments can be $9,000 in one clinic and $15,000 in another as there could be differences in medications used.
One of the most common cost drivers is the type of hormones used during the ovary stimulation appointment. Women who have inactive follicles may require a higher dosage.
Also, there are added expenses for estrogen and progesterone pills that could cost somewhere between $150-$300.
Also, it is worth noting that the more experienced a specialist is, the higher the price he/she commands.
|Type of Treatment||Costs||Remarks|
|Basic Infertility Check-up|
|Female infertility blood test||Around $48–$1,120|
|Transvaginal ultrasound||Around $96|
|Pelvic exam||Around $256|
|Male infertility blood test and semen analysis||Around $48–$640|
|Endoscopy||Around $480–$640||Only when abnormalities in the uterine cavity are suspected|
|Step 1: Stimulation|
|Hormone injection||Around $960–$8,000||Not more than 3 days|
|Step 2: Egg Retrieval and Sperm Production|
|Egg collection and medication||Around $1,600–$10,000|
|Collection of sperm from testes||Around $800–$960||Not necessary if male partner can release semen naturally|
|Step 3: Fertilization|
|Step 4: Embryo Transfer|
|PGS||Around $624 (NGS)–$3,843 (MitoScore)|
|Embryo Glue, Atosiban, and Intralipid||Around $900|
|Embryo implantation||Around $480–$1,921||Per time|
|Embryo freezing||Around $160–$224|
|Embryo thawing||Around $300|
|FET||Around $320–$2,500||Per transfer|
|Antenatal care||Around $80–$1,800|
With Inspire IVF, you can expect costs upwards of $12,200, while you can expect to spend somewhere between $10,000 to $13,700 at the SAFE Fertility Center. With Samitivej Fertility Center, costs are around $10,700 to $12,200.
You’ll notice that most of the IVF clinics, although they have a website, rarely publish information on costs.
That’s because each patient’s case is so vastly different from another. The costs can vary drastically based on your protocol, as the type and dosage of medicines, hormones, and injections can be expensive.
Nonetheless, feel free to call or email the IVF clinics of your choice as they’re very happy to provide approximate costs.
To give you idea, we asked several people how much they needed to pay to do IVF in Bangkok.
Here’s what they said:
“Safe is charging us: FET THB45,000, Embryo Glue, Autosibarn & Intralipid THB29,000 and follow up Antenatal care THB60,000 (this is capped to 12 weeks care, I think). Hope this helps. I am sure I will have a few other costs as I did last time but these are the big ones. Interesting often people in NZ ask me if its cheaper to do IVF in Thailand. I just re looked and asked my IVF group here what we charge and it is significantly cheaper. Having said this we have only had success in Bangkok and not here. Interesting.”
“$9000 USD at one clinic and $12,000 USD at another one.”
“Around 350-400K (baht) in Samitivej, in Inspire IVF seems to be above 400..”
“I’m (half) Thai and spent closer approx 250k (baht) but I don’t think this had anything to do with my nationality. Remember that the number fluctuates drastically according to your protocol as meds can get super expensive.”
“We paid Thb330k for ICSI and 1 FET. Cost of the second FET was around Thb30k.”
“From memory, approx $10k (USD) for per egg collection + meds and $2.5k (USD) per FET with Dr Wiwat at SAFE in 2017 to beginning of 2018.”
“Definitely not one of the big clinics, but maybe interesting for the cost comparison. We did our ICSI at Vichayjut hospital and paid around THB220,000 for the ICSI including all meds, check-ups, cost for the pick-up etc. Each FET costs THB35,000.”
“I don’t remember exact costs, though I probably have bills somewhere, but I know that 3 days of stimulation (I had ultra-short stimulation), US, ER, progesterone & estrogen pills and 1 FET, all costed equivalent to USD8,000.”
No matter what your budget and health status are, you are bound to find an IVF center in Bangkok that can cater to your unique needs.
Here are some of the fertility centers in Bangkok that offer IVF procedures:
- SAFE Fertility Center is the first IVF Clinic in Thailand and the second center in ASEAN countries that have been accredited by RTAC of the Fertility Society of Australia (FSA) and New Zealand.
- The Fertility Center in Bangkok Hospital offers a wide range of fertility treatments that include IVF, Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer (GIFT), Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer (ZIFT), and so much more.
- Inspire IVF offers the ultimate comfort in its luxurious, state-of-the-art clinic that also has multilingual staff and internationally-recognized controlled air quality in its laboratories and operating theaters.
- The IVF Clinic in Bumrungrad International is one of the leading fertility centers in Southeast Asia thanks to its commitment to compassionate care and state-of-the-art technology.
- The IVF and Women Clinic has more than 10 years of combined work experience and has lifted the standards of infertility treatment and general gynecology in Thailand.
- The Jetanin Institute for Assisted Reproduction was the first center to be successful in using the GIFT method in Thailand and also the first to be successful in the TESE/ICSI method.
- Samitivej Fertility Center has had an overall success rate of 43% and the center’s Embryology Laboratory uses world-class technology that maximizes the chances of a successful pregnancy.
1. Is a marriage certificate required?
Yes. All clinics will require patients to provide a copy of their marriage certificate prior to receiving any fertility treatment. This is a regulation set by the Ministry of Public Health, the Royal Thai College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and the Medical Council of Thailand, as of 1 Aug 2015.
2. We are a same-sex couple, will our marriage certificate be valid?
Unfortunately, Thailand doesn’t recognize same-sex marriages as of the moment.
3. Can we choose the baby’s gender?
Yes. You can know the baby’s gender through the chromosome test as mentioned earlier in the article. Please note that people try not to talk about it openly because it is against the professional code of conduct.
4. Can we also carry twins or triplets?
Carrying multiples is discouraged as it is considered high-risk. Nonetheless, it is worth talking to your IVF specialists as they also allow transferring of multiple embryos at the same time as long as you’re a low-risk patient.
5. How long do we need to stay in Bangkok?
Length of stay will depend on each individual’s case, medical history, and the clinic’s chosen protocol (i.e. short or long cycle). But usually the entire process takes around 1-6 months. The IVF part requires 12-17 days while the embryo transfer will require 2-6 days.
6. Can we fly back and forth in the midst of an IVF procedure?
Prior to COVID-19, some patients were able to start a portion of their treatment in their home country and then fly to Bangkok a few days before egg retrieval and sperm collection. A second trip could then be done for embryo transfer.
If you are considering having your IVF treatment in Bangkok, here are some words of wisdom from those who have already had an experience here.
How to Choose a Clinic
Finding the best doctor or clinic can be a daunting task as most clinics don’t list prices and fees on the website. It is understandable as each case is different, and while clinics will prefer not to advertise costs, they are very much happy to provide approximate costs.
Therefore, it is very much recommended to organize consultation sessions with different doctors and clinics.
It will also be an opportunity for you to find a physician that can make you feel the most comfortable and can provide you with the emotional support that you may also need.
Sending an email is a good start but it is only with an in-person consultation can you assess each doctor’s commitment and dedication.
How to Choose Accommodations
Another point to consider is to find accommodations that are close to your clinic. There will be multiple appointments and tests and you won’t want to travel a long way for all that, especially if anything is scheduled during rush hour traffic.
Along with that is to plan about hiring help to look after you or your family. You can hire nannies and babysitters and also schedule playgroups and day care if you have small children with you.
How to Prepare Yourself
Preparing for and ensuring a successful IVF in Bangkok is done the same as you would wherever you plan to have your procedure. And it involves taking care of your own health and your partner’s health as well.
Here are some steps that you can do:
- Avoid smoking or second-hand smoke – smoking decreases your chances of getting pregnant and also weakens your immune system
- Stay at a healthy weight – obesity reduces your chances of getting pregnant, as it can result in hormonal imbalances that decrease ovulation in women, and sperm quality in men
- Eat a well-balanced diet – it is not only important for your health but also the well-being of your growing baby when you get pregnant as well
- Minimize caffeine consumption – women are more likely to miscarry if they consume more than 2 cups of caffeinated drinks a day, which include sodas, energy drinks, and coffee
- Lessen alcohol intake – alcoholic beverages reduce fertility and result in increased chances of miscarriage
- Get enough folic acid – to eliminate the risk of the fetus developing neural tube defects
Finding a Community
Being far away from family and friends back home, getting the emotional and psychological support you need can be tricky. Nevertheless, you can find a community of wonderful IVF moms in Bangkok by joining the FaceBook group IVF Bangkok Support.
The group’s admin, Sheena Flannery, is very supportive and she is full of helpful insights about having your IVF in Bangkok.
Another wonderful mom I met through the same FB group is Komal Appleby. She has had a 17-year fertility journey and now she coaches couples and also speaks at school and universities.
She is there to help moms by answering their questions and helping them to ask the right questions of physicians when needed.
Can I Fly to Thailand During COVID-19 Travel Restrictions for IVF?
Although it’s possible to enter Thailand for medical treatment purposes during the COVID-19 travel restrictions, it’s still hard to do so at present.
There’s a limit to the number of people who can fly to Thailand right now. We believe that Thailand will relax travel restrictions in the future, which will make it easier for foreigners to come to Thailand again.
You can also still fly to Thailand with other types of visas, such as a working visa, a marriage visa, an Elite visa, or a special tourist visa, in order to get IVF here.
Now, on to You
WE hope that this information can help you to prepare for your IVF journey in Bangkok.
We’d like you to remember that no two experiences are alike. Some may have paid more or less than you will for their treatment; may have more or less success than you; or may go through entirely different processes and steps than you will.
But there’s one thing we can all agree on — that mental and emotional support plays a big role and that having a community around you eases the journey. Having someone to talk to about the process (and not feel awkward), along with helpful resources to provide some answers, can help a lot.
And like they say in the IVF community, have patience and hold on to hope. Good luck and sending you lots of baby dust!