IVF (in vitro fertilisation) is a treatment that can help women or couples with various fertility issues to become pregnant. It has a very high success rate, with leading clinic chain in Spain IVI, who offer conventional IVF treatment as well as other clinical reproductive services like artificial insemination and egg donation, reporting that 90% of women who undergo an assisted reproductive treatment at their facilities become pregnant.
If you have fertility problems that have been diagnosed, or are simply having no luck in getting pregnant after a long period of trying, then IVF could be the solution. However, this is only one of a few options you have when it comes to assisted reproduction, and is one of the most extreme, so you need to be sure IVF is right for you before going ahead with treatment.
How Does IVF Work?
The process of having IVF begins with stimulation of the ovaries to produce more eggs. This is done using a period of daily injections. These drugs make your ovaries produce more than one egg (during your normal cycle only one egg per month is produced). You will be monitored during this time, and when ultrasound scans reveal to your practitioners that your eggs are of a large enough size and quantity, you will be given a hormone treatment that will speed up the maturation of the eggs. 26 hours after this, your eggs will be removed.
The eggs are then fertilised with sperm, which will be obtained either from your partner, or, if you don’t have one or he is infertile, from a donor. The fertilised eggs are then grown into embryos. The embryos are then sorted in terms of which are most viable. The best embryos are then transferred to your uterus. This is done in an operating theatre, however it is a procedure no more painful than a smear test, so you do not have to be sedated or anaesthetised.
The remaining good embryos can then be preserved in the lab, so if the first round of treatment does not lead to a viable pregnancy, the only stage you need to repeat is that of having new embryos transferred to the uterus.
Who Is IVF Best For?
While IVF does have a high success rate, it is geared toward helping people with certain fertility problems. It can work well if the male partner has low sperm mobility, because the sperm is introduced directly to the egg in a lab, if the woman has lesions on her fallopian tubes, severe endometriosis, or where a limited amount of eggs are available. It can also be a good next step for people who have tried artificial insemination with no success.
If you are considering IVF, the first thing to do is either talk to your GP or a specialist at an IVF facility such as IVI. They can help answer your questions and assess how good a solution IVF is in your particular case, or discuss with you other options you may want to try first.