In vitro fertilization (IVF) is used to help individuals and couples who struggle with infertility. It is a complex type of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that includes a series of procedures. Individuals have the choice of using their own eggs and sperm or using sperm, eggs, or embryos from a known or anonymous donor.
Infertility and IVF
IVF isn’t a procedure that produces results overnight. One complete IVF cycle can take about three weeks. The process can take longer if the steps need to be split into different parts. An IVF procedure involves extracting eggs from the woman undergoing the IVF procedure or from a donor, then fertilizing the eggs in the laboratory with the sperm from the male partner or a donor. The embryos that result are then transferred into a uterus in the hopes of achieving a successful pregnancy or frozen for future use.
Let’s look at what the numbers tell us about infertility and the success of IVF procedures.
Infertility Rates and IVF Success Rates
In the United States, 11% of women of reproductive age and 9% of men experience problems with fertility.
- 12% to 15% of couples are unable to conceive after one year of unprotected sex
- 10% of couples have not conceived after two years of unprotected sex
- 40% to 60% of healthy, young couples (below age 30) conceive in the first three months when trying
Age plays a role in the chances of getting pregnant naturally, and it is an influential factor in the success rate of IVF procedures as well. The influence of age is apparent when looking at the national IVF success rate in 2020. This data reflects IVF cycles that result in the birth of a single baby.
- 47.2% of women younger than age 35
- 34.6% of women aged 35 to 37
- 22.1% of women aged 38 to 40
- 7.2% of women over 40
On average, research has shown that about 65.3% of patients, or two-thirds, have a successful outcome after six or more IVF cycles. This is especially applicable to IVF patients under the age of 40.
There are specific factors that impact the success of an IVF procedure. In the next section, we’ll inspect some of these factors.
Factors Affecting IVF Success
Multiple IVF attempts are often required before pregnancy occurs. Success rates of IVF vary, taking the following into account:
- History of miscarriage, ART cycles, and births
- Type of infertility problems
- Lifestyle choices
- Psychological or emotional aspects
Let’s look a little deeper.
Time is the single biggest factor impacting the success of an IVF procedure. The highest success rates are found in women under the age of 34 when a woman is at the peak of her fertility. The IVF success rate decreases as the woman’s age increases. This results from the natural decline in the quality and quantity of a woman’s eggs as she grows older.
Men are not immune to the effects of time. Sperm quality also drops after the age of 34.
History of Miscarriage, ART Cycles, and Births
A woman’s chances of conceiving via IVF improve if she has been pregnant before and carried the baby to term. Women who have suffered recurrent miscarriages may find they have more difficulty conceiving via IVF than women who have no history of miscarriage. Also, those who have undergone previous ART cycles may have a more challenging time getting pregnant.
Type of Infertility Problems
For those facing a range of common fertility problems, IVF can work wonders. Women with a history of endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes, or Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) can be excellent candidates. Men struggling with low sperm count or decreased motility, and morphology difficulties can usually benefit from IVF.
Other problems that women may face include fibroids, uterine abnormalities, and ovarian dysfunction, all of which present a greater challenge for IVF alone. In these cases, other surgeries or the services of a donor may be needed.
Choices made in life can impact the chances of conceiving, both via natural means and IVF procedures. For example, excessive smoking of both tobacco and marijuana Negatively impacts both egg and sperm quality. It is strongly recommended that individuals stop smoking if they are pregnant or wish to become so.
Weight is another lifestyle factor that affects the success rate of IVF. Being overweight or underweight reduces a woman’s chances of conceiving below the odds enjoyed by those with a healthy body mass index (BMI.) Committing to a healthy diet, rich in fruits and vegetables and low in processed foods can contribute to a successful IVF cycle.
Psychological or Emotional Aspects
Individuals and partners in a relationship who decide to undergo an IVF procedure face emotional and physical challenges. Experiencing feelings of stress is common for participants as they await the outcome of their IVF treatment. The stress tends to spike when an IVF procedure is unsuccessful.
Commonly experienced reactions are anxiety and depression during the approximately three weeks an IVF treatment can last. If the procedure is unsuccessful, feelings of depression, anger, and sadness are prevalent.
Other factors must be considered before entering an IVF program.
Costs for IVF Treatment
The cost for IVF treatment varies from clinic to clinic, state to state, and country to country. A single IVF cycle, usually consisting of ovarian stimulation, retrieval of the eggs, and embryo transfer can cost between $10,000 to $30,000 or more, depending on the clinic and the medication needed by the patient. Medication alone can account for up to 35% of the charges.
Your insurance may cover some costs but this should be clarified before you begin any treatment cycle. A clinic’s base fee will usually cover your appointments, IVF monitoring bloodwork, retrieval of the eggs, and follow-up care. It’s best to always ask for a comprehensive list of what’s included in the base fee and what additional charges you can expect.
An IVF Procedure
IVF outcomes can differ substantially from person to person based on all of the factors listed above. Some will have a successful pregnancy after only one IVF cycle, while others may require six or more attempts before pregnancy happens.
Contact ORM Fertility for all the information you’ll need to prepare for the beginning of your IVF adventure.