Understanding How In Vitro Fertilization Works

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most popular types of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), and usually yields positive results. If you and your partner have had trouble conceiving for more than one year, read on to find out how in vitro fertilization works, and whether it may be a good option for you.

What Is In Vitro Fertilization?
In vitro fertilization occurs when mature eggs are retrieved from a woman’s uterus and joined with male sperm, in a laboratory setting, to force conception.

IVF caused a huge stir in the medical community when the world’s first “test tube baby” was conceived in 1978. Since then, techniques and methodologies have vastly improved, making it possible for almost any couple to achieve pregnancy.

How Does IVF Work?
The first step of IVF is retrieving a sperm sample from the male partner or donor. Then, eggs are removed from the female’s ovaries via surgery.

The fertilization process takes place inside a petri dish, which is where the name “in vitro” (“in glass”) comes from.

Several days after fertilization, when the eggs have turned into embryos, they are implanted back into the woman’s uterus (or the uterus of a surrogate) so that the pregnancy may be carried to term.

What Is the Success Rate of IVF Procedures?
Success rates for IVF procedures vary from clinic to clinic. An analysis by the American Pregnancy Association revealed that IVF success rates for women under 35 years of age were between 30 and 35 percent.

Rates dropped to 25 percent for women between the ages of 35 and 37. Women between the ages of 38 and 40 could expect a 10 to 15 percent success rate, whereas women over 40 saw success rated between 6 and 10 percent (American Pregnancy Association, 2007).

IVF is, in most cases, an incredibly successful procedure that enables couple who normally wouldn’t be able to conceive to become pregnant and carry a child to term.

This incredible procedure comes with an incredible price tag, roughly around $15,000 for a single attempt. Some insurance companies may consider IVF a nonessential procedure, and offer limited or no coverage.

A closely related procedure, in vitro maturation (IVM), generally yields effective results for between one-half and one-third of the price for IVF. Additionally, IVM can be effective on women who have had radiation therapy and chemotherapy, whereas IVF generally isn’t.

Before you decide whether IVF is right for you, consider the complications associated with in vitro fertilization.