November 29, 2023

IVF may be your best bet for conception

Many couples struggling with infertility choose in vitro fertilization (IVF) as an assisted conception method. IVF is a method of assisted reproduction in which your man’s sperm and your eggs are combined outside of the body in a laboratory dish. One or more fertilized eggs (embryos) may be transferred into your uterus, where they may implant in the uterine lining and develop.

The procedure involves extracting eggs from the ovaries, injecting the sperm into the egg, and inserting them directly into the uterus. The good news for parents undergoing IVF treatment is that a pregnancy that is achieved through IVF is not necessarily considered high-risk.

However, if you have opted to conceive through this technique, you may have one or more pre-existing conditions, such as advanced maternal age or a history of miscarriages. So, you may need to see a specialist to take care of you.

There are many reasons why IVF may be your best option for conceiving, but you need to know what you are dealing with and be prepared. Generally, IVF is a safe, effective, and common treatment for infertility that is usually recommended after you may have tried other methods especially when you are dealing with challenges such as ovulation disorders, impaired sperm function, and tubal blockage.


For instance, injectable fertility medications (gonadotropins) are used for an IVF cycle. These medicines help stimulate several follicles with eggs to grow in the ovaries. The possible side effects of injectable fertility medicines vary and may include soreness at the injection site, nausea and, occasionally, vomiting, temporary allergic reactions, breast tenderness and increased vaginal discharge, mood swings and fatigue, and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS).

Also, during the egg retrieval, a vaginal ultrasound is used to guide the insertion of a long, thin needle through your vagina into the ovary and then into each follicle to retrieve eggs.

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And then, during the embryo transfer, a catheter containing the embryos is used to gently place them into the uterus (womb). You may feel mild cramping when the catheter is inserted through the cervix. If you conceive with IVF, having multiple pregnancies (pregnancy with more than one baby) is more likely, particularly when more than one embryo is transferred.

Many IVF recipients have more than one embryo implanted to increase the chance of getting pregnant. A significant number of IVF pregnancies in couples under the age of 35 results in live births of twins and triplets to a lesser extent. Generally, giving birth to multiples is more common with fertility treatments than non-assisted pregnancies because more than one embryo may be transferred to increase the chances of conception.

The more embryos that are transferred into the uterus, the greater the risk. Your doctor should transfer the minimum number of embryos necessary to provide a high likelihood of pregnancy with the lowest risk of multiple pregnancies. The rate of miscarriage after IVF is similar to the rate following natural conception, with the risk going up with the mother’s age.

While it is true that IVF increases the chance of birth complications, the perceived birth defects are probably related to the nature of your infertility, rather than that of the IVF treatment, which does not directly cause congenital birth defects or complications.

The bottom line is that IVF is a safe method for conceiving even though underlying conditions such as lack of ovulation or advanced maternal age tend to contribute to the risk level. Essentially, once you are decided on using IVF, you should know that the benefits outweigh the risks.

As with any pregnancy—via IVF or not—talk to your doctor about any concerns about the health of your pregnancy.

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