12% of married women, that’s one in eight couples, have had issues trying to get pregnant or sustaining a healthy pregnancy. There is hope for couples that want to conceive and are having problems. Infertility is treatable with an in vitro fertilization procedure.
When you want to have a baby, visit a center for reproductive medicine and speak with an endocrinologist who can explain the in vitro fertilization procedure, or IVF. Nearly 44% of women experiencing infertility have used medical assistance with 65% being able to give birth. In vitro fertilization is a popular choice used to assist with fertility, conception and to prevent genetic problems.
An Overview of IVF
Mature eggs are retrieved from ovaries during an in vitro fertilization procedure and then fertilized with sperm in a lab setting. Fertilized eggs are transferred to a uterus to start the process. A single cycle of IVF is known to take nearly three weeks.
Currently, an in vitro fertilization procedure is one of the most effective forms of assisted reproduction. You are able to use your own eggs as well as the sperm of your partner. It is also possible to use sperm and eggs from anonymous donors. If you are not able to carry a baby to term, a gestational carrier can be implanted with your embryo.
In some cases, those that have had more than one embryo transferred, a multiple pregnancy could occur. Your physician can help you and your partner fully understand IVF, how it works, any potential risks and if this method for treating infertility is ideal for you.
Why Is IVF Done?
IVF is typically used as a last effort to get pregnant after other fertility options have been exhausted. A lot of times it is used as a primary treatment for women over 40, or if you have certain health conditions. There are many reasons IVF is an option.
IVF may help if you or your partner have ovulation disorders, fallopian tube blockage or damage, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, impaired sperm function or production, previous tubal sterilization or removal, a genetic disorder, unexplained infertility or for fertility preservation for health conditions such as cancer. If you do not have a functional uterus, or pregnancy poses serious health risks, using a gestational carrier is another option.
IVF Includes Several Steps
It is vital that you understand the IVF process. Several IVF steps include ovarian stimulation, retrieval of eggs, retrieval of sperm, fertilization and the embryo transfer. A single cycle of IVF may not be enough with more than one cycle being required.
Ovulation induction is the first step of an in vitro fertilization procedure and starts with synthetic hormone treatments so you produce multiple eggs. Different types of medication are available that help various stages of induction. Your physician will discuss any you need and explain when to use them.
After one to two weeks of ovarian stimulation, eggs should be ready for retrieval. You will need blood tests and a vaginal ultrasound to determine when eggs are ready to be collected. During this step it will be determined if an IVF cycle should be canceled.
Cancelation is caused due to an inadequate number of developing follicles, too many follicles have developed and created a risk of ovarian hyperstimulation, premature ovulation or other types of medical issues. Your physician will discuss why the cycle needs to be cancelled and address changing medications to try again, or advise the use of an egg donor.
Understand Your IVF Results
Twelve days to two weeks after an egg retrieval, a blood test will tell if you have become pregnant or not. If pregnant, your physician will refer you to a pregnancy specialist or obstetrician for prenatal care. If there is no pregnancy, you will be advised to stop taking progesterone to resume your period. Your period should return like normal. If you do not get your cycle, or have unusual bleeding, speak with your physician. Otherwise, you are ready to attempt another cycle of IVF with improved chances.