An out-of-body experience with IVF
IVF or in vitro fertilization seeks to fertilize an egg with sperm outside the body. The process can be long and complicated. However, IVF has been proven to be the most successful form of assisted reproductive technology or ART. First, the woman involved takes fertility medication to produce several mature eggs. Then, a doctor extracts the eggs, using a simple surgical procedure. A lab then combines the retrieved eggs with washed sperm from a partner or donor. Fertilized eggs turn into embryos after a few days. At this point, a doctor implants one or more embryos into the uterus. At least one embryo must attach to continue the gestation period.
Racking up those wins
Over the years, IVF success rates have steadily improved. Advancements in techniques and technology have provided more positive outcomes for couples. Success rates also vary by cycle. One cycle of IVF does not guarantee a pregnancy. IVF success rates are about 30% in the first cycle. By the 6th cycle, the success rate is as high as 68%. Of course, several factors affect success rates. And these factors also impact the type of treatment couples should attempt.
What’s the problem, doc?
How does someone know if IVF is the right fertility treatment? IVF seeks to treat persons considered infertile. But the factors behind infertility are just as important. Women with conditions like ovarian failure, PCOS, endometriosis, or hormonal issues may choose IVF. Other problems like fibroids, damage to fallopian tubes or an abnormal uterus reduces the chance of a natural pregnancy. IVF may be the best course of action in these cases. Male factor infertility, including low sperm count and motility, can prompt IVF or ICSI-IVF.
Age and other vital factors
All women are born with a reserve of eggs. With age, the odds of pregnancy steadily decrease. For instance, women over age 40 have significantly lower pregnancy rates. Men aren’t exempt either. The strength and quality of sperm decrease with age. Older couples with infertility can choose IVF at the advice of a doctor. There are other areas to consider besides age. These include finances, pregnancy history, same-sex couples, and available donors.
Consider IVF despite the challenges
IVF continues to be the most successful fertility treatment known. Success rates increase by cycle. Consider all factors when choosing a fertility treatment. These include age, current pregnancy history, fertility health, and lifestyle. IVF may also be the best bet if couples attempted other forms of treatment like IUI. Finally, look at the quality, care, and reputation of the fertility clinic. Speak with a doctor and clinic to decide on the right type of care and the right clinic.
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