When is IVF performed?
IVF is typically used as a secondary treatment when other procedures, such as artificial insemination, are unsuccessful, although IVF may be the primary treatment for women over 40. There are also certain conditions that may call for IVF as an earlier intervention. These can include:
- Endometriosis: Can interfere with normal operation of the reproductive system
- Fallopian tube blockage: May prevent egg and sperm contact in conventional ways
- Fertility preservation: Patients facing cancer treatments may have eggs harvested prior to treatment for later IVF use, themselves or through a surrogate
- Fibroids: Benign uterine tumors may prevent natural egg implantation
- Genetic disorders: IVF methods permit some level of genetic screening for certain genetic conditions
- Impaired sperm: IVF may improve chances for fertilization due to low sperm counts or poor sperm motility
- Previous sterilization: Women with tubal ligation sterilization may have an option through IVF if they wish to have another pregnancy
- Ovary failure: When normal ovarian function ceases at an early age, IVF procedures may help a woman conceive
- Unknown infertility: When no reason for infertility is found, IVF may be an option to assist pregnancy
How does the IVF process proceed?
Before the IVF treatment cycle begins, donors typically go through a series of screenings. Women have ovarian reserve testing to establish quantity and quality of egg supply, while men have semen analysis to determine the health of sperm. Both partners are screened for infectious diseases. Mock embryo transfers may be performed to determine the best IVF techniques. Global Fertility & Genetics specializes in intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) and frozen embryo transfer (FET) techniques.
Are there risks associated with IVF?
There are several steps in the typical IVF process and complications can occur at many points along the treatment path. These can include:
- Egg retrieval: Eggs are harvested using an aspirating needle that may cause damage, infection, or bleeding
- Multiple pregnancy: IVF techniques carry an increased risk of more than 1 embryo becoming implanted
- Low birth weight and premature delivery: There’s a slightly increased statistical possibility of these conditions following IVF treatment
- Ectopic pregnancies: Between 2-5% of IVF patients experience pregnancies starting outside the uterus
Stress: Failure to get pregnant creates a base of stress to which IVF may add due to procedures, complexity, and expense