IVF treatment can help you to conceive if you’re having trouble getting pregnant naturally. However, IVF is a significant medical procedure so it is important to have a good understanding of the risks and benefits before you begin treatment. IVF isn’t right for everyone and there are no guarantees that fertility treatment will be successful.
Who is a Good Candidate for IVF Treatment?
IVF treatment can help with various kinds of fertility problems, but it isn’t suitable for everyone. The only way to find out if this is the right treatment for you is to have a thorough fertility assessment. The results can reveal whether there are any issues that can be overcome with IVF, such as a blocked fallopian tube that is preventing the egg and sperm from meeting naturally. It can also confirm whether you are producing healthy eggs or sperm that can be used for IVF.
IVF treatment can:
- Help with both male and female fertility problems
- Be used with special techniques such as ICSI if you need additional help
- Be performed with donor eggs, donor sperm or using a surrogate if necessary
However, IVF can’t always overcome fertility problems. For example, if you are older you may not be able to conceive using your own eggs or sperm. Certain gynaecological conditions can also make it harder for an embryo to implant in your womb after it is created through IVF.
What Does the IVF Process Involve?
The basic procedure used during IVF is as follows:
- Medication is used to pause the normal menstrual cycle and then to trigger the production of mature eggs.
- The eggs are collected.
- The eggs and sperm are combined in the lab. The sperm can be injected directly into the egg by ICSI if there are issues such as a very low sperm count or poor motility.
- The fertilised eggs will be allowed to grow for a while so that the healthiest embryos can be selected.
- An embryo is transferred into the womb, where it can implant and grow.
- Any remaining embryos can be frozen for future rounds of IVF.
Are there Any Risks with IVF Treatment?
IVF treatment is very safe when it is performed at a good clinic, but there are always risks involved with medical procedures. Women are likely to experience side effects due to the medication used and there is a risk of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome which can cause swelling, breathlessness and other symptoms. The egg retrieval and embryo transfer processes also carry low risks of complications such as infections or damage to your internal organs. If you conceive, you will also be experiencing the same risks as women who conceive naturally.
What are the Chances of Success?
The overall success rate for IVF treatment is about 35%, but the chances of getting pregnant can vary between couples so it is important to get personalised advice before deciding to have treatment. The chances can be affected by your age, certain gynaecological conditions, sperm count, lifestyle and many other factors. IVF treatment can take a lot of time, effort and money, without any guarantee of success.