What is IVF treatment used for?

IVF is used to combat the following fertility problems: endometriosis, low sperm counts, uterine or fallopian tubes problems, problems with ovulation, problems with the antibody that is related to the sperms or eggs, the sperm’s inability to survive in cervical mucus and any other unexplained fertility problems.

What does IVF treatment entail?

IVF procedure starts with hormonal injections to increase egg production. Later on in the process, another type of injection is applied to induce the maturation of the eggs. Your doctor will then perform an ultrasound or take a blood test to make sure that you are ready for egg retrieval. During the procedure, the eggs located in the follicles in the ovary will be retrieved with a hollow needle. The procedure takes anything between 30 minutes to an hour and a choice of light sedation or full anesthesia is offered.

After fertilization with a quality sperm, should a viable embryo forms, an embryo transfer will take place that replaces the embryo into the uterine cavity (ET). This procedure is performed without anesthesia, using a catheter. Embryo transfer is relatively painless. After the procedure, you are to remain lying down until released from the clinic after about one hour.

Surplus quality embryos will be frozen (cryopreservation).

What is the average cost of one cycle of IVF?

Currently, the average cost of IVF treatment in the U.S. is about $12,000-$15,000 per cycle. The doctor you see, the medications you take, your overall health condition (any complication that may be entailed) and your insurance plan will all make a difference to the actual amount you pay. Australia subsidizes IVF treatment under its national healthcare, but this is not the case in many other countries.  

What is the general success rate of a live birth?

The factors that contribute to the success of an IVF procedure include the quantity of eggs a woman can produce and the quality of the eggs. The percentage of IVF procedures that results in a live birth is currently cited to be as low as 20% and as high as 40%. Although the numbers may seem dismal, remember that a normal healthy couple also only have around a 20% chance of getting pregnant via “natural means” in any given month. (You should dig around to do your own research according to your age group–see our IVF article here.)

Does using eggs from a younger donor make a difference?

Yes, younger eggs=higher success rate. Although you would most likely consider using your own eggs for IVF, using eggs from a younger egg donor actually makes a significant difference in terms of the procedure’s success rate. For instance, if you are in your late 30s and your egg comes from a 23-year-old donor, the chances of success would be the same as if the 23-year-old donor were to go for IVF treatment themself.

How many cycles of IVF are recommended?

For women below 40 who have been trying for 2 years, 3 cycles of IVF are recommended by standard fertility guidelines. However, for women between 40-42, one cycle is recommended. Some research has shown that acupuncture increases the chance of IVF success prior to, at the time of and after the procedure.

What are the side effects of IVF treatment?

The good news is that side effects are relatively rare with IVF treatment. Although any hormonal therapy involves the serious risk of developing blood clots, this is rare side effect and happens in less than one percent of cases. Typical side effects can range from mild headaches, cramps, breast tenderness to some backache. Some women will feel no side effect at all.