IVF is like a highly choreographed dance between you, your partner, and your fertility care team. Expertise, attention to detail, and dedication are necessary for a successful result. There are several small steps that happen along the way, but the main steps include:
- An egg is removed from your ovary, and healthy sperm are selected from a sample produced by your male partner (or sperm donor). Some couples may also use an egg donor during IVF.
- The egg and sperm are mixed together in a culture dish where fertilization takes place.
- The resulting embryo is transferred to your uterus.
Risks of IVF
As with many medical procedures, there are risks. It rarely happens, but Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS) is a painful condition associated with IVF. Other risks include anesthesia side effects, and occasional bleeding and nausea after the IVF procedure.
IVF Success Rates
While many, many couples find great success with IVF, not everyone gets a happy ending. So many things – from your age and health status, to the virility and health of your male partner, to environmental factors – can affect the outcome of IVF. Also, it may take several cycles before you get pregnant.
Your risk of infertility increases once your hit your mid-30s, and it only goes up from there. Women over 40 face a greater risk of IVF not resulting in a full-term pregnancy. However, age is not a success rate factor when donor eggs are used. There is a 55% transfer success rate regardless of the woman’s age.
A young healthy woman has an excellent chance of progressing from stimulation to follicle aspiration and from pregnancy to delivery. However, an older woman with a more complicated case of infertility may have a much greater rate of cycle cancellation and pregnancy loss before delivery. The differences don’t have anything to do with the fertility center performing the IVF procedure, but instead is based on the differences in couples (age, health and infertility status) accepted into their program. Not much can be done to alter success rate.
Traditional IVF isn’t your only option. Minimal stimulation IVF (also known as Mini IVF or Natural IVF) is a great alternative. Many couples choose it instead of traditional IVF because:
- Less medication is required.
- It costs less.
- It requires less of a time commitment.
Pregnancy success rates tend to be lower with Mini IVF, but some couples feel the benefits outweigh the success rates.
Regardless which you choose, traditional IVF or Mini IVF, if you’re having trouble getting pregnant on your own this may be the right path for you. Learning as much as possible before starting treatment will make the whole process easier. Knowledge is power.