In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a medical procedure used for couples who face fertility problems. During their lifetime, 10% of couples face some type of fertility issue. IVF is one of the most common forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART). The IVF procedure has many advantages for a couple with infertility. However, as with all medical procedures, there are some disadvantages to also consider. The couple should meet with the counselor to review the benefits and risks of IVF prior to undergoing IVF.

Benefit #1: IVF is used to Bypass Problems of the Fallopian Tubes

IVF was originally developed to help treat infertility related to the fallopian tubes. Due to endometriosis aIVF Denvernd other conditions, the fallopian tubes can become scarred or damaged. The sperm has trouble reaching the egg, and a fertilized egg has trouble passing down to the uterus to implant.

Benefit #2: IVF treats Unexplained Infertility

When infertility cannot be diagnosed, it is often called idiopathic (meaning unknown) infertility. The problem could be that the sperm and egg have problems interacting in a normal way, so IVF eliminates the problem.

Benefit #3: IVF/ICSI treats Failed Fertilization

When the sperm and egg cannot interact to produce a fertilized egg, it is considered failure of fertilization. With IVF, the embryologist can perform intracytoplasmic sperm insemination (ICSI), which involves inserting a single sperm directly into the egg. This method of fertilization is used to treat failed fertilization, for men who have abnormal sperm (motility and/or shape), and for those who previously had a vasectomy.

Benefit #4: IVF allows for Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis

Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is the process where a cell from an embryo can be tested for genetic disorders and chromosomal abnormalities, such as cystic fibrosis and Down’s syndrome. This is done so the embryos implanted into the uterus are of high quality and do not have defects.

Benefit #5: You can Use Donated Eggs and/or Sperm

Women with poor quality eggs, or men with poor quality sperm, can use donor gametes in the IVF process. The couple chooses an egg donor or sperm donor from an online databank, and proceeds with the procedure.

Benefit #6: You Control Timing

Clients who have busy lives and careers, or who have a unique life situation, can time the IVF cycles. Eggs, sperm, and embryos may be frozen (cryopreserved) for future use. The couple can then choose the time they wish to become pregnant and proceed with IVF.

Risk #1: Success is not Guaranteed

Less than 50% of couples achieve pregnancy using IVF. Of those who do get pregnant, not all go on to deliver a baby. Around 28% of IVF cycles result in a live birth.

Risk #2: Procedure Complicationsrmfc building logo1 small

During the IVF process, certain complications could occur. These include infection, bleeding, and organ damage. In addition, the eggs, sperm, and/or embryos could suffer damage during PGD or other techniques.

Risk #3: Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)

To get the ovaries to produce multiple eggs, fertility medications are given to the female partner. A risk of these medications is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. OHSS can cause breast tenderness, bloating, and other serious symptoms.

Risk #4: Multiple Pregnancies

Twins, triplets, or quadruplets could occur with IVF. Many people may not consider multiple pregnancies a disadvantage, but this issue carries many complications that put the woman’s health at risk. To avoid multiple pregnancies, single embryo transfer (SET) is an option.

Risk #5: High Costs

IVF is an expensive medical endeavor, and the process involves costly laboratory procedures. Most insurance plans do not cover many of the costs of IVF, so expense is an issue.

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