Is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Right for Us?
The human reproductive system is quite complicated, and many factors can affect the ability to become pregnant. If you’ve been unable to conceive and are looking at in vitro fertilization, or IVF, in order to get pregnant, your first step is to consult with a physician specialist experienced in infertility treatment. These specialists are called reproductive endocrinologists. Once it’s been determined that you’re a candidate for IVF, it’s important to understand what you can expect and to discuss the details with your physician.
In general, IVF is a suitable option for women unable to achieve pregnancy because of blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, endometriosis, certain ovulation disorders, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and decreased or inconsistent ovulation due to age. It is also a good option if infertility is related to poor sperm quality or count in the male, and for unexplained infertility in couples.
The miscarriage rate with IVF is about the same as with non-reproductive assisted technology pregnancies, although the risk of ectopic pregnancy (tubal pregnancy) and multiple births is higher. Some women experience side effects from medication used to stimulate egg follicle production, and there’s also a risk of a condition called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which can be more serious.
In vitro fertilization can be expensive and time consuming. Patients need ongoing blood tests, medication, ultrasounds, and physician visits to prepare for one procedure. One cycle to prepare for IVF can last about three weeks; and it usually takes more than one IVF procedure to result in a successful pregnancy. There is also an emotional and psychological toll as couples anticipate and wait for results.
However, IVF has been a real answer for many couples unable to conceive, who feel that the time, effort, and expense involved is a small price to pay for the joy of parenthood.