Malaysia is fast becoming a choice destination for healthcare travellers seeking assisted reproductive treatments. One of the pull factors contributing to this is the country’s high pregnancy success rates, particularly among middle-aged women, who are able, healthy and yearning for children.
Among others, the country has recorded successful pregnancy rates of nearly 83% via the transfer of a single good and healthy euploid blastocyst, and an approximate 68% success rate via embryo transfers for women over 41 years old with pre-implantation genetic testing (PGT). This has been instrumental in paving the way for the country as the Fertility Hub of Asia.
A key factor to this success lies in the capabilities of the respective fertility centres to select the best healthy embryos. This is where genetic screening can help. Sunfert International Fertility Centre (Sunfert) is one of the first fertility centres in Malaysia to launch PGT using a next-generation sequencing-based platform, which promises better precision.
According to Dr. Lim Lei Jun, the centre’s Medical Director and Fertility Specialist, “PGT is not widely available around the world. However, it is easily accessible here in Malaysia. A unique thing about Sunfert is that we offer karyomapping. This gives us one platform to perform PGT for monogenic diseases (PGT-m) and PGT for Aneuploidies (PGT-a) at one go.”
Another fertility centre that offers PGT is Sunway Fertility Centre (Sunway). “The testing is done within our facility by our dedicated geneticists, who can provide a comprehensive report and clarify which are the euploid, i.e. genetically normal, embryos. With this procedure, our pregnancy rates have increased significantly,” shared Dr. Ashley Chung Soo Bee, the centre’s Consultant Obstetrician, Gynaecologist and Fertility Specialist.
TMC Fertility & Women’s Specialist Centre (TMC), on the other hand, recently introduced a screening service that checks for any genetic conditions that may contribute to infertility, compromise treatment efficacy and/or be passed on to the next generation.
“Named the Fertility GeneCode, this breakthrough screening procedure allows us to determine any genetic issues that the couple might be facing that prevents them from conceiving, as well as identifying the types of medications that are more favourable for each couple and which treatments to avoid,” said Dr. Navdeep Singh Pannu, TMC’s Medical Director.
Meanwhile, Alpha IVF & Women’s Specialist Centre debuted the world’s first artificial intelligence (AI) application with a 25% improvement in accuracy for IVF in Malaysia in 2020. This technology facilitates the selection of healthy embryos to increase the chances of a viable pregnancy and, eventually, a healthy baby and mother.
“I am excited to say that our very first case was a success. More importantly, in 2021, a happy couple became proud parents because of this AI, and a new milestone was notched as we welcomed the first healthy baby born using AI in South-East Asia,” said Adelle Lim, the centre’s Chief Embryologist.
In addition to higher efficacy rates, treatments in Malaysia are also competitively priced. In fact, the cost of an IVF cycle, excluding medications, is one of the lowest rates in Asia and the world. Furthermore, the country is home to 10 out of only 37 fertility centres worldwide that are certified by the Reproductive Technology Accreditation Committee (RTAC), which means that they meet international standards in various areas in their quality management systems, including process controls, competencies of their key personnel and service requirements.
“Today, with our borders open again, healthcare travellers will no longer need to observe quarantine, making it easier for them to seek treatment in Malaysia. Malaysia Healthcare is committed to ‘Giving Hope to Dreams’ of aspiring parents, and we are excited to welcome healthcare travellers from all over the world to come and be a step closer to conceiving your dreams of expanding your family,” said Mohd Daud Mohd Arif, Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC).