More couples are turning to IVF (in vitro fertilization) to conceive children than ever before. According to theSociety for Assisted Reproductive Technology, as many as 1.5% of all children born in the United States are the result of in vitro fertilization. Across the country, OBGYNs are delivering over 60,000 babies conceived through IVF since 2012. As technology improves and the average age of new parents increases from previous generations, more and more would-be parents are relying on the procedure to start or add to their families.
How Does IVF Work?
The first step is usually to schedule a comprehensive exam and check up with an OBGYN. There are several steps to the process once a couple is determined to be a good candidate for conception through IVF. In vitro fertilization works by retrieving mature eggs from the ovaries, and fertilizing them with the sperm in a lab. Once the egg has been fertilized successfully, it is then implanted into the uterus. Because the causes for infertility are complex and vary from person to person, there are several variables to IVF treatment. In addition to using their own eggs and sperm, couples may also rely on donor eggs or sperm, or the use of a gestational carrier who carries the embryo to term and gives birth to the baby for the IVF client.
How Long Does the IVF Process Take?
The duration of one IVF cycle from retrieval of the eggs to fertilization and implantation generally takes about two weeks. It is difficult to predict whether an individual IVF cycle will be successful, and multiple cycles are often necessary.
Who is a Good Candidate for IVF?
The causes for infertility can be complex, and vary from person to person. Candidates for IVF are typically in good general health, with unsuccessful attempts to conceive for at least a year. In vitro fertilization can be expensive and may require multiple cycles to produce a viable pregnancy. An OBGYN might also recommend IVF in certain situations where fertility may be compromised due to:
- Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
- Problems with ovulation
- Sperm abnormalities or low motility
- Genetic disorders
- Egg/embryo preservation for women undergoing cancer treatment that can compromise fertility and egg viability