If natural conception fails, couples may consider in vitro fertilization as a viable option. It’s crucial to understand what you should know before starting in vitro fertilization, which is why consulting with a doctor should be a priority.
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a decision that can bring equal parts joy and anxiety. One positive aspect of the surgery is that it increases your chances of becoming pregnant. On the other hand, it’s nerve-wracking to have no idea if it’ll work or how much it’ll set you back. This is all you need to know before undergoing IVF so you can be ready.
A Huge Effort is Needed for IVF
The time commitment involved in IVF treatment should be considered. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a time-consuming process requiring numerous doctor visits, according to Eve Feinberg, M.D., medical director of Northwestern Medicine Fertility and Reproductive Medicine in Highland Park.
Explanation of each stage of in vitro fertilization Fertility drugs (typically self-administered injections) is used to stimulate the ovaries into releasing numerous eggs over the course of 10-12 days. Dr. Feinberg warns that you’ll need to have bloodwork and ultrasounds performed virtually every day throughout this time.
After the follicle-stimulating medication wears off, your doctor will surgically take the eggs from your ovaries (while you’re under) so your partner’s sperm may fertilize them. One or more embryos will be implanted back into your uterus three to five days after egg retrieval (any extras may be frozen for future IVF cycles). If you want to know if the IVF was successful, you’ll need to return to the clinic in two weeks for a blood pregnancy test.
Assess Your Health Status Beforehand
Take care of your health and do what you can to control illnesses like diabetes, obesity, and others that require long-term care. Alterations to one’s way of life can also prove beneficial.
“Achieving a healthy weight, reducing alcohol intake, and quitting tobacco and other substance use will considerably boost IVF success rates,” says Dr. Deidre D. Gunn, assistant professor of reproductive endocrinology and infertility at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Also, it’s best to deal with health issues like hypertension and diabetes before trying to conceive.
There Are Options to Lower the Price
The average cost of one round of in vitro fertilization (IVF) utilizing a woman’s own eggs and her partner’s sperm is around $12,000. Most health insurance plans will not pay for this. While the operation itself may not be covered by insurance, Dr. Gunn notes that certain plans may provide payment for related expenses, like ultrasounds and lab testing.
In addition, some doctors will provide free samples, some pharmaceutical firms offer discounts, and some reproductive clinics partner with lenders to offer financing choices. Dr. Feinberg established the Kevin J. Lederer Life Foundation, which provides free IVF cycles and other forms of financial aid to those who qualify.
Assume the Risk of Adverse Consequences
Expect to feel more emotional during your IVF cycle because of the increased hormone levels. Doctor David Diaz, a reproductive endocrinologist at MemorialCare Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California, adds that minor physical side effects are possible, including pressure, cramps, or bloating in the pelvic area, breast tenderness, and discomfort from fertility injections.
Some women who undergo in vitro fertilization (IVF) have ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) as a result of taking fertility medicines that stimulate egg production. Gaining weight, experiencing extreme pain or swelling in the belly, feeling lightheaded, short of breath, nauseated, and vomiting are all possible symptoms. OHSS typically resolves on its own, but if you have any of the following, you should visit a doctor right away.
The Choice of Which Sexual Partner to Have Is Possible
Dr. Susan Hudson, a reproductive endocrinologist at Texas Fertility Clinic in New Braunfels, explains that the sex of the embryos will be included in the chromosome report if preimplantation genetic testing is performed as part of your IVF cycle to check for chromosomal problems. According to her, some clinics will allow you to pick the gender of the embryo you implant, while others will only transfer the highest quality embryo.
Problems During Pregnancy and Delivery May Occur
Multiple pregnancies are possible after IVF with more than one embryo implanted, although this practice increases the mother’s risk of having babies born prematurely and underweight. Dr. Diaz suggests genetic testing of embryos and transferring only the healthy ones into the uterus to mitigate this danger.
Moreover, there is an increased chance of birth abnormalities with IVF babies about 2%. Dr. Hudson notes, however, that there is mounting evidence to suggest that the cause of this phenomenon is more likely to lie in infertility itself than in the therapy for it.
Little Errors Occur With IVF
While it is extremely unlikely that the wrong embryo would be implanted, it has happened. In July 2019, a couple in New York City made headlines when it was revealed that embryos utilized in their IVF procedure were really stolen from another couple. After they had twins who turned out to be of a different race, they recognized the clinic had made a mistake and filed a lawsuit. The post on TODAY.com attributed the problem to the absence of rules governing reproductive clinics.
Although it’s quite unlikely, TODAY recommends that the pair inquire about the embryology file, just in case. Before entrusting your embryos to a fertility clinic, make sure you’ve done your research and feel comfortable with them.
Unfortunately, there is No Certainty That You Will Conceive Through IVF
The infertility treatment IVF is not successful for all couples. Some couples become pregnant on their first try of in vitro fertilization (IVF), while others need to try multiple times, and still, others are unable to conceive at all. Dr. Feinberg thinks your age is the most important factor in determining whether or not IVF will be successful. Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART) statistics shows that the IVF success rate for persons using their own eggs was 48% for those under the age of 35 and decreased to 3% for those over the age of 42.
Predicting your odds of success with SART’s fertility calculator is possible after entering your individual data and receiving a fertility diagnostic.
If in vitro fertilization fails, other methods may be tried.
Donor eggs, donor embryos (from IVF families who gave their spare embryos after completing their family), or donor sperm are options to consider if your chances of conceiving naturally are poor (or if you’ve already attempted one or two cycles of IVF without success), as recommended by Dr. Hudson. That’s good news since it indicates that having a kid is still a possibility.