IVF Success Rates

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Independent Info & News Regarding IVF (In Vitro Fertilization)

IVF Success Rates
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IVFsuccess

As an IVF consultant, I talk through the IVF procedure on a daily basis, but I am still surprised by the amount of new questions I am asked. The IVF procedure is not something we plan for, or ever hope to undertake. In this article I have aimed to write a simple explanation about the IVF process step by step as well, as delving into the all important, yet very complicated and subjective IVF success rates.

Logistics


The IVF procedure is unique to each couple and depends on many factors. If the reason that you are undertaking an IVF procedure is unexplained infertility, then you are actually lucky because the process will be shorter and is simple. It will also cost you less. If your reasons for IVF procedure are due to more complicated female issues, or if there are sperm problems, then more will be involved. The IVF procedure in other instances is not a lot different,but you will undergo more testing, and the sperm will need to be treated before fertilization.

The Start


Most good IVF clinics will spend time monitoring your menstrual cycle in order to find out if you ovulate naturally. However, if you have been monitoring this yourself by using an ovulation kit, providing this information to your doctor will cut down the time span. Drugs may be administered at this time to regulate your menstrual cycle - in fact you will be put on a contraceptive pill of sorts! Ironic I know!


Continued below....

Your partner's sperm will also be analysed at this point and any issues will be discussed with you both. Problems with sperm are usually that there are too few, or that the sperm are 'sluggish' or slow. Don't worry too much, as sperm issues do not generally affect the IVF procedure success rate. Once your cycle is determined (with our without the help of drugs) the actual IVF begins. At this point the step by step can be variable depending on the types of drugs and their uses.


Fertility Drugs


Here I outline the most common IVF procedure, and the one my clinic has the most success with. Most clinics will begin administering a drug called Lupron on Day 21 of your cycle. This is so that the professionals have complete control over your ovulation. The drug is administered in the form of an injection twice daily. Your clinic will support you in showing you how to do this yourself, or some women prefer their partners to do this. You will have to perform these injections for 12 - 14 days.


Tests


On the first day of your menstrual cycle you will under go blood work and will generally have an ultrasound to investigate your ovaries. This can be unpleasant, but is necessary to ensure that your ovaries are responding to the drugs and have not formed cysts. During this time, you will undergo many bloody tests because the doctors need to check how your follicles are responding to the Lupron and if they are growing. Once they reach a certain size, you will be monitored daily. You need to learn to love the needle during the IVF process!


Trigger Shot


The next drug is termed the 'trigger' shot. The timing of this shot is important and you will be given an exact time to do it. At this point up to 20% of IVF procedures are cancelled due to ovarian problems. All going well though, you will move to the next step on the IVF procedure, and the most exciting!


Retrieval


Two days after the "trigger" shot you will undergo the process of egg retrieval. At this point you will be asked to stop eating for a day and will be given further drugs. Egg retrieval is very simple for you, but very painful. You will be given intravenous pain relief and you will need it! As they eggs are removed they will be counted off and the more eggs the better. A good number of eggs is around 8. Anything more can risk hyperstimualtion of the ovaries and makes transfer not possible. Any number less than 8 could mean that after three days of growth you may not be left with any surviving embryos. Sadly, this is common.

All going well, after three to five days of growth you will have a happy healthy embryo to implant. Embryo numbers dwindle daily, and at most clinics the embryologist will call you daily with updates on the numbers. The IVF procedure success rate is higher when embryos of five days of growth are implanted (blastocysts), but with eggs dying daily, this waiting game can be a little like a lottery. This is a tense time if you have made only a few eggs as low egg production reduces the success rate. These statistics are generally not recorded or discussed as the 30 -40% IVF procedure success rate, is calculated from implantation to live birth - and does not consider other factors leading up to implantation.


Implantation


Implantation of the embryo is a simple and painless procedure where the embryo is inserted via a long thin catheter. This is also the most exciting part of the IVF procedure! Life is so close and you need only wait 10 days to do a pregnancy test! During this time you will insert progesterone balls daily - which are a little messy in your underwear, but they aim to make your body welcoming for your new embryo in the hope of it imbedding and growing!

The IVF procedure success rate is touted these days at over 40% of live births. As I stated earlier, I would concur that these figures are not actual percentage as often for economic reasons the figures are enhanced. There are numerous factors which affect the IVF procedure success rate, and they are based on an individual rather than the masses.


Factors to be considered are: female age, sperm quality, reproductive function, egg production, age of embryo at implantation and on the clinical procedures and monitoring.


If you are thinking of undertaking IVF, I hope here you have found the IVF procedure explained. It is a long journey,and I would advise you consider all other options before paying thousands of dollars. Read and learn all you can! There are many other options available out there. Buy books, go to the library or in these modern times get an e-book. Often e-books offer money back guarantees which is fantastic. I wish you well on your quest for motherhood.

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