If you are trying to conceive via in vitro fertilization (IVF), it is important to know which steps are involved in the treatment. This way, you will feel more in control. You should keep in mind that every clinic’s IVF protocol may differ slightly because it must be adjusted to the patient’s and couple’s individual needs. In most cases, the basic flow of an IVF treatment includes the initial consultation, ultrasound and baseline bloodwork, ovarian stimulation, oocyte maturation, egg retrieval, fertilization, embryo transfer, a waiting period of two weeks, and a pregnancy test (fingers crossed!).
Is IVF Effective?
IVF success rates are above average. They are pretty successful. Studies have shown that for over 150,000 women, the average live-birth rate for the first cycle was nearly 30 percent. There are cases where individuals need to go through repeated treatment cycles before getting the results they want. That is about six cycles, which took place over the course of two years.
You should keep in mind that age does play an important role in your success. For example, women over the age of 44 had a live-birth rate about two percent. That is why you should discuss your personal odds for success with your doctor before going through with treatment. Doctors cannot tell you exactly how successful your treatment may be. However, they can give you a basic idea, so your expectations will not be too high.
IVF Risks and Side Effects
IVF is a medical procedure. Although it is generally safe, it has its own set of risks. For example, the patient may experience cramping during the egg retrieval process. Or she may experience mild cramping when transferring her embryo. Rare complications include bleeding from the ovary, accidental puncture of the bladder, pelvic infections, etc. There are cases where the fallopian tubes and uterus have to be removed. However, these cases are really rare, i.e. severe infections. Most infections can be treated with antibiotics.
There is something called ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). This syndrome occurs in 10 percent of women who are undergoing IVT treatment. Most women, who are diagnosed with OHSS, will only experience mild symptoms and can recover easily.
The Cost of IVF
IVF treatments are normally on the expensive side. The price of each cycle can be between $12,000 and 15,000. Another thing to note is that patients may need to pay a higher fee for the next cycle. For example, the initial IVF cycle may cost approximately $19,757. However, the cost of their second IVF cycle was an additional $7,856. Why is there a difference in price? The costs may add up if you need “extra help” along the way. For example, the patient may need frozen embryo transfers, assisted hatching, PGD, ICSI, surrogacy, or an egg donor. You do not have to be alarmed because it is possible to get financial assistance for IVF treatment.
More Details on the IVF Treatment Process
- The cycle before IVF treatment: May involve taking birth control pills to decrease your risk of OHSS. Doctors work with patients to detect ovulation, prescribing medication to gain complete control over ovulation once treatment cycle begins, and more.
- Patient gets her period: When you get your period, it is the first official day of your treatment cycle. Your doctor will facilitate transvaginal ultrasound and blood work.
- Ovarian stimulation: This phase requires patients to have one to four injections daily. Patients will need to do this for a week to 10 days. Next, doctors will continue to monitor how the follicles are developing and growing.
- Triggering the oocytes: Oocytes need to be fully matured so that the eggs can be retrieved.
- Egg retrieval and fertilization: Egg retrieval happens up to 36 hours after patient receives her hCG shot. When fertilizing the eggs, they must not be overly mature. The embryologist will choose the best-looking sperm from the semen sample and place it with the oocyte in a culture dish.
The remaining steps of your IVF treatment may include embryo transfer, getting progesterone support, a pregnancy test, and other follow-up treatments. It is pertinent that you discuss with your doctor exactly what steps you need to take.