What is IVF, and who can have it?

What is IVF, and who can have it?

Jul 14, 2021 | Author : MedicW

Gone are the days when people have little or no choice than to live with the stigma of infertility. Nowadays, there are various options that can cure infertility problems one of which is known In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).

Before now, IVF, an abbreviation for In vitro fertilization, was seen as a miraculous process of dealing with infertility via the production of "test-tube babies" (as it was popularly referred to). The parents of Louise Brown did the first of its kind; he was conceived out of his mother's womb. IVF is one of the many ways of helping people with fertility problems have a baby. It is a complex and expensive procedure achieved by combining eggs and sperm in a laboratory. When an embryo is formed, it is then returned to the uterus of the woman's body.

During the IVF process, your menstrual cycle is first kept under control using some specified medications, and after this, another set of drugs is used to boost your egg supply. These medications excite the ovaries to provide more eggs than their usual production. Next, an ultra-scan is used to monitor the development and the maturing of these eggs until they are fully mature. These eggs are then collected and brought out by inserting a needle into the ovaries through the vagina. These eggs are mixed with the sperm for a few days to ensure that they fertilize. After their fertilization, the embryo formed is then transferred to the womb. After two weeks, a pregnancy test is taken to confirm the success of this procedure.

You can have IVF even if you have been diagnosed with a genetic disease either from the father or the mother, a poor egg quality, unusual fertility problem, ovulation problem, uterus or fallopian tube problem, or even endometriosis. Likewise, if you have problem with antibodies that cause harm to the eggs or sperm, low sperm count and the low/no possibility rate of the sperm to survive or penetrate the cervical mucus. If you are being diagnosed with the following as the cause of infertility, IVF may be the best option for you and your partner. However, it is always advised that IVF shouldn't be the first step upon diagnosis or after treatment of the infertility cause (except one has a complete tubal blockage). IVF is only used when other infertility treatment methods such as fertility drugs, artificial insemination, and surgery have all been done but haven't worked yet.

In England and Wales, their health system further regulates the use of IVF according to their age. For example, suppose you are below the age of forty. In that case, you can be given three cycles of this treatment if you have been struggling to get pregnant or haven't gotten pregnant after twelve cycles of artificial insemination. Other factors that are considered include not having any children in current and previous relationships, time limits, and checking if you have a healthy weight record with no trace of smoking.

Depending on the country or region, laws are being put in place to ensure your safety.

The success rate of IVF

The success rate for in-vitro fertilization strongly depends on the age of the person going through the IVF process. Women of the younger generation will most likely have a successful pregnancy. However, this procedure isn't usually recommended for women over forty-two years because of the low possibility of having a baby. It has been proven that a woman who is below the age of thirty-five has a twenty-nine per cent chance of having the baby, while a woman who is over the age of forty has over nine per cent chance of having the baby.

However, times are changing, and new technologies keep sprouting up. As it stands now, in every age group, the success rate keeps increasing, all thanks to new techniques and the training of more experienced doctors.

Other factors include the cause of infertility and where the IVF process is being done.

Benefits of IVF

The benefits of IVF aren't so far-fetched. They offer a ray of hope and help you give birth, especially during extreme cases of both male and female infertility, especially when you have other fertility medications and artificial insemination, they still do not work.

With IVF, you can make use of donated eggs and sperm, primarily where your doctor advises that you use a donated egg or sperm. Also, for women who have blocked tubes, or a damaged fallopian tube, there is a possibility of having a baby using their eggs.

 Polycystic ovary syndrome is a widespread medical condition caused by hormonal imbalance, leading to a haphazard menstrual cycle. Because they do not have a regular menstrual cycle, they might not conceive with ovulation. IVF is a way for patients who have this hormonal imbalance to give birth, and it has proven prosperous most times.

With IVF treatment as well, you have total control over timing. It is most valuable and essential for partners who are career intrigued or patterns who face situations that are likely to affect the exact time their baby would be given birth to. During IVF procedures, eggs and embryos can be frozen or cryopreserved for the sake of the future. Thus, you can choose when you want to get pregnant. In addition, this IVF process can also assist you in children's spacing for the dark of better family planning.

You can be super assured that with IVF, you will have your baby as healthy as ever. This is because the V.F. procedure uses a powerful genetic screening technology, which is known as Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT). As a result, the fetus doesn't have any genetic markers linked to adverse medical conditions like cystic fibrosis, stay Sachs disease, sickle cell anemia, Down syndrome, etc. These results are confirmed from the test carried out by the parents.

Finally, IVF decreases your chances of miscarriage while unceasing your chances of conception.

Risk of IVF

While offering you the benefit of having a baby, there are alongside some risks and side effects. The Health risks that are involved include;

Multiple births of twins or triplets

On the bright side, having multiple babies isn't a bad thing, but it can pose a problem by increasing the risk of complications for you and the babies. It might end up in issues like miscarriage, gestational diabetes, anemia, heavy bleeding, pre-eclampsia, pregnancy-related high blood pressure and the need to go for a caesarian section. Asides from this, your babies may be endangered by life-threatening complications like premature birth, low birth weight, neonatal respiratory distress syndrome, cerebral palsy and other long term disabilities.

Ectopic pregnancy

This condition is when the embryo implants itself inside the fallopian tube instead of the womb. That causes stomach pain, vaginal bleeding and dark vaginal discharge. It likely occurs during IVF treatments. The embryo will be monitored until it is sure that the pregnancy is normal.

OHSS - Ovarian Hyper stimulation Syndrome

Here in pregnancy, multiple eggs get developed in the ovaries, making it significant and painful. Symptoms include stomach pain and bloating, sickness, tiredness, faint feelings and breath shortness. It is usually a better option to cancel the treatment cycle and start again with a lower amount of medication.

Some of the side effects that are experienced include irritability, headache, hot flushes, and restlessness. They are usually mild, but it is advisable to contact your doctor where they are persistent during treatment.

Aside from these health risks and side effects, it is not a hundred per cent confident and can also be physically and emotionally demanding.

Cost of IVF      

The price of IVF cycles depends on some significant factors. These factors include where you live, the number of medications you have to take, the total number of IVF cycles you go through, and the percentage share your insurance company will pay for the procedure.

In the U.S., as recorded by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the average cost of a single IVF cycle is over $12,400. This amount does not cover insurance because U.S. insurance schemes do not hide it. Spain and Mexico, it is much lesser. The average cost of IVF with own eggs in Spain ranges from €4,100 to €7,100. In Mexico, IVF costs from $5,700 to $7,500; this cost includes all the IVF lab medications, egg retrieval, procedures, fresh embryo transfer, and the freezing of remaining embryos for a year.


In most cases, counseling sessions are held before and after the IVF treatment. This is necessary because it is medically therapeutic, and it enables the couple to have a better understanding of the whole procedure while offering support. For cases of unsuccessful IVF treatment, partners involved should be patient for a couple of months before contemplating trying it out again. This will give your body system time to recover and also ease away stress both physically and mentally. For folks who successfully have babies through this process, a counseling session is advised, especially if you aren't finding it easy to adapt to your new lifestyle. Seek help from professional practitioners from time to time because you need them at this point.