Couples who are struggling to conceive naturally would often find themselves laden with the influx of information about fertility treatments. With new medical discoveries made on a daily basis, the world has seemingly been able to offer endless possible treatments that could help couples achieve their dream. However, not all treatments are legally accepted in Malaysia. The most popular fertility treatments in Malaysia are intrauterine insemination (IUI), in vitro fertilization (IVF) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
What are the differences between IUI, IVF and ICSI?
While these three treatments aim in assisting couples to successfully conceive, there are several aspects that set them apart from one another. The main aspects are the time frame of the treatment, the preparation steps, and the cost of the treatment.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Best known as artificial insemination treatment, IUI is the closest fertility treatment in imitating the natural conception process. In this procedure, processed and concentrated sperm will be inserted into the uterus around the time of ovulation.
IUI is usually the first suggested treatment for infertility, especially for unexplained infertility cases and patients with no other medical conditions. The process is simple and the risks are also minimal.
The procedure itself can be completed in less than an hour. The patients will be advised to take the pregnancy test two weeks after the procedure is completed in order to see the result.
First, the patients need to provide sperm samples. Secondly, the patients have to diligently monitor their ovulation cycle to ensure the best timing to have the IUI procedure. This treatment can be done with or without fertility drugs. Doctors will advise the patients according to their conditions.
Cost of treatment
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
IVF treatment is probably the most widely known treatment for infertility and is usually referred to as “test-tube baby”. This treatment is as it sounds, the procedure starts by collecting the samples of eggs and sperm. The egg will then be fertilized by the sperm in the test tube under laboratory conditions. The fertilized egg (embryo) will then be transferred to the uterus.
Despite IVF reputation as the most commonly used assisted reproductive technology (ART), patients are less likely to be suggested this treatment before trying for less invasive fertility treatments. IVF will only become the primary treatment when the woman is over the age of 40 with fertility problems or to patients with certain health conditions such as cancer or reproductive organs problems and patients with genetic disorder problems.
The entire procedure can be completed within three weeks or more. Similarly, the patients are advised to take the pregnancy test two weeks after the last step of the procedure is completed.
IVF treatments involve several procedures which are done within one ovulation cycle. The procedures in order of operations are as follows:
- 1. Ovarian stimulation
- 2. Egg(s) retrieval
- 3. Sperm retrieval
- 4. Fertilization of the egg(s) by sperm in the test tube
- 5. Embryo transfers into the uterus
Some patients may need more medication than others throughout the whole process, depending on the patient’s health conditions and fertility problems during the time of undergoing IVF treatment. Commonly, medication will be administered to help stimulate ovulation, increase the healthy sperm count or in order to prepare the uterus before embryo transfer.
Cost of treatment
The cost of IVF treatment in Malaysia starts from RM15,500 and can go higher than RM 50,000. This treatment is known to be costly due to the usage of hormone medication, multiple laboratory sessions and the inclusion of extra procedures such as ICSI.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
ICSI is an extension of IVF treatment. ICSI procedure took place during the fertilization stage, in which through this treatment a single healthy sperm will be directly injected into the egg for fertilization under laboratory conditions.
ICSI is the extended procedure of IVF that would be recommended when previous IVF treatments fail. ICSI will be a primary procedure when men have low or zero sperm count and fertility problems with their reproductive organs.
The entire procedures are the same as IVF treatments and can be completed within three weeks or more. Similarly, the patients will be advised to take the pregnancy test two weeks after the last step of the procedure is completed.
Patients going for ICSI treatment will undergo a similar preparation checklist as IVF treatment. However, the male patient might be advised for extra fertility medication and tests before the sperm retrieval procedure. The differences in the process will be during the fertilization stage whereby only a single sperm will be directly injected into the egg.
The cost for ICSI treatments in Malaysia is similar to IVF treatments. The price starts from RM 15,000 and can go higher than RM50,000.
All three treatments are designed to help couples in achieving their dreams to have children. Follow your doctor’s advice and let them choose the most suitable treatment for you based on your conditions.