The Mommyish Definitive Guide To Infertility: In Vitro Fertilitzation

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IVF EGGIf you’ve undergone fertility treatments in an effort to get pregnant with no luck, at the very bottom of the making a baby via science bag of tricks is In Vitro Fertilization, or (IVF). IVF isn’t typically recommended by doctors without a medical reason until you have exhausted less invasive methods, like medication and Intrauterine Insemination. The IVF process is costly, time consuming and for many, very stressful. This is what it’s like to literally put all of your eggs in one basket when trying to conceive.

What is IVF?

Just the facts

Web MD provides a straightforward description of the IVF process. After hormonal treatment to help a woman’s body develop more eggs, the eggs are retrieved. A doctor will combine those eggs with the partner’s sperm and allow them to grow under close observation. When they are ready, they will be put back into the uterus in hopes that they implant and fully develop.

The real deal

If you want to experience pregnancy and not use a surrogate or adopt, IVF is the last stop on the train of advanced reproductive technology. The good news is eggs which are retrieved but not used during the first round of IVF can be frozen for future attempts. If you are open to the idea of increasing your chances for having multiples, your doctor may be willing to transfer more than one embryo at a time.

What’s the success rate for IVF?

Just the facts

Success rates for IVF depend on a number of factors, including the reason for infertility, where you’re having the procedure done, and your age. WebMD puts IVF success rates between 30-40% for women under age 35, with pregnancy rates declining as a woman’s eggs age.

The real deal

The numbers may seem grim, but your doctor will be able to give you a better idea of your chances for success based on your unique set of circumstances. They will also talk with you about how many embryos you want to transfer into your uterus, knowing that doing so increases your chances of having multiples.

Some doctors will recommend a process known as intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or (ICSI) to improve the odds of a sperm fertilizing an egg. In ICSI a sperm is directly injected into an egg in hopes of creating a viable embryo. ICSI may be an additional expense.

There have been studies done about the rate of birth defects in children born using IVF and ICSI. There is continued discussion about whether there is a significant increase in defects with the use of advanced reproductive technology and  if any defects among these babies are the result of the procedures used or consequences of underlying fertility issues. Half of the eggs that were harvested for my IVF cycle where fertilized using ICSI and half fertilized naturally. By the day of transfer we had decided to put two embryos in. Of the two healthiest embryos, one was ICSI and one was not. Both embryos resulted in a child without birth defects.

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