In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is one of the medically assisted remedies for couples experiencing infertility issues. It is usually considered after all lifestyle and diet changes have been implemented. IVF success rates depend on a number of factors, including age.
IVF is usually a step taken after some treatment with fertility drugs has also been attempted. In addition, surgical remedies for blockages, cysts or fibroid tumors are available, as is artificial insemination, where the sperm is inserted into the uterus directly.
All of these are options for treating infertility, and which are usually attempted prior to IVF. Only about 5 percent of all couples seek IVF as an option, even though it has become more widely accepted in society.
When Is IVF a Viable Option?
When all other medical interventions have failed, IVF is a viable option. You start by receiving a series of injections of hormones to get the body ready for pregnancy. Medication is also injected that will promote the maturation of a developing egg(s) and stimulates ovulation.
Then eggs must be taken at the exact time, before they are released by the ovaries. Your eggs are then fertilized in a lab with the sperm of the male.
If fertilization is successful and the egg lasts 3-4 days in the laboratory setting, the newly-developed embryo is then placed back into your uterus to be nurtured through pregnancy.
How Successful is IVF?
Many factors go into the success of IVF. The timing of the retrieval is important. Your adherence to the strict rules given to patients leading up to retrieval and after are pivotal to success.
In 2010, the latest for the figures, the overall success rate for full-term, successful births was 32%.
These factors play a huge role in success:
The health of your eggs – you can increase your egg’s health through proper nutrition, exercise and vitamins
The motility of the sperm – though if your partner’s sperm is a problem, there is a technique called intracytoplasmic sperm injection where a doctor injects your partner’s sperm right into the egg, rather than having the sperm penetrate the egg in the lab.
Your age is possibly the biggest factor and causes the biggest deviation in success rates. Women averaging around 35 have a 40% success rate. However, the rate plunges to 12% for those over 40 – unfortunately, the largest group of IVF users.
Successful pregnancy rates are slowly increasing, though, as IVF technology becomes more refined. Success also depends on the lab and the skill of the doctor, so make sure to do your research and get references.
When to turn to IVF
Of course, as mentioned above, IVF can be seen by some as an extreme remedy and it is an invasive measure to cure infertility. (Unless of course, a medical condition is identified early on that makes natural conception impossible.)
Before getting to this point, you might want to make sure you have exhausted all other options. Natural options are often effective, so trying to implement lifestyle and diet changes to maximize fertility can preclude the need to use fertility drugs, take injections and even have fertility done outside of the body.
Holistic medicine is another effective method of trying to cure infertility through the art of acupuncture, basal temperature readings and combinations of herbs and exercises for different issues that inhibit conception. Check out this review on a pregnancy guide that takes you through this.
For those on a tight budget, without adequate insurance or who just want to keep things natural, IVF should be seen as a possible end game if all else fails, or just a tool they keep in their arsenal until its use is absolutely necessary.