Try, Try Again

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a form of assisted reproductive therapy (ART) that has helped countless women and couples have a baby. While the procedure isn’t the only fertility option a person can try, IVF has the highest success rates. Many people are surprised to realize that most couples require multiple rounds of IVF, and a baby is not guaranteed. At what point should a couple consider using donor sperm or eggs?


Multiple rounds required

As successful as IVF can be when compared with other procedures, individual results vary widely based on various factors. Age is the biggest determiner of success, but overall health and the quality of the eggs and sperm used can also affect the outcome. Doctors usually recommend that a woman or couple be prepared to undergo 2-4 cycles, especially if the woman is over age 35. Newer research suggests that women over 40 may need as many as 6 cycles to get pregnant.

Using donor egg and sperm

All infertility cases are due to 1 of 3 causes. In a third of cases women are the problem, in another third the man is infertile, and in the final third both members contribute to the problem. The good news is that all 3 causes of infertility can be overcome with a donor. Using donor sperm can also be a solution for couples where the man suffers from poor sperm mobility, quantity, or quality. When the cause of infertility is female-driven, a donor egg can be used.

When to consider a donor

Unless a couple is older or has known egg or sperm issues, a fertility specialist will rarely recommend using a donor after a single failed cycle. However, for women with low ovarian reserve or females over 40, an egg donor may be necessary. If the male partner has very low sperm count or quality, a sperm donor can also be considered. Every case is unique and needs to be discussed with a fertility specialist to determine the best action plan.

Staying positive during treatment

IVF is stressful, even for younger couples that are considered ideal candidates. While the procedure offers the highest success rates of all ART solutions, the process is expensive and emotionally draining. Remember that success rates can vary widely by clinic, but multiple cycles or the use of a donor may be the best shot at success.

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