Is IVF Worth the Risk? – Overview
IVF, or in vitro fertilization, involves retrieving eggs from a woman’s ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryos created are then transferred back into the woman’s uterus to hopefully implant and grow.
As with any medical procedure, IVF has its share of both potential benefits and risks. Therefore, if you’re considering having IVF, you are probably wondering if the treatment is worth taking.
This article is crafted to answer that question so stick around to find out more.
As we have just mentioned, IVF involves stimulating egg production with fertility drugs, retrieving eggs from the ovaries and then fertilizing them in a laboratory.
The fertilized embryo is then transferred to the uterus.
Here, we look at the risks associated with IVF.
Fertility treatments can be expensive, running into the tens of thousands of dollars for the cycle itself and medications to stimulate egg development.
Insurance companies usually don’t cover fertility treatments, so many patients turn to loans or credit cards.
Because doctors often transfer multiple embryos at once, there’s a greater chance of pregnancy but also a greater chance that more than one embryo will implant in the uterus (multiple pregnancies).
This is called “superfetation.” It may lead to premature birth or health complications for both mother and babies.
Pregnant women who have already had twins are at an elevated risk for triplets if they have IVF because doctors often transfer more than one embryo in these cases.
IVF pregnancy carries a slightly higher risk of complications for both mother and baby than pregnancy after natural conception (conception without fertility treatment).
In addition to this small increased risk of complications, IVF also increases your chances of having multiple pregnancies (twins, triplets or more).
This can increase your risk of miscarriage and stillbirth as well as increase the possibility that you will need a cesarean section at delivery.
What are the Chances of IVF Working?
The figures vary, but the thing is that about 50% of women younger than 35 will have a baby after their first cycle of IVF using their eggs.
For those aged 35 to 37, the success rate is around 25% and for women aged 38 and over, it’s about 15%. Of course, these are just estimates.
Some women will have a baby after just one cycle, but others will need several attempts.
The most important thing is to choose a clinic with a good track record for your age group. There are also some things you can do to improve your chances, such as getting fit and healthy before you start treatment as well.
Factors Affecting IVF Success Rate
Here are some of the factors that affect the success rate of IVF treatments.
Your chances of becoming pregnant and giving birth to a child depend on many factors, including your age, overall health and your genetics.
Your parents’ ages at the time you were born also play an important role in determining how long it may take you to get pregnant with IVF treatment.
Couples between ages 35 and 40 have around a 20-25% chance of pregnancy each cycle; approximately 40% per cycle will be delivered spontaneously and 40% will continue to IVF, thus increasing the cost by 50%-60%.
Of those couples who do not achieve pregnancy after three attempts, 90% will ultimately achieve pregnancy within a year if they stop treatment and wait.
If the woman is older than 40, the success rate drops dramatically to 10-15%. Approximately 20% per cycle will be spontaneously pregnant and another 20% will continue to IVF.
The decision about whether or not to continue should be made after two cycles have been completed unsuccessfully.
The male partner’s age also affects whether there will be a successful outcome, but less so than in the case of women. Older men tend to take longer to produce enough sperm for a successful treatment.
Some hormonal disorders and conditions, such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, and thyroid disease, may make it difficult for you to conceive and carry to term.
When you’re having problems getting pregnant, it may seem like there’s nothing to do but wait. But if you have been trying for a year or longer without success, you and your partner may want to consider in vitro fertilization (IVF) as an option.
Ultimately, the treatment is certainly worth the risk.