What is in vitro fertilization (IVF)?
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a procedure in which eggs are removed from mature follicles in the ovary and then fertilized in a special environment in our laboratory. The fertilized eggs grow and divide for three to five days after which the resulting embryo is transferred into the uterus.
In order to prepare a woman for IVF, she is given medication to stimulate her ovaries to produce a large number of eggs, (the average is 12-13), rather than the usual one. A large number of eggs increases the chance of successful fertilization. Successful fertilization increases the number of embryos available for transfer in a fresh or thaw cycle. Transferring more than one embryo (normally 2 or 3) increases the chance of conception.
Who is a candidate for IVF?
IVF may be a successful treatment for women with blocked or absent fallopian tubes, those suffering from ovulation disorders, or endometriosis. It has also proven to be an effective treatment for couples with unexplained infertility and male factor problems.
How successful is IVF?
While there are no guarantees, a complete IVF treatment cycle results in conception approximately 30% of the time. This is higher than the expected conception rate per cycle for any normal fertile couple.
What risks are associated with IVF?
The most common complication of IVF is multiple pregnancy. This occurs in approximately 22% of cases. Normally, the result is a singleton pregnancy. The drugs used to stimulate the ovaries can result in ovarian hyperstimulation in 1-3% of cases. If this occurs, treatment may have to be cancelled.
In vitro fertilization includes a surgical procedure for retrieval of eggs. As with any surgery, some risk is involved. It may include discomfort associated with aspiration of the follicles. There is a slight chance of bleeding or pelvic infection. This occurs in less than 1% of cases.
How do I learn more about IVF?
Atlantic Assisted Reproductive Therapies offers information evenings several times per year. These meetings are open to anyone interested in our services. Team members will explain our services and what a couple may expect.