In vitro fertilization (IVF) is the most commonly known assisted reproductive technology, or ART. IVF is a procedure where the egg and sperm are combined together outside of the female’s body, and then placed in the woman’s uterus or fallopian tube. It’s a relatively expensive and extensive procedure, but IVF has helped more than 200,000 couples conceive.
A couple who has difficulty conceiving can benefit from IVF when there is a diagnosis of:
- Low sperm count
- Problems with the uterus and/or fallopian tubes
- Problems with ovulation
- Unexplained fertility
- Antibodies that harm the sperm or egg
- Cervical mucus problems
The IVF Process
IVF is typically the first fertility procedure performed. It is usually performed only after drugs, surgery, or artificial insemination have been tried and failed. The first step involved with IVF is the use of injectable hormones that cause the woman to super ovulate, or release several eggs at once. She will go through several tests to see when she is ready to release these eggs. Once the eggs are ready, they will be retrieved by the Denver fertility doctor, who will locate the eggs by an intrauterine ultrasound. She can expect this to take up to an hour, however it usually only takes 30 minutes.
With IVF, the eggs will immediately be combined with sperm, usually donated the same day. The fertilized eggs will be kept overnight to ensure growth in the best conditions. The embryos are ready within five days. Once the embryos are processed, they will be placed in the uterus where they will hopefully implant in the uterine wall.
This is done by a long flexible catheter inserted through the vagina, through the cervix, and into the uterus. Usually 3 to 4 embryos will be deposited at a time. This does, however, increase the risk of multiple pregnancies, which is a high risk for mother and baby.
IVF Success Rate
There is a relatively high success rate with IVF, according to recent fertility data. In about 30 percent of cases, pregnancy is achieved. Around 22 percent of these cycles resulted in live births. Age plays a high factor in whether or not this works.
Once a woman is over the age of 35, the chances of pregnancy go down significantly, decreasing by half, every year. Women who are over 35 have a 40 percent chance of getting pregnant by IVF, and those over 40 only have an 11 percent chance of getting pregnant with this procedure.
Any embryos that aren’t used during the IVF procedure are saved for later use by a flash freezing process. They can be saved for a few months before the embryos become less viable. The embryos also can be donated to other couples, if they aren’t wanted for some reason.
Cost and Preparation for IVF
IVF can cost around $8,000 to 11,000 for one cycle, depending on the extent of the treatment. This will differ depending on where the couple lives and how much medication is needed. Some insurance companies cover these costs, but it depends on the policy. Rocky Mountain Fertility works with several financing companies as well that will help.
To prepare for the IVF procedure, the couple should write down anything that they may want to talk about. Be sure to talk with your doctor about their experience in this field, as more experience increases the chance of pregnancy. There are many factors associated with fertility treatment. IVF is an expensive procedure, and other options have to be explored prior to this choice.
The IVF Procedure
Often, fertility drugs have to be taken for a certain amount of time prior to the IVF procedure. During the procedure, the fertility doctor has the woman lay down for a specified amount of time. There may be some spotting afterwards for a few days, but this shouldn’t alter the pregnancy at all.
Some women have experienced cramping with after IVF. Once the procedure and wait time is over, you will be allowed to leave the fertility clinic, but don’t do anything strenuous for the rest of the day. Relax and take it easy so the embryo has the best possible chance to implant.
The top IVF doctor in Colorado is Dr. Deborah Smith with Rocky Mountain Fertility. Numerous times Dr. Smith has received the Patients Choice Award as the top fertility doctor in the State and also Health Tap named her the top Colorado reproductive endocrinologist.
Currently the clinic is offering complimentary 15 minute phone consultations, call (303) 999-3877 for more information and scheduling today!