Infertility is a common problem in the United States affecting 10%-15% of couples. It is a disease of the male or female reproductive system defined as being unable to get pregnant despite having regular, unprotected sex for at least a year or more. If you and your partner have been battling infertility, you may be happy to know that reproductive endocrinology Bedford offers treatments like in vitro fertilization to improve your chances of experiencing a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. Here is more to learn about in vitro fertilization.
What is in vitro fertilization (IVF)?
In vitro fertilization is a type of assisted reproductive technology, that involves a complex series of procedures to help with child conception or prevent genetic problems. The start of IVF cycle usually starts with ovulation induction – this is whereby synthetic hormones are used to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs instead of one egg that usually develops each month. Once the eggs are mature, they are retrieved from the ovaries and fertilized by sperm in the lab. The fertilized eggs are then implanted into the mother’s or surrogate’s uterus. The whole process may take about three weeks but the process can take longer since these steps are split into different parts.
IVF works where other infertility treatments like intrauterine insemination and fertility medications fail, making it the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology. The procedure may involve using a couple’s eggs and sperm or it can be done using eggs, sperm, or embryos from a known or anonymous donor. A gestational carrier – someone who has an embryo implanted in the uterus can also be an option.
Why it’s done
In vitro fertilization is usually performed to treat infertility but it can also help a couple who are at risk of passing a genetic disorder to their baby. Most of the time specialists recommend that a couple tries less invasive options like fertility medications before attempting IVF. However, sometimes certain infertility diagnoses will cause your doctor to recommend IVF as the first line of treatment. For example, your provider may recommend IVF if you have blocked fallopian tubes or are above 40 years.
In vitro fertilization may also be an option if you or your partner has:
- Ovulation disorders. Women with ovulation disorders have infrequent ovulation or do not ovulate, meaning there are fewer eggs for fertilization.
- Endometriosis. This gynecological disorder occurs when endometrial-like tissue implants and grows outside the uterus. The tissue can grow on reproductive organs like ovaries and fallopian tubes, affecting their function.
- Impaired sperm production or function. Problems like below-average sperm concentration, poor mobility, and abnormalities in sperm shape and size make it difficult for the sperm to fertilize the egg.
- Uterine fibroids. These are benign tumors that grow in the uterus; they are common in women in their 30s and 40s. These growths can interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg.
- A genetic disorder. Couples who are at risk of passing on a genetic disorder to their child may consider preimplantation genetic testing – a procedure that involves IVF.
- Unexplained infertility. There is no diagnosed cause of infertility despite evaluation for common causes.
Are you having problems getting pregnant? Schedule a session today with your specialist at Effortless IVF to establish if in vitro fertilization is an option for you.