Preparing for Your IVF Treatment
- Posted on: Jul 20 2014
It is reported that as many as 1 in 8 couples in the US are faced with fertility problems, leading to an inability to conceive. Although many of these cases may benefit from IVF treatment, in my practice, I have seen many couples back away from the same.
In their minds, IVF treatment presents a long and expensive road, and unfortunately these couples pass up the opportunity to benefit from this medical technology. It is important to carefully consider all the pros and cons of a medical procedure. I hope this article helps clear some of the confusion or misconceptions a couple may harbor while considering IVF as their fertility treatment.
IVF treatment may present a complex ethical, religious or moral dilemma to some. In this case, a couple may benefit from honest discussions with each other regarding their ethical concerns and reach a mutual agreement. It is important for couples to be comfortable with the fertility physician’s advice and feel free to voice their concerns.
Because IVF procedures are time consuming and require significant commitment on the part of the couple, it is vital to embark on the journey based on positive experiences without moral or ethical dilemmas. Sometimes the ethical concerns can be resolved with egg freezing, fertilizing less eggs, and not destroying embryos, but the fertility center needs to know the couple’s concerns in order to address them. Couples should make sure to discuss their religious and ethical concerns when embarking on the fertility treatment journey.
Selecting Treatment Options
Determining the right fertility treatment plan is a great step forward. It starts with getting to know all options available for treating infertility. For example, a couple seeking fertility advice may opt for no treatment, standard infertility diagnostic testing, surgical treatment, fertility medications, male infertility treatment, intrauterine insemination, IVF, surrogacy, or adoption. Every one’s circumstances are different, and what may work for one, may not be the best option for another. A knowledgeable and experienced fertility specialist will help point towards the right direction.
It is equally important to find a fertility clinic that provides high quality medical care through specially trained fertility physicians. A reproductive endocrinologist is the subspecialty of physicians who have undergone training for providing fertility treatments. When choosing a fertility clinic, one needs to consider the expertise of the staff and the success rates. Fertility clinics need to follow the guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM). Moreover, a clinic’s participation with the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) is a sign of good provider practices.
Couples may undertake a cost-benefit analysis with the guidance of their fertility physician. This will help them compare various fertility treatments side by side. Typically,
The value of a procedure is determined by the couple after considering factors that are most important to them. For example, for a couple wanting to have a biological child, adoption is not a foremost preference. Moreover, for women wanting to carry their own fetus, surrogacy may not be the most sought out option. Ultimately, the benefit of all available treatment options must be prioritized by the couple after consultation with their physician.
Typically, an IVF cycle costs $9,000 to 12,000, and insurance companies do not cover all of these expenses. It is advisable to determine what is covered by health insurance plans, and how the rest of it can be afforded through one’s personal finances. Some fertility clinics may have financing options or refund policies, which may provide some financial relief to couples.
A woman’s fertility declines with age, and therefore, women over 35 years may feel compelled to act faster than a younger female. The intensity of an IVF treatment, including the number of cycles, may increase with the age of the woman. It is important to bear this in mind when seeking IVF treatment. Understanding the steps involved in IVF treatment and planning in advance to incorporate multiple doctor’s visit and treatment procedures into one’s active lifestyle, will help ease the burden of the process.
Like in any medical procedure, IVF treatment is associated with some medical risks. Studies have, however, shown that IVF pregnancies are comparable to non-IVF pregnancies in regards to medical risks. Although a subgroup of women may be at a higher risk for IVF complications, generally IVF procedures are safe for both mother and the fetus. Ovarian hyperstimulation (OHSS) is a serious medical condition associated with some fertility medications; however, OHSS occurs in less than 1% of the IVF patients. Adherence to the ASRM and SART guidelines ensures that a fertility clinic maintains high quality medical service to IVF patients. For example, in order to prevent multiple births through IVF procedures, SART has laid out guidelines on the number of embryos to transfer.
Infertility affects couples deeply on an emotional level. Dealing with societal pressures and perceptions may be another vexing problem for those unable to start a family on their own. Although the science and procedures of IVF may be new and seem strange to some, IVF has come a long way since its inception in 1978. Today, IVF is considered a medically accepted form of assisted reproductive technology with over 4 million babies born worldwide through this technology.
As a final thought, I would advise couples to learn in advance about IVF procedures, alternative treatment options and the costs involved. If indeed IVF therapy seems acceptable to a couple’s belief system, lifestyle and financial situation, they should proceed onwards following the medically accepted guidelines. Ultimately, with the guidance of a fertility physician, a couple has to decide for themselves whether IVF is the gateway to their dreams.
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