In vitro fertilization, commonly referred to as IVF, is a specialist form of assisted reproductive technology involving the combination of an egg with a sperm sample in a laboratory. Problems with fertility — and the prospect of facing infertility — can be an emotional and sensitive subject for many people. Thankfully, modern views on reproductive medicine, plus the continued development of IVF technology, has allowed the treatment to become much more of a household name in recent years. Even prominent figures like Michelle Obama have undergone the treatment.
Travelling to undergo IVF abroad has become more common in recent years. Despite this increased accessibility, choosing to go down the route of IVF is still a significant decision to make. That’s why Qunomedical is here to help. We’ll work together with you to explain everything you need to know about IVF abroad, including the treatment process and IVF costs, and we'll also help you to find a range of high-quality fertility doctors abroad.
The content has been reviewed for quality and accuracy to the best of our knowledge by Qunomedical and its Medical Board of Experts.
“Qunomedical helped me so much! Thank you!“
“Qunomedical helped me so much! Thank you!“
Egg and sperm are combined in a vitro dish for IVF.
Egg and sperm are combined in a vitro dish for IVF.
IVF Abroad Quick Details
WHO IS THIS FOR
Couples who are suffering from infertility.
Women who have blocked fallopian tubes or those who had to have them removed altogether.
Women who have conditions affecting their fertility, such as endometriosis or polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).
Couples in which the male has a low sperm count and/or low sperm mobility.
Women who have been previously sterilised.
IVF takes place in cycles that last between 4–6 weeks.
The first stage takes around 14 days and the egg maturation and removal stage then takes around 2–4 days.
Fertilization lasts for 3–5 days, before embryos are selected for implantation.
Embryo transfer takes place approximately 3–5 days after extraction.
Around 14 days after that, you can return to your doctor for a blood test to assess whether the process was a success.
As an IVF patient you’re recommended to rest and take things easy following the embryo transfer.
In most cases, patients generally return home immediately following the procedure.
Some women also experience psychological effects due to the hormone stimulation.
Therefore, it's also important to give yourself time to adjust and recover from this after your treatment.
IVF success rates vary by age.
Women under the age of 35 have a 31% success rate followed by 25% for those aged 35–37.
Success rates are 19% for women aged 38–39 and 11% for women aged 40–42.
For women older than 43, the success rate is around 5%.
POTENTIAL RISKS & SIDE EFFECTS
Multiple births and ectopic pregnancies.
Psychological symptoms such as mood swings and anxiety.
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) can result when egg sacks produce excess numbers of follicles.
IVF Costs: How Much Is the Procedure?
At Qunomedical, we understand that the financial implications of such fertility treatment can be disheartening for many people. We can help with this though, by assisting you in finding affordable options overseas. IVF costs are dependent on a number of different factors and they vary heavily between countries. The average cost of one IVF cycle in the UK is around €7,000. In comparison, the cost of one cycle of IVF in Spain is much lower, at around €3,500. Contact us and one of our patient managers will be happy to discuss this further with you in detail.
International Starting Prices
Cheap IVF doesn’t have to mean low quality. Many people travel abroad to save money on treatment that is just as good as, if not better than at home. Below is a list of popular countries and their average IVF starting prices. Please note that these are not fixed, as your final cost may be affected by further variables according to the country, clinic and doctor you choose. For more detailed information on pricing, have a read through our dedicated IVF cost guide.
|Price (EUR €)
What Is IVF?
Simply put, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a procedure which involves fertilizing the egg of a female outside the human body. Instead of sperm fertilizing the egg within the uterus, fertilization takes place in laboratory conditions, and the resultant embryo is then implanted in the woman's uterus.
This process is commonly used in cases where women are unable to conceive naturally, whether that be due to a known condition or simply unexplained infertility. IVF is also commonly used by male homosexual couples, or by single women who are looking to become pregnant. For female homosexual couples, reciprocal IVF is a successful alternative. This procedure involves one women in the couple providing the egg, while the other carries the baby.
The IVF Process Start to Finish
Below, we’ve outlined a detailed breakdown of how the IVF process works.
1. Stimulating the Ovaries
Before starting the IVF process, you will be prescribed a round of fertility medications in order to stimulate egg production. Typically, this takes the form of two injections per day that you can take at home. Your doctor may perform ultrasounds after around eight days to ensure that the eggs are developing. Towards the end of the stimulation period, you’ll get a “trigger injection” to prepare the eggs for ovulation.
2. Egg Retrieval
The second step in the IVF process involves collecting the eggs. For this procedure, you’ll be administered general anaesthesia, while your doctor guides a hollow needle into each ovary to obtain the eggs. Before the retrieval, your doctor will use ultrasound imaging to get an idea of how many eggs can be collected. The average number collected is 8–15. This procedure usually lasts 20–30 minutes and, as an outpatient, you’ll be able to leave the hospital that day.
3. Sperm Production
Once the eggs have been extracted, a sperm sample will be collected and combined with the eggs. If a sperm bank is being used, the previously selected donor sperm will already be ready in the lab.
4. Fertilization and Embryo Development
The next step in the IVF process involves fertilization. During this stage, the eggs and sperm will be placed in a dish (known as a vitro), where they’ll have the chance to fertilize as they would naturally in the body. The resulting embryos are then put into a special incubator for optimal growth and development. It can take anywhere from 3–6 days for the fertilized eggs to develop into embryos.
5. Embryo Transfer
The final stage involves transferring the embryos into the uterus. This procedure is surprisingly simple. The embryos are placed into a small tube, known as a catheter. The catheter is then inserted through the cervix and the embryos are deposited into the uterus. This only takes about five minutes and requires no general anaesthesia.
While this is a quick procedure, it’s recommended that you take it easy, especially during the first two weeks following the embryo transfer. In order to help achieve the maximum chance of success, try to eliminate all stress to create the best possible conditions for the embryos to implant.
If you notice some light bleeding during this time, there’s generally no reason to be worried. This is known as implantation bleeding and is fairly normal, but you should inform your doctor if the bleeding becomes heavy.
6. Pregnancy Test
You can take a pregnancy test 10–14 days after the embryo transfer. It’s recommended to wait for the blood test at the fertility clinic though, as home pregnancy tests might yield false results due to the high level of hormones in your body.
IVF Abroad: How It Works
As previously mentioned, IVF takes place in cycles that last around six weeks. If you choose to have IVF abroad, this doesn’t mean that you have to be away from home for the whole time. Some initial tests and part of the treatment can be done at home. This means that, if you prefer, you’ll only need to be at the fertility clinic abroad for four of the six stages. Together, these will take approximately 7–10 days.
IVF Abroad: Step by Step
Here’s a breakdown of the IVF steps outlining which can be done remotely and which usually need to be done at the clinic.
|Can be done at home
|Can only be done at the clinic
|Stimulating the ovaries
|Fertilization and embryo development
What Should I Expect From IVF Abroad?
IVF success rates are dependent on various factors, most notably, age. Women under the age of 34 have a 40% chance of achieving pregnancy via IVF, while the figure for those over 43 is around 5%.
If the first cycle was not successful, you might have the option to undergo a second one. Many patients go through multiple cycles before achieving a successful pregnancy. This can feel daunting. However, it’s not uncommon for women undergoing IVF to produce too many eggs for implantation. This then allows you to freeze eggs for future use and avoid the stimulation and retrieval phases in the following cycles.
Generally, you shouldn’t experience any significant pain during IVF, although minor cramping and discomfort can occur during the implantation stage. Side effects are usually mild, but can include constipation, breast tenderness, hot flashes, weight gain, nausea, and headaches. However, recovery from the implantation is virtually instant, and you’ll be able to leave the clinic on the same day.
Women may also experience psychological side effects as a result of in vitro fertilization. The hormones used to stimulate egg production are associated with mood swings and depression, while the anxiety of seeking a successful result can also be psychologically challenging. Remember to make use of your Qunomedical Patient Manager during this time. They will always be available for support and reassurance during your entire IVF treatment journey.
Popular Clinics and Doctors
Interested in finding out about popular options for IVF abroad, as well as the people involved? Have a look at our worldwide list of IVF doctors to find trustworthy and unbiased information on a range of the most popular ones among our past patients. The option to explore specific doctor profiles allows you to choose someone based on criteria that matters to you. Dr. Berk Angun for example has 22 years of experience and is based at the accredited Dunya IVF Clinic in Cyprus. Dr. Angun is an expert in the field of fertility and offers a number of unique IVF treatment packages.
Why Choose Qunomedical?
Qunomedical is built on the passionate belief that everyone should be able to access high-quality, affordable healthcare, regardless of their background. Our service always puts patients first and includes a 100% free, non-binding assessment. Whether you’re looking for some initial consultations regarding IVF abroad, or are ready to go ahead and book a clinic, our team of Patient Managers are there for you every step of the way. All of the Qunomedical approved doctors have been thoroughly vetted, so you can rest assured knowing that you’ll be receiving high-quality care.
Choe, J. (2022). "In Vitro Fertilization". Last visited 06.01.2023
Huang, J. (2012). "In vitro fertilisation treatment and factors affecting success" Last visited 06.01.2023
I had my IVF in Cyprus with an amazing team, honestly after trying for so long I really had lost all hope, I was being told different things by so many doctors and clinics. I decided to try abroad as a last resort and I am so thankful I did, the patience from my coordinator who was by my side every step, and the Dr who finally offered a different technique which miraculously worked the first time, I cannot recommend GaiaFertility enough and am eternally grateful to them"
It is really a pleasant experience during the treatment procedure in clinic "ECO". I am a foreigner patient, and do not know any Russian At first, I am afraid that we can not communicate with each other well. But under the help of the clinic's CEO, Elena Pilyagina, we fully understand each other. She is always helping, giving her professional advice, introducing the detailed treatment plan, solving all the question that I am confused of, and arranging all the stages of the program. And other staffs of the clinic are very kind as well, they are always on my side and explain all the issues that I care of. In a word, the treatment experience in clinic "ECO" is a great memory of my life.
Elena Vladimirovna started following me up back when she has been working in another clinic. I like this doctor a lot! First of all, she makes correct diagnoses and appoints proper treatment. There had never been an occasion when the medicine she appointed didn’t help. Secondly, she is a very pleasant person, a crimson heart. It is possible to discuss even unrelated subjects with her, she can give advice. I think it is also very important for a doctor. I definitely have no intention of switching to another specialist!
I was choosing the doctor by the rating and picked Anna Alexandrovna. The doctor made the best impression. She listened to me, personally performed ultrasonography and revealed the problem. I was offered two ways of solving it, and the doctor told me about both of them in great detail: what is going to happen, how it is going to happen, which is better for me personally. The doctor provided clean-cut and clear answers to every question I had. I consider her to be a very qualified specialist.