IVF: Cycles, Success Rate and How it Works
When you start researching infertility, you are most likely going to find IVF related articles right away, as this is one of the most well-known treatments. In Vitro Fertilization, known as IVF, is the most complex of the assisted reproductive technology procedures. During an IVF cycle, a woman is placed on fertility medications to recruit multiple follicles. Once the follicles are an appropriate size, the eggs are extracted from the ovaries during a surgical procedure.
Eggs Extracted: Next Steps
Once the eggs are extracted, they are then injected with sperm in a process referred to as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) to create embryos. The embryos are then transferred back to the woman’s uterus, either during the same cycle or in a frozen embryo transfer cycle.
What to Consider
IVF is usually reserved for more serious fertility issues, such as severe male factor infertility, blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, ovulatory issues, or unexplained infertility. IVF is also the chosen course of treatment for those who are carriers for genetic disorders, such as Cystic Fibrosis or Fragile X, as embryos can be screened to make sure that affected embryos are not transferred.
There are risks to the process and the egg retrieval procedure, including bloating, cramping, bruising from the daily injections, bleeding, and a risk of infection after the procedure. It can also have emotional effects, as the process is very difficult to go through for both couples and single women. Financially, it can be very straining as it is not always covered by insurance plans.
Sometimes IVF works in the first cycle, but sometimes people need to go through IVF more than one time to achieve a pregnancy. Success rates are dependent upon many factors, including reproductive history, maternal age, egg quality, the cause of infertility, and certain lifestyle factors.
If you think you are interested in IVF, talk with your doctor to discuss your options and the chance of success based on your own individual fertility parameters.