If you or your partner experience difficulty in conceiving a child, you may have heard of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) as a potential fertility treatment option. IVF is a form of assisted reproductive technology that has helped countless couples around the world successfully conceive and give birth to healthy babies. In this article, we will explore what IVF is, how it works, and how it can boost your chances of having a child.
What is IVF?
IVF, or in vitro fertilization, is a fertility treatment that involves fertilizing eggs with sperm in a laboratory dish. Once fertilized, the embryos are then transferred to the uterus for implantation and potential pregnancy. This process of fertilization and implantation works to replace natural fertilization which usually occurs in the fallopian tubes. The first successful IVF procedure was carried out in 1978 and since then, there have been steady increases in its demand and success rate.
How does IVF work?
The IVF process involves several steps, which are as follows:
Step 1: Ovarian Stimulation
Before the IVF procedure begins, the woman receiving treatment must undergo ovarian stimulation to encourage the development of multiple follicles, which contain eggs. Fertility medications are used to achieve this, and a number of tests and ultrasounds are conducted to monitor the development of the follicles.
Step 2: Retrieval of Eggs
Once the follicles have matured, the eggs are collected via a simple surgical procedure known as egg retrieval. This involves inserting a needle into the ovary and suctioning the eggs out of the follicles.
Step 3: Fertilization
After the eggs have been collected, semen is collected from the male partner or a donor and prepared for fertilization in the laboratory dish. The eggs and sperm are then mixed together to allow fertilization to take place.
Step 4: Embryo Culture
Once fertilized, the embryos are left to develop in the laboratory for several days. During this time, they are monitored carefully to ensure that they are developing correctly.
Step 5: Embryo Transfer
The final step involves transferring the embryos to the woman’s uterus, where they will hopefully implant and develop into a pregnancy. This procedure usually involves passing a small catheter through the cervix and into the uterus, where the embryos are deposited.
What are the benefits of IVF?
IVF has many benefits, including:
- The ability to conceive when other fertility treatments have failed
- The ability to conceive without sexual intercourse
- The ability to screen for genetic disorders before implantation
- The chance to use donated eggs or sperm if one partner is infertile
Additionally, IVF presents the opportunity to conceive and carry a child to full term when a woman or her partner are dealing with infertility issues. IVF has helped millions of people around the world build families and achieve their dream of becoming parents.
Who is a candidate for IVF?
IVF is a viable option for individuals or couples experiencing infertility related to:
- Blocked fallopian tubes or other reproductive disorders
- Ovarian failure or low ovarian reserve
- Male factor infertility, including low sperm count or mobility
- Unexplained infertility
Individuals or couples may also choose to undergo IVF for genetic screening to prevent the transmission of certain genetic disorders, or to overcome obstacles to conception associated with advanced age, same-sex couples or single parents-to-be.
What are some of the risks associated with IVF?
As with any medical procedure, IVF has some risks, which may include the following:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Multiple pregnancies, such as twins or triplets
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
- Bleeding or infection
However, with modern advances in technology and experienced, licensed professionals, these risks are minimal compared to the life-changing benefits that many individuals and couples find through IVF treatment.
What is the success rate of IVF?
The success rate of IVF depends on a variety of factors, including age, health, and the reason for treatment. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the live birth rate per transfer for IVF procedures that use non-frozen embryos is approximately:
|Age||Percentage Live Births per Transfer|
It is important to keep in mind that these statistics represent a range of potential outcomes and that the success rates may be different for each individual case. By working with a fertility specialist, patients can gain a better understanding of their own chances of success under IVF treatment.
What is the cost of IVF?
As with many medical procedures, the cost of IVF can vary depending on a range of factors, such as location, the clinic’s fees, and the patient’s specific needs. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), the average cost of one IVF cycle is around $12,000 to $15,000 in the United States. However, many fertility clinics offer financing and insurance options to help make IVF more accessible and affordable for patients.
In vitro fertilization, or IVF, is a remarkable fertility treatment that offers hope to individuals and couples facing infertility. By enabling artificially-assisted fertilization and transfer of embryos to the uterus, IVF presents the opportunity to conceive and carry a pregnancy to full term. Although IVF has some risks and uncertainties, the process has helped many people worldwide to overcome infertility and build happy families.
- What are the chances of getting pregnant on the first try with IVF?
- Is IVF painful?
- Are there any age restrictions for IVF?
There is no guarantee of pregnancy through IVF and success rates vary depending on multiple factors. Multiple IVF cycles may be necessary to achieve pregnancy. Speak to your fertility doctor for the best advice on your individual case.
IVF may involve some mild discomfort, but patients are given anesthesia during the egg retrieval process. Some minor bloating, cramping, or spotting may also occur. Speak to your fertility doctor for more information regarding specific experiences for individual cases.
There is no age limit for IVF. However, the age of the female undergoing treatment may impact the chances of success, as well as the risks associated with the procedure. Speak to your fertility doctor for more information regarding specific experiences for individual cases.
- American Society for Reproductive Medicine. (2008). Medications for Inducing Ovulation. Fertility and Sterility, 90(3), S169-S171. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2008.08.003
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2020). ART National Summary Report 2018. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.cdc.gov/art/artdata/index.html
- Schmidt, L. ., Oldereid, N. B., & Maltuf, …