IVF is the most advanced assisted reproductive technique with the success rates in Germany having reached in 2014 the unprecedented 60%. Being second to none in artificial fertilization, Germany has about 250 IVF units, which assist patients from more than 80 countries in fulfilling the dream about an own child. The European runners-up in reproductive medicine are Austria and Switzerland. Yearly these two countries attract about 150 000 international patients, in search for an efficient fertility treatment.
The most renowned European in vitro fertilization centers closely cooperate with the university clinics and scientific institutes. The direct access to the latest scientific investigations in reproductive medicine allows the European reproductive specialists to steadily increase the number of healthy IVF pregnancies and to sophisticate the existing techniques. Technologically advanced IVF laboratories, the latest reproductive tools as well as strict hygiene requirements contribute to higher pregnancy rate and attract an increasing number of patients from the USA, Canada, Great Britain and Saudi Arabia.
First glass tube fertilization: The thorny way to excellence!
The “fertilization in a glass tube” is a comparatively old method, which has been around since the 1970s. About 200 000 US couples participated in the first wide-ranging IVF experiment in 1970-1973, but only the luckiest one succeeded to get an IVF child. The girl named Louise Brown was born 1974 with help of in vitro fertilization and is now a healthy mother of two children. The Australian fertilization specialist, who is responsible for this success, got a Nobel Prize for his contribution to reproductive medicine. The refinement of the fertilization technique took place in the 80s and 90s of the 20th century in Germany and other European countries to achieve the astonishing results at the beginning of the 21st century. The WHO reports that around two million of IVF children were born since 1980. Due to the technological breakthroughs this number is going to double in the next decade.
Nowadays the IVF (fertilization) method is advised in case of
- sperm problems (30% of all infertility cases)
- ovulation disorders (20%)
- obstructed fallopian tubes (30%)
- unexplained (idiopathic) infertility (10%).
The German specialists speak about indications for assisted reproductive techniques (fertilization) in those types of infertility, which cannot be managed with hormone medication, minimally invasive (laparoscopic/ endoscopic) therapies or surgical interventions.
The following tests are usually performed before IVF:
- testing ovarian reserve (a key test for a female patient)
- semen analysis in a man
- estimated level of FSН and AMН as well as their correlation (this test is performed on the first days of the cycle)
- fallopian tubes screening
- blood hormones test
Before performing in-vitro fertilization, you get a face-to-face consultation with the fertility expert, who determines the indications for a certain reproductive method. In many cases phone or Skype consultation with a reproductive specialist is enough to decide, if you are an IVF candidate.
On coming to Germany for IVF tests and treatment you should plan your stay in advance. Many patients take a two-week vacation and combine tests, stimulation and embryo transfer with sightseeing and shopping, which helps to reduce stress and improve the inner balance. It would be reasonable to bring along your medical documentation, records and tests (in English or in German) in order to skip the unnecessary diagnosing steps and to accelerate the treatment process. Nevertheless in some cases it is really recommended to repeat the medical investigations in order to obtain more precise results.
Within the IVF protocol a woman’s egg is fertilized in a glass tube and then introduced into the uterus with the aim of pregnancy. The traditional IVF includes the following basic steps:
- The stimulation of multiple follicles (induction of superovulation)
- Follicle puncture and extracting the egg cells (oocytes)
- Fertilization in a glass tube
- Embryo selection and cultivation
- Genetic screening (to avoid genetic diseases in a future child)
- Transfer of the multicellular formation (embryo)
- Support of luteal phase after transfer
With the development of at least 3 follicles and endometrial thickness of 8.2 – 11.2 mm, the hormonal stimulation is carried out in order to trigger hCG level. Within 36-38 hours after the administration of hCG the transvaginal follicle puncture under intravenous sedation is done. The extracted eggs are further fertilized with the sperm of a partner at the IVF laboratory.
The embryo development is visualized with a special camcorder, placed into the incubators. After two days the most vital embryos are selected under microscopic control. They are cultivated up to the blastocyst stage, i.e. 4-5 days. The expert teams work closely together and treat each embryo individually as a small patient, as your future child.
Embryo transfer procedure is performed under the computer navigation control on the 5th or 6th day. The transfer of the embryo is almost painless. In some cases light sedation is needed in order to avoid stress and achieve the necessary relaxation. The remaining high-quality embryos after transfer can be frozen (vitrified), which means that you can avoid the hormonal stimulation, if you come up with the idea to have the next child at this clinic.
As an international patient you are especially privileged. You are consulted and examined by the chief physician and get individualized medical care.
Many couples worry about the consequences of fertility treatment for a future baby. Could IVF invoke deformities or mental diseases? According to the current state of scientific knowledge, the children born from IVF or ICSI are as healthy as those, conceived in a natural cycle.
A certain risk is associated with hormone stimulation of ovaries. The main reason for overstimulation occurrence is the introduction of excessive amount of medication. Due to high level of expertise, scientific advance and soft medication the risk of ovarian overstimulation is minimized at German fertility clinics.
German fertility centers promote holistic approaches and make use of the complementary and alternative methods of the Eastern medicine (methods of Ayurveda, herbal medicine, acupuncture, relaxation techniques etc.) to support the body and soul of a patient. The latest studies have shown that synergetic combination of different medical traditions contributes to higher IVF pregnancy rates and helps to give birth to healthier children.
The price is formed with the view to a variety of factors, such as the diagnosis, age, personal indications etc. The cost of a total IVF cycle incl. the medications is approximately € 6,200-7 000€ (medications and anesthesia/sedation amounts to 3,800 €). In some cases the public health insurance overtakes 50% of IVF expenditures for the first of three cycles. It refers to the EU citizens. To get an estimated cost for further IVF treatment, please call us or fill in the contact form on our website.
After the protocol you should plan at least two days stay at the hotel not far from the clinic, so that the specialist could monitor your condition. Try to relax, avoid any stress and think positive, since your mental condition may affect the health of your future child. It is a myth that no plane trips should be performed after the IVF. Nevertheless you shouldn’t carry heavy luggage and stay seated for a long time. The so called pregnancy marker (human chorionic gonadotropin) could be tested two weeks after the embryo transfer. The clinical pregnancy is determined with ultrasonography control on the 30-35th day after the IVF.
According to the GMG survey, about 85% of all international couples, applying for IVF help at German, Austrian or Swiss fertility centers, fulfill their dream about a baby.
German Medical Group is motivated to make your medical trip to Germany as simple, successful and stress-free as possible. Our aim is to achieve the best possible outcome for every couple with infertility diagnosis. Being a health services provider with more than 10 years of experience, we will
- answer every question you have
- consult you in finding the best specialist and clinic in Europe
- provide information on treatment costs (you always get estimate cost from the clinic)
- assist you in getting a medical visa (if you need one)
- arrange your stay at the hotel
- meet you at the airport
- accompany you to the clinic
- take care of your leisure time
- act as a helpful go-between, facilitating your efficient IVF treatment.
We want you to focus on treatment and not on organizational problems! For more information, please, call us and get a free expert consultation in English: + 49 (7221) 39-65-785.