What does IVF stand for?
IVF is an acronym that stands for In Vitro Fertilization. In vitro refers to fertilization of the egg by sperm in a petri dish instead of in vivo or inside the body. “In vitro” means glass, and it refers to the glass dish typically used during IVF. IVF has a safe track record and has been used successfully for more than forty years.
Who uses IVF?
IVF is one of the most familiar infertility treatments around, though it is actually used in a minority of cases. Infertility drugs to stimulate egg production, and artificial insemination, among other treatments, are used long before you are recommended for IVF. One of the only exceptions to this is when you want to do genetic screening before embryo implantation or when you know you’ll be using a gestational surrogate. IVF is also used when a woman has blocked or damaged Fallopian tubes, meaning natural conception isn’t an option, even though her eggs may be perfectly good. With IVF, the ovaries are stimulated and a woman’s eggs are removed surgically, before being fertilized and inseminated back into the intended mother.
What are the pros of IVF?
IVF allows you to create embryos that you have complete control over. They can be frozen for use in future implantation cycles or they can be tested for genetic disorders, so you don’t have a child with a terminal or debilitating condition. IVF can overcome problems with conception caused by endometriosis. It allows many couples to have their own biological children. For many who want to use donor eggs, whether due to menopause, premature ovarian failure, or other medical problems, IVF is the best treatment option.
In some cases, IVF allows you to diagnose previously unexplained fertility problems. Then fertility specialists can recommend ICSI or donor eggs/sperm, whatever is appropriate in your case.
You can learn more about the primary and secondary causes of infertility and the various treatments at Wessex Fertility
What are the cons of IVF?
The odds of success with IVF decrease as a woman gets older. Women over the age of 35 have low odds of conception with IVF, though it remains possible. What’s more, the risk of multiple births increases with IVF, because multiple embryos are typically implanted to increase the odds of pregnancy. The National Health Service only covers IVF in certain cases. So, if you don’t meet their eligibility criteria, you will have to opt for private fertility treatment.
There is a risk that you’ll have unused embryos leftover. These may be used at a later time to complete your family, or you have to decide between discarding them, donating them or giving them to researchers.
IVF treatments have an extremely high success rate and have helped hundreds and thousands of couples around the world have the families they’ve always dreamed of.