In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process of assisted reproductive technology (ART) in which a sperm and egg are fertilized in a laboratory setting. The resulting fertilized egg, or embryo, is then transferred to the woman’s ut-e-ru-s in the hope that it will implant and grow into a healthy baby.
IVF is a complex and expensive procedure, but it can be a lifesaver for childless couples who are unable to conceive naturally. It can also be a good option for couples who have a genetic disorder that they don’t want to pass on to their children.
Who is eligible for IVF?
IVF may be an option for couples who are struggling to conceive naturally. This may be due to a variety of factors, including:
Female infertility: This may be caused by ovulation problems, blocked fallopian tubes, endometriosis, or other medical conditions.
Male infertility: This may be caused by low sperm count, poor sperm motility, or other medical conditions.
Unexplained infertility: In some cases, couples may be infertile but the cause cannot be identified.
The IVF procedure typically takes several weeks to complete and involves the following steps:
Ovulation induction: The woman is given fertility medications to stimulate her ovaries to produce multiple eggs.
Egg retrieval: The eggs are removed from the woman’s ovaries using a minor surgical procedure.
Sperm retrieval: The man provides a semen sample.
Fertilization: The eggs and sperm are mixed in a laboratory dish. If necessary, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) can be used to inject a single sperm cell into an egg.
Embryo culture: The fertilized eggs are cultured in a laboratory for several days.
Embryo transfer: One or more embryos are transferred to the woman’s uterus.
The cost of IVF can vary depending on many factors, including the country of residence, the type of insurance coverage, and the specific clinic. In the United States, the average cost of an IVF cycle is around $12,000.
IVF age limit
There is no age limit for IVF, but the success rate of IVF decreases with age. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) recommends that women over the age of 40 should consider using donor eggs to improve their chances of success.
IVF success rates
The success rates of IVF vary depending on many factors, including the age of the woman, the cause of infertility, and the quality of the eggs and sperm. The ASRM reports that the average success rate of IVF for women under the age of 35 is around 41%.
The IVF timeline typically looks like this:
- Week 1-2: Ovulation induction
- Week 3: Egg retrieval
- Week 3: Fertilization
- Week 3-5: Embryo culture
- Week 5: Embryo transfer
- Week 7: Pregnancy test
Risks of IVF
IVF is a safe procedure, but there are some associated risks, including:
Multiple pregnancy: IVF can increase the risk of having twins, triplets, or other multiples.
Miscarriage: The risk of miscarriage is slightly higher after IVF than after natural conception.
Birth defects: The risk of birth defects is slightly higher after IVF than after natural conception.
IVF is a complex procedure, but it can be a lifeline for couples who are struggling to conceive naturally. If you are considering IVF, it is important to talk to your doctor to discuss the risks and benefits and to develop a treatment plan that is right for you.