What is IVF?

What is IVF?

It must be a dream for you and your partner to have a child who can brighten up your days and put a smile on your face, yet if you have been encountering problems with getting pregnant, you are probably one of those individuals who have been searching for different ways to have a successful pregnancy. You most likely have already come across IVF or In Vitro Fertilization while researching and you are probably wondering if the IVF pregnancy process will work for you.

If you wish to learn more about this, you will first need to know exactly what is IVF treatment, as well as all the necessary prerequisites that are vital for a successful IVF process.

What is IVF?

When you see the IVF or In Vitro Fertilization, the first thing that you will most likely ask yourself would be what is ivf? Basically, it is a process where the eggs are extracted from your ovaries then combined with a sperm; then after, the treatment will take place in a laboratory culture dish – in vitro, meaning in glass. There have been more than a thousand IVF babies born since the late 70’s and at some point, about two percent of children born in the UK were the result of successful IVF treatments.

IVF pregnancy is known as the very first test-tube baby method and was created more than thirty years ago to help females with flawed Fallopian tubes; because of this, the method has become and remained an extremely vital reason for treatment. It is also considered as one of the most used fertility processes since it accounts for over ninety-nine percent of ART or Assisted Reproductive Technology techniques. By this time, it will not be necessary for you to ask the question “what is ivf?” since you already have a much clearer idea of what it really is. However, you should also learn more about the whole IVF process which will be explained thoroughly as you continue reading further.

The IVF Process

It is important to know the answer to the question “what is IVF?”, but only knowing what the process is isn’t enough; it would be necessary for you to know the basic steps that will occur during the IVF treatment for you to prepare before the actual procedure and the thought of actually knowing what will happen will prevent any form of anxiety or nervousness from occurring. Generally, the whole IVF pregnancy and embryo transfer process can be broken down into a few steps which will be explained for you to further understand the In Vitro Fertilization.

• Before anything else, your doctor will prescribe fertility medications to stimulate the production of eggs since it is necessary to have multiple eggs present. The reason for this is because some eggs do not really fertilize or develop after the retrieval process and having multiple ones will give higher chances for a successful procedure.

There will also be a transvaginal ultrasound to allow your doctors to thoroughly examine the ovaries; additionally, blood test samples will also be necessary to examine the levels of hormones present.

• The eggs will be retrieved by undergoing a minor surgical operation that makes use of an ultrasound image; this will work as a guide for your doctor when he or she inserts an extremely hollow needle through your pelvic cavity to accurately remove the eggs. During this step, medication will be necessary to lessen or completely remove any form of discomfort.

• Now, your partner will be requested to provide a sperm sample which will then be prepared for the combining process.

• The next step that you will go through is called insemination – this is where the eggs and sperm are combined then kept in a lab to further encourage and develop the fertilization process; in some instances when the fertilization probability is low, an ICSI or Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection will be necessary. This procedure will have one sperm infused into the egg for fertilization, and to see if this has been achieved, the eggs will be carefully monitored to ensure that both cell division and fertilization is taking place. When this occurs successfully, the fertilized eggs can finally be considered as embryos.

• After three to five days after the fertilization and egg retrieval process, the embryo will be transferred to your uterus via small tube or catheter which will help during the process. If you are wondering if the transferring process is painful, it is generally painless for most females yet there are times when they experience very light cramping. If successful, the implantation of the embryo will usually occur from six to ten days right after the retrieval of the egg.

After the whole In Vitro Fertilization process, you will only need to wait for a few weeks to be able to take the pregnancy test and the results may vary. A large percentage of women find out that they are pregnant right after the whole IVF process but it does not always work successfully for everyone. So before actually deciding to undergo the IVF pregnancy treatment, make sure to do some research and look into the success rates for females within your age range.

Keep in mind that the average couple may possibly go for two to three attempts before achieving a successful pregnancy; once you do, it will not be any different from a normally established pregnancy. Another great thing about the procedure is that IVF pregnancy is not considered as high-risk.

Success Rates of IVF

Remember that your success rate when it comes to the IVF process depends on your age and also your particular fertility problems; if you are younger and your eggs are healthier, the chances of a successful procedure is much higher. If we base it on the figures taken from the previous years, the percentage of cycles for those who use their own eggs resulting in live births are the following: if you are under 35 years old, the chances of success is about 32%; for those aged 35 to 37, there is a 28% chance of success; women aged 38 and 39 have a 21% chance for success. However, if you are 40 or older, the chance for a successful procedure may drop. However, if you’ve already had a baby before, there will be a better chance for your IVF process to be a success.

What is IVF Treatment Best For?

IVF is one of the best ways to treat a variety of fertility problems and these include the following:

• Blocked, Damaged, or Flawed Fallopian Tubes – since the IVF eggs will be extracted right from your ovaries, fertilized, then implanted right into your uterus, the Fallopian tubes will not be necessary for the procedure to occur.

• Low or Poor Sperm Count / Movement – by combining the eggs and sperm in a lab, it will be much easier for the sperm to fertilize the egg. After the fertilization process, the embryo will be infused into your womb.

• Unexplained Infertility – when doctors cannot determine why couples cannot conceive, the most common and best solution for the issue is the IVF process.

• Genetic Disorders – if ever you or your partner is at risk of passing an unwanted genetic disorder to your future child, it is possible for you to be candidates for the preimplantation genetic diagnosis – a procedure that is also linked to IVF. Once the eggs are fertilized, these will be screened and observed for any presence of genetic problems; however, you should remember that not all of the genetic problems can be detected by the procedure. After this, embryos without any identified issues will be transferred and infused back into your uterus.

• Previous Tubal Removal or Sterilization – if you have ever had a tubal ligation in the past – a type of sterilizing method where your Fallopian tubes will be blocked or cut to permanently prevent pregnancy – and plan to conceive, the IVF process may be an alternative option to reverse the tubal ligation.

Pros and Cons of IVF

Now that you have better knowledge of the whole IVF process, it is time for you to learn about the pros and cons of the procedure. The IVF process has a lot of great advantages especially for couples who are facing infertility issues; however, just like every other medical procedure available, the treatment also has its own set of disadvantages as well as risks.

Here are the various pros and cons of IVF:

• Lessens the Chances of Miscarriage
Genetic abnormality is the most usual causes of miscarriage since it brings the body to naturally terminate the pregnancy. By utilizing the PGD to determine an embryo’s genetic viability, you and other mothers will have better and higher chances of enjoying a healthy and successful pregnancy while also carrying your child, full-term.

• No Link to Cancer
It has been shown in recent studies that the IVF medication drugs and cancer do not have any form of connection; in earlier studies, it has been suggested that a woman who is more exposed to fertility medications may end up having higher risks of ovarian cancer, as well as other cancers that affect the reproductive system of a woman.

• Control over Timing is Present
IVF is perfect for those individuals who are strictly focused on their careers or for those who have a unique situation in life; this is because IVF provides an overall control of when they exactly want their baby to be born. The embryos or eggs can be cryopreserved for use in the future so if you are in this sort of situation, you can undergo the IVF process so you can select a specific time when you want to be pregnant or when you want your child to be born. IVF can also help with spacing children in a way that works best for your family.

• Can be Tested for Any Form of Abnormalities
In Vitro Fertilization may also be utilized as a form of treatment to allow developed embryos to be tested for any form of abnormalities before these are actually transferred into your uterus.

• Anyone can Take Advantage of the Procedure
IVF is not only restricted to the mother of the child since it can also be utilized by gestational or surrogate mothers. This also includes same-sex couples – women who are both unable to carry a child full-term – and even single women.

• Time-Consuming and Costly
Fertilizing your eggs out of the body will definitely require numerous and costly laboratory work and medications too. Also, monitoring your body’s response to the fertility medications will be necessary and this takes quite a lot of time as well since you will need to have frequent visits to the clinic or your doctor’s office for ultrasounds and blood tests.

• Odds of Multiple Babies
Since there are more than one embryo infused in your uterus, the chances of having twins is about 20%; although some couples consider this as a huge blessing, having multiple fetuses may increase the risk of you having complications and even a miscarriage. There are some doctors who will suggest that you consider selective reduction especially if there are three or more embryos that have been successfully implanted in your uterus.

• Possible Risk of Ectopic Pregnancies
If you are someone who has difficulty getting pregnant, the risk of having an ectopic pregnancy is increased regardless of how you conceive. Also, every other form of Assisted Reproductive Technology or ART treatments (which includes IVF) makes this type of pregnancy more likely. Ectopic pregnancies happen when an embryo implants in the abdominal cavity or the Fallopian tube instead of the uterus.

• Risk of Having OHSS or Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome
This can occur when a female easily responds to the provided fertility medications and ends up producing more eggs than necessary. Women who use gonadotropins end up with a mild form of OHSS which is a condition that is marked by a full and bloated feeling together with weight gain. Sometimes, women can also experience pelvic pains, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness, and even vomiting.

• Possible Complications for the Child
Children who are conceived via high-tech infertility procedures such as IVF may most likely be born prematurely or may have a low birth weight.

Cost of IVF Treatment

Now, you are probably wondering how much the whole procedure costs; the actual cost of the procedure varies from clinic to clinic plus there are possible additional costs for different elements such as tests, doctor consultations, and medications. In the USA, you should expect an average amount of $12,400 for a cycle – that is if you are using your own eggs and the sperm of your partner. Remember that the amount that you will need to pay depends on the number of medicines that will be required for your treatment, where you live, and if your state authorizes insurance coverages for fertility processes or treatments.

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