In Vitro Fertilization

The Ultimate Guide to In Vitro Fertilization

Last fact-checked: 10 March 2020

IVF (in vitro fertilization) is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART) which involves combining eggs and sperm outside the body in a laboratory; when an embryo forms, it is then placed into the uterus. 

IVF is a complex process, the success of which depends on a number of factors, including age, cause of fertility, lifestyle and reproductive history. Traveling abroad does not make the process any riskier than at home, and it can even be said that being on ‘holiday mode’ can actually help.

Discover more about IVF and find a trusted clinic or hospital overseas with Medical Departures. Booking an appointment through our site is free, and many of our clients have saved thousands on the cost of this life-changing procedure. 

Is In Vitro Fertilization for Me?

IVF isn’t usually the first step in infertility treatment; rather it is usually undertaken when other methods, including artificial insemination, fertility drugs and surgery haven’t worked.

It can be used if you are affected by any of the following conditions:

  • Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
  • Ovulation problems
  • Endometriosis
  • Male infertility problems, including low sperm count, or sperm motility
  • Antibody problems that harm sperm or eggs
  • Fertility problems that are unexplained

What Is Involved in the Procedure for IVF?

Whether you have IVF treatment at home or abroad, there are five basic steps in the IVF treatment and process, as summarized below:

  1. Stimulation and examination of the development of eggs in the ovaries:
    Egg production is stimulated with medication – multiple eggs are desired as not all will fertilize or develop. Hormone levels are checked with blood tests and ultrasound is used to examine the ovaries for signs of egg production.

  2. Egg collection:
    A minor surgical procedure that uses a hollow needle guided through the pelvic cavity is used to collect the eggs.

  3. Sperm collection:
    The male produces a sperm sample to be used in the following step.

  4. In the laboratory, the sperm and eggs are combined, and the ideal environment for fertilization is simulated:
    The process of combining the eggs and sperm is called insemination. After this, the combined eggs and sperm are stored in the right laboratory conditions to encourage fertilization.

  5. Transferal of the successfully developed embryos to the uterus:
    The eggs are monitored closely for signs of cell division. If this is confirmed, fertilization is deemed to have taken place and the eggs, now called embryos, can be transferred to the uterus. Viable eggs are transferred 3 – 5 days after fertilization using a painless procedure. Implantation occurs between 6 and 10 days following egg retrieval if the procedure is successful.

[Note: Modified versions of IVF include GIFT (Gamete Intrafallopian Transfer) and ZIFT (Zygote Intrafallopian Transfer).]

How Long Does One Round of IVF Treatment Take?

It is recommended that you spend around a week at your destination abroad for one round of IVF treatment. Your chosen clinic will be able to advise on exactly how long you will need to be around for. 

Are There Any Side-effects or Risks Associated with IVF?

It is important you discuss any pre-existing medical conditions with your doctor before your treatment begins, and that you are fully aware of any potential side-effects and risks. Some important considerations include:

  • Multiple Births
    This is the greatest risk of fertility treatment and, with your doctor, you should decide on how many embryos to transfer in your treatment.

  • Drug Reactions
    Adverse reactions to fertility drugs are usually mild but may include headaches, irritability, hot flashes, feeling low and restlessness.

  • Ectopic Pregnancy
    This is when an embryo develops in the fallopian tube rather than the womb. It can cause vaginal bleeding and miscarriage. Scans and hormone tests are used to detect ectopic pregnancies but if you suffer stomach pain or vaginal bleeding, alert your doctor immediately.

  • Ovarian Hyper-Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS)
    This can be a severe reaction to fertility drugs, causing stomach pain, swelling, nausea and vomiting. You should contact your doctor immediately should you experience these symptoms.

What About the Quality of IVF Treatment abroad?

Western clinics do not have a monopoly on qualified doctors, skilled personnel and first-class facilities! If you do a little homework you will find outstanding quality clinics across the globe, in places where the cost of living is considerably cheaper, which makes your treatment cost less.

Even in your home country, there are good and not-so-good doctors, and going abroad is no different.

This is why Medical Departures conducts rigorous background checks on our doctors and clinics, verifying qualifications, professional memberships and affiliations and obtaining reviews from previous patients. Taken together, all this information gives us (and you) a fairly good idea whether a doctor is reliable and trustworthy.

If you need any further information about IVF abroad, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us, and to book with us for quality-checked doctors, and guaranteed best prices.

What Is the Success Rate of IVF?

The success rate of IVF nowadays is generally high, and it's improving all the time (especially for those under 35 and using donor eggs). However, you should expect to have more than one cycle of treatment. The global average success rate of IVF over three cycles is nearly 40%.

How Much Is IVF Treatment Abroad?

It is difficult to put an absolute price on IVF treatment as there are so many variables. However, most people find they make savings of around 50% by traveling abroad, compared with the costs at home.

Here are some estimates prices in some of the top global destinations for IVF:

For comparison, one cycle of treatment in the US can cost over USD $12,000. 

Getting Started with Medical Departures

Browse through our list of global clinics and hospitals for IVF treatment here. You'll find that we have partnered with some of the leading facilities in destinations like Thailand, Mexico, Singapore, Turkey and Malaysia. 

Book an appointment through our site to secure the best prices and enjoy 24-hour access to our Customer Care Team. They can also help you book or provide more information about traveling abroad for in vitro fertilization treatment. 


Gurevich, Rachel. The Chances for IVF Pregnancy Success. Very Well Health. 9 November 2018.

In vitro fertilization (IVF). Mayo Clinic. 22 June 2019.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): What is it? American Pregnancy Association. Website accessed: 20 March 2020.