Should You Bring The Kitchen Sink?

CONTRIBUTED BY HEATHER GELORMINE

Last week we opened a new post about pregnancy and childbirth at Lester Naval Hospital for discussion, in order to update the information for all our mommies (and daddies)-to-be.  This week we’re heading off-base, returning to a discussion about In Vitro Fertilization for those couples who may be requiring assistance in growing their families.  A reader recently sent us this email:

My husband and I are looking into the IVF process in Okinawa and just found out that a couple of things have changed over the year since the last post on this topic. Last week we were told by the TriCare office on Kadena AB that a referral for this process is no longer required since TriCare will not cover for any expenses that will lead to the IVF treatment (neither consultation, treatment, nor medication).

However, you can obtain a referral if you want your Primary Care Physician on Kadena AB to keep track of the process (optional). The TriCare staff also gave me a flyer for Adventist Medical Center (AMC) which I contacted today as well to schedule a consultation appointment. I was fairly disappointed when the AMC staff told me that they no longer offer IVF treatment because the IVF physicians no longer work for AMC. I also contacted the Itokazu Women’s Clinic in Naha in hope of getting a consultation appointment there, but was told by the clinic staff that they no longer offer IVF as well due to absent of physician 🙁

After a little bit of research, I’ve found that the Ryukyu University Hospital offers IVF treatment. I then contacted the hospital (I must say that there are only a few staff with ok English knowledge) and asked to schedule an appointment for IVF. The staff there transferred my call directly to the responsible doctor (Dr. Yagi), who sounded very proficient in English, and I was able to schedule an appointment for next week! 🙂 At this point, I don’t know anything about the costs, procedure, etc. yet but I hope to be able to let the OkinawaHai community know soon. Meanwhile I hope that other people can share their recent IVF story on Okinawa with us.

So, friends, tell us: have you and your spouse recently looked into – or successfully accomplished – IVF treatments while stationed on Okinawa?  What feedback can you give to others that are looking into this option?

Note: The previous post on this topic is full of information and questions; however, in an effort to update the conversation we have closed comments on that post.

Thanks to all of you who can help make this process (a teeny, tiny bit) less intimidating for all our hopeful-parents-to-be!

80 COMMENTS

  1. Hello ladies,

    Just wanted to check in. I’m Happy to say my baby is now 6 months old after doing IVF with Dr. Yagi. My husband wants a second child now. So we will be starting round 2 of IVF with Dr yagi since we still have about 7 frozen embryo’s left from the first batch of IVF. We are in hopes for a little girl this time. Best of luck to you all, I hope everyone is having a wonderful experience working with Dr Yagi. 🙂 God bless each and every one of you.

    Xoxox

  2. Hey everyone! I’ve been on the island now for 4 months:) I did IVF back in the states in 2011. I only had one, day 5 embrio out of 4, so it was our only shot, I bled the day after the transfer and I was devastated. I do have 2 children i had naturally before i had a fallopian tube removed and my other one scarred over. I was not searching to do IVF again, but I happen to come across this website and well I still am wanting a baby, so now I’m really considering doing IVF again considering it is drastically less costly than the states:) ok I had my first when I was 20, I am 31 now, my question is how long is the process here? I don’t want to wait too much longer, It took about 2 months for the whole process in the states. My husband deploys in October so I’m wondering if it will be possible to be seen and have the process going by then? Thank ya’ll I feel so blessed to have happend upon this site:) Good luck to you all!!!:)

  3. Hi ladies, there is a Facebook forum for Okinawa ladies going through infertility treatment. The girls on there might be able to help with any questions you might have.

    Here is the Facebook info: infertility forum in Okinawa

  4. Hi I am 21 and my husband is 29 years old we tried 3 rounds of clomid/trigger/iui all 3 failed now were moving on to ivf we began treatment in may anyone in okinawa is doing ivf in may also I’m seeing dr.yagi here is m email if you like to keep in contact and talk [email protected]

  5. Hello,
    I’m pretty sure you have to have a referral from the doctors here. It doesn’t take long. Mine only took 2 days and I had my appointment at ryuyku hospital with in a week. Doctor Yagi is great. Speaks great English and is very nice. I am going through Ivf butim pretty sure they do iui too. If you have any questions my emails posted above. I’d be glad to help if I could.

    • I didn’t need a referal since I was paying out of pocket myself. They do walk-in’s on fidays mornings as well. Dr Yagi is so amazing. 🙂

  6. Hello! I am so happy that this thread exists! You all have really put my mind at ease! My husband and i just found out that we are being transferred to Okinawa. We are in the midst of fertility treatments (timed intercourse, getting ready to start IUI) so our first concern was continuing this if needed. The information is great. A couple of questions:, is anyone civilian? We will have base medical privileges, but I wasn’t sure if we still need a referral from base or if a US doctor referral will suffice. Please excuse me this is my first PCSexperience, so the lingo is new. Also is Ryukyu available for IUI, etc. or only IVF? Any other suggestions as we begin this fertility journey overseas? Thanks.

  7. Tesha it cost about 3800 American depending on the yen rate. Our first cycle failed and we are now starting our first frozen transfer.

  8. Well in the fresh transfer I was giving stimulant drugs to make produce multiple eggs. When they did the extraction procedure I wasn’t awake. I was very uncomfortable when I woke up but not all women have discomfort. A frozen transfer is when the thaw my left over eggs. I don’t have to have stimulant drugs. I just have to take a pill that stops my natural ovulation and a patch but I’m not real sure what the patch is for. I will be awake for the transfer. The first transfer didn’t bother me at all.

  9. Hi Octavia
    Well we did a fresh transfer and it failed so now we are about to start our first frozen transfer. The hospital is great. Dr. Yagi is wonderful. She speaks great English and is super nice. It took me a few times to get used to the procedures at the hospital but I’m a pro now lol. If you have any specific questions just let me know.

  10. I was referred to the hospital and dr Yagi. We did IVF. I find out my results on Friday so I will be able to tell you then. I can tell you that my experience with the hospital and dr Yagi has been wonderful. She is so nice and professional.

  11. Has anyone heard/had any success with IUI at Ryukyu University? If no, what is your situation? if you don’t mind sharing. We had it done (IUI) at AMU 5x and we failed every time. My hubby’s count was really low. Now his count is extrememly high and we are wanting to give it a try again. Any information you can provide would be great.

  12. My doc at Lester mentioned that he would refer my husband and I to Ryukuya University. We were wanting to start with IUI. Has anyone had/heard about anyone’s success with that. Any information anyone can provide would be great! Thanks.

  13. This my saound like stupid question, but can IFV if you have no problem having a baby, but you just dont want to wait, and DO YOU HAVE TO HAVE referrel to see DR yagi?

    sorry for misspelling

  14. Hi again lol. I have a few more questions. We had our first consult appt and my next appt is tomorrow. I am a little nervous to go by myself. My husband can’t go with me. My questions are. Did you get you parking verified all the time or is it just the first appt and did you pay for everything the first time or as you go to each appt. Also what happened on your first appt? Is there anyone that succeeded on their first cycle. Sorry for all the questions. Thanks again for any info.

  15. Hi shae
    How long did it take to get your first appt? I should have my referral next week. After you first appt how long after will you start te process? Thanks in advance for the info

    • Hi Cheryl,

      It took about 3 weeks after my referral to get my first appointment, but then it had to be reschulded due to a typhoon. So it took another three weeks or so to get the 2nd one. Tricare pays for the 1st visit and Kadena has a translator that attends with you also on the 1st visit. I didn’t need her as much when speaking with Dr. Yagi, but she was VERY helpful with getting me registered in the hospital and helping me fill out the forms and talking with the nurse who took my weight, height and asked some history questions. After meeting with her Dr. Yagi on Monday, she said I can start IVF when my menstrual begins which for me will be in about two weeks or so.

  16. Greetins Everyone,

    I’ve read the posts and felt compelled to add. I went through IVF in the states at Wilford Hall AFB and it cost us $2800 and that includes everything. So if you’re PSCing to the states, please get a referral to Wilford Hall AFB. This is one way the Air Force is assisting us who need this procedure. They also do the procedure at Walter Reed Hospital at about the same price so I’ve heard.

    The staff at Wilford Hall was more than compassionate and the process was as smooth as could be. My 1st attempt was successful and I now have a son…this was 4 years ago.

    My husband and I just recently decided to try for a second child. We got the referral through my PCM to Ryuku University and I also will be seeing Dr. Yagi. I am almost 36 so I wanted to try again now. I’ve had my first visit and should start the process in about two weeks or so.

    I can’t answer questions right now about the process here, but after talking with Dr. Yagi, she said it’s pretty much the same process as done in the states.

    With that in mind, I am willing to share my 1st experience of going throug IVF with anyone who has questions. Congrtulations to all who’s had recent success and may the Lord bless us also with the same…

  17. Once you have your referral letter you can go to Ryukyu Hospital please be there in the morning coz first time patients are only entertained until 11:00 in the morning. There’s someone in the counter that speaks English too. You will be seen by the doctor on the same day. Take care!

  18. Hi Cheryl,

    You know our situation is the same, My two fallopian tubes are blocked and swollen. So my only option to get pregnant is to have IVF treatment. We are from Off-base, Ive seen several hospital here in Okinawa but luckily I was referred to Ryukyu University Hospital in the care of Dr. Yagi. As far as Ive read several stories who are on base, they ask a referral from your hospital and they proceed to Ryukyu University Hospital.

    If you have already a referral letter, you can go to Ryukyu Hospital, there Dr. Yagi can see you and she will give you the best advice for your situation. She is an amazing person, she can speak english well. Or you can call first before you go 098-895-3331 person at the information can speak english too.

    Please search the group of Infertility Forum in Okinawa, there you can read many information regarding Ryukyu Univ Hospital and so with the direction in going there.

    Goodluck!

  19. And please if anyone has the number to the hospital can you please include it. I have been looking for it but can’t. Is it true that I just need to walk in also and if so how do I get there from foster. Thank you

  20. Hi my husband and i just found out that our only option is IVF. My doctor on lester told me that I would have a better chance and it would be cheaper to wait a year and do it back in the states. From what I have read that is not true at all. If anyone can please help me with any info on how to get the process started and your opinion on waiting till we pcs would be great. I really dont want to wait a year to try but i also dont want to waste our money if there id only a slight chance it would work. Nothing is wrong with me except that one of my tubes is blocked and the other is damaged. everything else is working great. PLEASE HELP!!!

    • I have just done IVF and it was a success … I can tell you on the East Coast it is not cheaper i was quoted 6,000-10,000 i’m not sure about the West coast. But my husband took orders to Okinawa because of the IVF prices which are around 200,000-300,000 Yen much better price. I recommend taking advantage and doing your IVF here. Hope that helps Cheryl.

  21. Yes ask you family practice dr. and they will give you a referral to OBGYN clinic. They will then in turn give you a referral off base. I made an appt and got the consultation reimbursed since I did not wait for the referral. Please note that Tricare will only pay for the first consultation and that is all. Then everything else is out of pocket. Good Luck .

  22. I will be doing IVF. I am assigned to Lester. Step 1. Getting a referral to Ryuku Medical Hospital. Just ask my Family practice doctor for one?

  23. Thank you so much Elsa…Can I ask you some questions? After your egg retrieval how’s the condition of your endometrium lining? Does it below 8mm?

    After my egg retrieval, my endometrium lining is only 6.5mm thats why the fertilized cells will be freezed, we will wait for my next cycle….

    Yes this time WE will wait patiently…I will not be in a hurry..we will just wait for the right
    time..God is Good…God knows whats good for us..

    Take care always..hows your early pregnancy?

    • Marjo …

      My lining was very good after it was double the normal size so i’m guess that would be the reason for a successful outcome. On the other hand my ovaries were a concern to me being that they took months to shrink back to a somewhat normal size. I’m praying for all you ladies and hoping God blesses you all. It’s hard we were trying for 4 years, so i totally understand. But i can reassure you with “Dr Yagi” you’re in the best of hands. I’m very excited and happy to say i’m 12 weeks 4 days pregnant and the pregnancy has been great no morning sickness, to cramping, bleeding, or any complications “Thank God!” Still waiting on the sex of the baby but whatever God chooses to bless us with we will be more than happy to welcome into this world. Good Luck To all And Don’t Lose Faith OR ever Give up….. Determination and Prayers will get you what you want.

  24. Congratulations Elsa!!! I was very pleased with Dr Yagi. I am excited that my turn is coming up LOL 🙂 Keep us updated. And thank you Marjo. I have been tryignt o have a baby for 16 years. With my history, Dr Yagi is making a plan to help me succeed as close to term as possible. I have created a FB page INFERTILITY IN OKINAWA so that women like ourselves can have a page to talk semi-privately on and ask questions, give advise and support. Hope to see some of you on the page. CONGRATS AND GOOD LUCK LADIES!!!

    • Thank you! Wishing you nothing but the best, with Dr. Yagi on your side i’m sure you’ll be just as blessed… <3 May God Bless you! 🙂

  25. Hi Elsa, CONGRATULATIONS! i am so happy for the outcome of all your hardworks, the needles, patience in coming to hospital everyday for the injections…I wish you well on your pregnancy and take care of yourself…

    And hoping, I will be like you shouting that i made it, now im on my 7th day of FSH injection with Dr. Yagi, yes you are right she is so amazing in caring for her patients…

    Again Congratulations!

    Marjo

    • Thank you so much Marjo I appreciate that. I will keep all of you ladies in my prayers So that god may help bless you with the same out come. My thoughts are with you! 🙂

      A little advise ladies NEVER Lose hope/Faith With God all things are possible!!

  26. Hello Everyone,

    I’m back to give an up date. I did visit and meet with Dr. Yogi she is so amazing i am so happy with my over all experience. After my 1st consultation I was so impressed with the way Dr. Yogi took such great time in explaining every question and detail that i decided to go for it. Thank the heaven I did because here i am 3 months later and 1st IVF attempt i’m so ecstatic to say i’m 5 weeks pregnant. I could not be more grateful to her and her team for the hard work & dedication they put into making my dreams come true.

    Sincerely, Elsa 🙂

  27. Hi Christina, welcome to this forum…I hope and pray that you will be blessed with baby thru IVF, I know Dr. Yagi will take care of you…I was there yesterday doing the blood test and fortunately today is my fist day of FSH injection…and hopefully we will be successful in this cycle..Base from my readings, acupuncture helps while having the treatment thats why I do have every saturday a session for acupuncture, she is also a fertility acupuncturist. If you are located in kadena its near gate 2. Shuji-san & Mutsuko-san are couple doing acupuncture plus massage. Here is the contact number (098)-9381630. Shuji-san can speak english very well, they are very nice couple. You can call them for the location and for an appointment. Goodluck to all of us.

  28. Hello ladies my name is Christina, I have read all of the comments and agree, Dr. Yagi is a very compassionate Dr. I have had problems for as long as I cna remember and have been through it all. My husband and I did IVF in Iwakuni when we were stationed there in 2003-2006 and I unfortunately lost my twins due to imcompetent cervix, I had to give birth way too early. But we are trying again. I am 41 and i know there are more complications as we get older. We tried in the states but it was way too expensive. I seen Dr. Yagi again today and we are starting the process. She is aware of all the complications I had before and will be providing the extras I need. I wish you all well and much success. If you have any questions please feel free to ask me, again I have went through it all 🙂 [email protected]

  29. Hello Sandi,

    I too wish you all the best. It has been very emotional for us, but reading everyone’s post here has finally gotten me to think more positive. I have a few questions to ask you so I will be calling you soon.

    Marjo, thank you for the info, I was planning on leaving early in the morning. My doctor has already given me my referral and approval letter all we are waiting on now, are my 21 day labs and my husbands analysis next month and then we will be heading to see the doctor there. Good luck to all.

  30. Hello Sandi! Congratulations you did a great job! I will be praying for you…take care and be safe always..

    I am also on my 1st step on IVF treatment at Ryukyu Hospital. Can I bother to ask you the following :
    How many days did you have your FSH injections?
    During your FSH injection, is there any changes in your body? or moods?
    How’s the egg retrieval? Is it painful?

    Thank you so much, hoping to get insights from you…
    Godbless you..

  31. Hi Chantal, Better to be there in the morning becuase they only accept walk-ins until 11am. At first the staff will ask you about your clinical historyI before you will be seen by the Dr. on the same day. I am under Dr. Yagi’s care, she is great, she can communicate well in english and is very compassionate with her patients.

    We are on the same situation, my 2 fallopian tubes are badly damaged. I know she can give you better options/solution that suits your condition.

    GOODLUCK TO ALL OF US! Pray hard and dont loose hope, GODBLESS!

  32. Hey everyone my name is Sandi, I have gone through the IVF process actually just had the transfer done on Monday. I had my procedure done at Ryuku Medical and I can answer all the questions anyone has. Also I live on Kadena and work on Foster. Any of you can contact me anytime my cell is 08037308754 please text anytime or you can email me at [email protected]. I will be happy to answer any questions and let me just say I had the most amazing experience at Ryuku and I am currently 2 days post transfer and find out next wednesday if the babies are sticky! I had two put in!

  33. Hi my name is chantal, and I will be trying IVF within the next 2 months, we are still waiting on my 21 day labs and my husband’s analysis next month and then we will go through Ryukyu hospital. I already got my referral letters as well as my aprooval letter from my doctor. I had a co-worker call for me and they told us that they do walk ins only for first time patients. Those are Monday, Wednesday and Friday’s. Has anyone had luck there yet? I have so many questions regarding what happens the first time around and what happens after the first visit? I had a tubal done a few years back, but went in for an HSG procedure in January but was told that my tubes were severed at the end’s and that is what is needed for the egg to travel. So our doctor gave us the go ahead for IVF. I hope to hear back from someone soon. Do any of you know eachother away from this site? I am a newlywed living on Kadena just thought it might be nice to show moral support away from this blog. Good luck to all of you!

  34. Hi everybody!

    I am a patient of Dr. Yagi at Ryukyu University Hospital, she is really amazing, compassionate and I am well taken cared of. I was last March that Dr.V. of Adventist MEd. Center referred me to Her, but she check me very carefully…My 2 fallopian tubes are totally blocked but last May she tried her best to repair it thru non-invassive laparoscopy, but unfortunately my tubes are badly damaged, so she told me to have an IVF treatment to get pregnant…During my Hospitalization, she took care of me very well, she even visited me 3 times a day and I can feel her compassion and love for the patient. I would like to commend also the nurses & staff at the admitting section, they are really nice, they tried their best to speak in english so that we could understand each other..

    Now I am on the first stage of preparation for IVF treatment, Dr. Yagi prescribed me to have a nasal spray in order to prevent ovulation period..

    Regarding the fee, its really affordable! Dr. Yagi gave me the breakdown for it, it will only cost us barely more than Y300,000. I am praying and hoping that it will be successful and we will be blessed with a healthy baby!

    Goodluck to all of us who are in the same situation! GODBLESS!

  35. Sandi,

    Thank you so much for sharing. That is so nice to hear how it works at Ryukyu Medical. That is at Ryukyu University Hospital right? The pricing is really nice. My thoughts are with you on your IVF process. Please keep us posted.

  36. Hi there, my name is Sandi, I have been working with Ryuku Medical for a couple of months now, done IUI twice with no luck and doing IVF process the beginning of June, I love the place and Dr. Yagi is amazing, she speaks very good English and is amazing. I have not needed any help with finding my way around and those who cant speak english will direct you, and down front there are people who speak English. I will let everyone know how IVF goes. Also as far as cost goes, IUI is running us about 200 USD per attempt and IVF is going to cost about 3,000 USD, but keep in mind that 3,000 covers everything, your shots, your visits, your checkups so its a great deal!!!!!!!

    • Thanks Sandy … 3,000 sounds great. I was quoted 15,000 back in the states, So this post just made my day!! 🙂 Good luck to you may god bring you a beautiful blessing!

  37. Hi Elsa,

    I don’t have any updates yet, but I have a doctors appoinment 7/13/2012. I will keep this post updated. It does take awhile to get a doctors appoinment here. I am using Alba Clinic and it was a 6 month wait. Hope you are enjoying your time here. Let me know if you have any questions.

    • Hi April,
      I have my first appointment with Alba next week. I am looking to start IVF ASAP. I was just curious to see how your experience was with them? I have been getting mixed reviews. Thanks 🙂

  38. Hi,

    Thank you for your post. It is very helpful as I will start my IVF in Okinawa.
    Currently I live in CA and I’ve been seen a doctor here.
    We will be PCSing to Okinawa summer 2012.
    I already got information that I will get referral to Ryukyu University Hospital when I get there.
    I still have a couple of months to get there, but I am Japanese and if any of you need help, like making an appointment or getting information on the phone, I would love to help.
    Please let me know and I will look forward to getting more information from people who has done any treatments at Ryukyu University hospital.
    Thanks!

    • Hi Coco chan, have you made it here? If you have welcome to the island. I would like to get to know you since you will also be getting if. 🙂

    • Hi i was info on Ryukyu university. How much is ivf? Is there a waitinv list. We r move to oki in Dec and i am just trying to plan and save up money. Thank you for ur help

    • Hi, i will be move over there sometime soon and i need to find a place that does IVF and the success rates of them. I was trying to find out the cosr of them so i know what to put back. Thanks alot

  39. Hi carri, thanks for your info. But at this point intime hows your IVF treatment at ryukyu university hospital? My situation is the same as you, i have been at Adventist Medical Center but the doctor will refer me to Ryukyu university hospital. Will be glad if you can be able to share with me and for the others with the same situation your treatment at that hospital. Looking forward to hearing from you..your sharing of experience will be greatly appreciated. Thank you so much!

  40. Carri,

    Thank you so much for the post. I would love to hear more about your IVF treatment. My e-mail address is [email protected]. Trying to get IVF on island is really difficult and I am truly grateful for any help I can get.

    April

  41. Heather, Carri, GT and Julia , I was wondering if you are still researching IVF treatment for Okinawa . I just started looking into it and would love to know what you have found out. I just got both of my Fallopian tubes removed and IVF is my last hope of getting pregnant.

    • Hi April and all else who may benefit from this,

      I started getting info from Ryukyu University Hospital and I am currently in the process of IVF with them. My tubes are tied and that is the only reason I am going this route. My University Hospital experience so far has been great, the only down fall is they don’t speak english, The doctor does but thats it. I happened to find someone in the waiting room that spoke english on my first visit and she helped me start the process. Once your process is started getting around and communication gets easier. You can walk in on M,W and Fridays from 9 to 11am i believe in the gyn/ob dept . There is no apt for the first apt only walk in, good luck! If you have any other question just ask 🙂 I would love to help.

  42. I know this is about IVF but usually if you’ve come this far in the fertility treatment world you’ve learned a few things about other types of treatments. My husband and I used a combination of pills and a HCG injection to get pregnant with our daughter. We’re PCSing to Okinawa next week and while we aren’t looking to try for #2 right now (DD is just 2 months old!) we would like to have another baby during our stay on the island. Does the women’s clinic on base offer any types of help with infertility or must we go off base even for the “basics”? Thanks and good luck to everyone!

  43. I have been trying to get a referral for infertility as well, and was told that I can’t get one to the Ryukyu University Hospital unless I have someone with me who can speak Japanese. Very frustrating!

    It has been a few weeks since this post went up — have you had your appointment and if so, how did it go?

  44. Hi I just read your article and I too just got off the phone with AMC and I am very disappointed. I tried calling the university you mentioned but no one spoke english. HELP! I am very excited to get this started but need more info, if you could give me the number you used to get in contact with them and any info they told you that would be great. Thank you in advance :).

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