More than 9 million babies have been born using assisted reproductive technologies such as IVF. IVF is a medical procedure that involves taking eggs from the ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm outside the body, and creating embryos that are then transferred to the uterus.
While IVF may be the most effective solution for someone having trouble conceiving, the process is intense and treatment can be costly. You can find detailed information about IVF, treatment, chances of success, and costs which is the most frequently asked in this article.
What is IVF?
IVF, short for in vitro fertilization, is a common fertility treatment that involves transferring a fertilized egg into the uterus with a short and simple procedure.
If you’re a woman who wants to try IVF, you will usually be injected with synthetic hormones (gonadotropins) to stimulate your ovaries to produce more than one egg. A doctor will then perform outpatient surgery to retrieve the eggs, and an embryologist will fertilize the eggs with your partner’s sperm or donated sperm to create an embryo.
Embryo transfer, the procedure in which a doctor inserts one embryo (or multiple embryos in some cases) into the uterus, is another short, outpatient surgery that can be done in three (but more often at least five) days after oocyte pick-up (OPU). This process is called fresh embryo transfer.
Embryos can also be frozen for later transfer, known as frozen embryo transfer (FET). Patients freeze embryos for many reasons, including preserving fertility, preventing ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, and/or allowing time for a genetics lab to test the embryos for possible gene defects. (1)
How much does IVF cost?
Whether people want to pay for genetic testing or other procedures to boost the likelihood that the eggs will develop into healthy embryos affects the overall cost of an IVF cycle.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, a unique technique for creating embryos, genetic testing of embryos, trial transfers (also known as mock transfers), and/or payments for cryo-storage for embryos you want to keep are examples of additional clinical costs.
When planning your budget, keep in mind that you could need to undergo several embryo transfers or multiple complete IVF rounds. Inquire with your clinic about the price of subsequent gonadotropin cycles and additional embryo transfers if the first transfer does not result in a successful pregnancy and delivery.
Before becoming pregnant or moving on to other choices, many people undergo numerous IVF cycles; nevertheless, some facilities offer lower fees for the second or third cycle. Statistics based on your age, ovarian reserve, partner’s or donor’s sperm quality, and other pertinent medical parameters can be provided by your clinic. (2)
How successful is IVF?
The success rate of any individual going through IVF depends on their age, the number of cycles it takes to develop viable embryos, and their overall health.
In a 2019 national report, the Association for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) found that 55 percent of women under the age of 35 had a live birth after one egg collection cycle. For women over the age of 42, this rate was 4.3 percent.
Valerie Lynn Baker, director of reproductive endocrinology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, describes IVF as a helping hand for those who want to have children. (3)
Patients are advised to stop smoking and restrict alcohol consumption during IVF treatment. Starting sooner can improve your chances because age is the key factor in IVF success.