IVF stands for in vitro fertilization. The term “in vitro” means “in glass.” It can be described as the process where the egg is extracted from a woman’s body and fertilized by sperm in a laboratory. This is a breakthrough technique that has helped countless people who have struggled with infertility.
How does in vitro fertilization (IVF) work?
Depending on your individual circumstances, you might have to consider IVF as an option to help with becoming pregnant. Basically, there are five steps involved in IVF.
Monitor and develop healthy eggs: You are given fertility medications to stimulate the production of healthy eggs. For IVF to be successful, multiple eggs must be produced as some eggs might not fertilize or develop at all.
Harvest eggs: The eggs are harvested by conducting a small surgery through the pelvic cavity.
Collect sperm: Your partner or the donor is asked to produce a sample of sperm which is used to combine with the eggs that have been harvested.
Combine sperm and eggs in the laboratory for fertilization: This process is called insemination. The sperm from the donor and your eggs are mixed together and fertilization is encouraged by creating the appropriate environment. A single sperm cell is injected into the egg and monitored for cell division and fertilization.
Transfer fertilized embryos into uterus: About three to five days after fertilization, the embryos are transferred into the woman’s uterus. If this procedure is successful, the embryo will get implanted about six to ten days after.
What issues can IVF treat?
You may have to consider IVF as an option if you or your partner face any of the following issues:
Low sperm count
Problems with ovulation
Problems with the reproductive organs – uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries
Unexplained fertility issues
IVF is usually reserved after initial steps like fertility medication and artificial insemination fails to work. It has become one of the most commonly sought after high-tech fertility treatment. More than 99% of assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures involve IVF these days.
How successful is IVF?
The success rates of IVF are very different and they depend on your personal circumstances and other factors like age. Younger women have shown higher success rates than older ladies since they have healthier eggs. Here are some stats regarding IVF and age groups:
The highest success rate – 41% for women who are below 35 years
About 31% for women who are between 35 and 37 years of age
About 22% for women between 38 and 40 years
The lowest – 12% for women between 41 and 42 years
The pros of IVF
The advantages of using IVF are as follows
It has a successful track record. No medical issues have been associated with IVF.
No connection between fertility-inducing drugs and cancer has been found.
The procedures are constantly improving with pregnancy rates going higher.
The cons of IVF
IVF procedures are known to be rather expensive and time-consuming.
Since more than one embryo is inserted into your uterus, you have higher chances of having twins or more.
Higher risks of ectopic pregnancy.
There are chances that it may not succeed.
One last (interesting) IVF fact:
Eight states have an insurance mandate that requires qualified employers to cover IVF: Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
If you have been struggling with infertility issues for a while, do not hesitate to speak to your doctor regarding IVF options. This procedure might be the answer to your prayers of having a baby of your own.
AUTHOR BIO: Helen is a fertility advocate on a mission to reach out to women who are trying to conceive or searching for a natural family planning solution. She’s also the founder of Knowhen, a prominent fertility and ovulation test app.