In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is a set of fertility procedures that help in conceiving by artificially fertilizing retrieved ovaries with sperm. It is the most effective form of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Here are key things you need to know before starting IVF.
When IVF is recommended
IVF may be an option if you or your partner has:
- Fallopian tube damage or blockage
- Ovulation disorders
- Uterine fibroids
- Previous tubal sterilization or removal
- Impaired sperm production or function
- Unexplained infertility
- A genetic disorder that they risk passing on to a child
- Fertility preservation if one is about to start treatment for cancer or other health conditions
Things to know before
Time and patience
IVF is invasive and time-consuming. There’ll be many appointments of initial treatment planning, then for stimulation monitoring, egg retrieval, semen analysis, and more. The treatment progress varies for each individual because it’s dependent on how the body responds. What is common for most couples though is that IVF because timing is so key ends up ruling their schedules.
Most women need to undergo multiple rounds of IVF before they are successful. Studies estimate that your chance of having a baby after three cycles of treatment can range anywhere from 45 to 63%. Don’t blindly trust the success rates clinics use to market themselves. Research shows that success rates are extremely misleading, and you need to judiciously look at the data as well as speak to your doctor about your chances.
IVF is expensive and health insurance companies may not cover it. The fact that you may require multiple rounds further exacerbates this. While doing your research, compare the costs of different clinics and health facilities but don’t make your selection solely based on the cheapest option. Also, ask about any hidden costs, things such as blood tests and other diagnostic tests which can really add up.
The entire process can be extremely stressful. There’s the financial cost, all the time required, the fact that success is not guaranteed, and the pressure from the desire to have a child. There are also periods when you will be advised not to have sex with your partner. All this and more result in extreme emotional stress for the individuals and puts great strain on the relationship. The good news is there is no truth to the belief that being stressed out will make it harder to get pregnant. One less thing to worry about.
Painful and uncomfortable
The injectable drugs have a variety of side effects including cramping, bloating, breast tenderness, mood swings, headaches, and abdominal pain. The hormones from the injections get the body ready for and mimic pregnancy. For this reason, you will look and feel pregnant which explains the aforementioned side effects. Hormones affecting mood during an already stressful situation is… not fun, to say the least.
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