The Truth About In Vitro Fertilization
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a fertility treatment used to help people conceive a child. Known as assisted reproductive technology (ART), IVF consists of various treatments that require the eggs and sperm of donors to produce a child. IVF treatments are common for people that struggle with fertility problems like impaired sperm production, ovulation disorders, or uterine fibroids.
Who is a candidate for IVF?
Not everyone will be an ideal candidate for the procedure. Here are some quick stats about IVF:
- IVF is most likely to work for women age 35 and under. This is because a woman’s egg quality starts to deteriorate after age 35.
- A typical IVF cycle lasts for 4-6 weeks.
- Approximately 1 million babies were born between 1987-2015 using assisted reproductive technology such as IVF.
What is egg retrieval?
Egg retrieval is a step in the IVF method that allows the doctor to take eggs directly from a woman’s ovaries to fertilize with sperm. Once the eggs have been extracted, the fertility specialist uses sperm cells to fertilize eggs in a lab. The doctor may grow the eggs for up to 5 days before placing the embryo into the uterus. If the implantation is successful, this means the doctor places the embryo into a woman to carry the baby to full-term. The main difference between IVF and other forms of ART is the way the baby is conceived. The embryo is conceived in a laboratory versus natural conception within the body.
The reality of IVF
Due to the complexities of IVF, many people opt out of the treatment. Success rates are high with about 21% of women under the age of 35 birthing a healthy baby to full-term. However, many patients have to go through multiple IVF cycles, and a healthy pregnancy is not guaranteed. Still, IVF treatment remains one of the best options for people struggling with fertility issues, especially ovulation or uterine disorders and low sperm count.
What should patients do?
The best thing for patients to do is to speak with a fertility specialist. Contrary to popular belief, IVF is not the first fertility treatment doctors use when helping a patient. Doctors usually suggest the treatment after other methods like fertility drugs fail to yield results. Patients should also research fertility specialists to learn more about the procedures used and the success rates.
Consult a professional
IVF is a step-by-step process that involves hormone injections, blood tests, ultrasounds, extractions, and more. Patients need to be comfortable with the fertility specialist and all parties involved should be open and honest throughout the process. To learn more about the procedure, schedule a consultation with a healthcare professional.