Whether you’ve been trying to have a baby for several years now or you’re just starting to plan for the future, you might have some questions about in-vitro fertilization (IVF). In this blog post, we answer the six most frequently asked questions that we get from patients. Hopefully it helps you on your journey. If you have any questions still unanswered, please feel free to get in touch. We’d love to answer all of your questions.
1. Do I need IVF if I’m not trying to get pregnant right now?
It’s never too soon to start thinking about the future. If you’re thinking of delaying pregnancy until later in life, it’s a good idea to consider harvesting your eggs. Women who harvest their eggs when they are still in their early-to-mid thirties improve their chances of having children later in life.
2. Am I too old for IVF?
The bad news is that the success of IVF treatments may diminish after the age of 35, due to a declining number and quality of eggs. The good news is that advanced Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) regimes, like Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CSS) / Preimplantation Genetic Screening (PGS), may accelerate treatment and increase the likelihood of a successful pregnancy by identifying those embryos that have a high chance of leading to a healthy baby.
Women who do these treatments have implantation rates (pregnancy per embryo transferred) similar to younger women, since identifying a healthy embryo is the trickiest part of implantation.
Similarly, older women who use donor eggs have a higher chance of success, since younger eggs are more likely to be viable and the age of the uterus doesn’t significantly affect pregnancy rates. Up until the age of 50, women who use donated eggs through IVF treatment have the same chances of conceiving as women younger than 35. Now those are pretty good odds!
3. Do I need to take time off of work after IVF?
Most IVF procedures are minimally invasive and performed on an outpatient basis.
Following egg extraction, most patients return to work the next day and can even go back to their normal exercise routine within several days (although it’s recommended to not overexert oneself). After an embryo transfer, however, a few days of bed rest is advised.
4. Are frozen eggs or embryos less effective than fresh eggs or embryos?
Vitrification (egg or embryo freezing) technology leads to about 98% embryo survival, with success rates that are comparable to fresh embryos. Thawing frozen eggs is also increasingly successful.
Freezing embryos also allows for CSS/PGS and Preimplantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD), which can select the healthier embryos that stand a greater chance of resulting in a live birth.
Yet another benefit of freezing is that it gives a woman’s hormone levels the chance to “cool off” after egg retrieval and stimulation. As a result, embryos can be transferred when a woman’s hormone levels are stable, thereby improving embryo implantation and pregnancy development.
5. Does IVF lead to twins or multiple births?
In the past, physicians recommended transferring multiple embryos to improve the chances of success. Doing so sometimes led to multiple births.
Nowadays, however, this isn’t really necessary, thanks to advances like extended embryo culture and PGS/CCS. Implanting multiple embryos at a time is actually even discouraged due to the possible health risks associated with multiple births. Instead, excess embryos can be frozen for future use.
6. Is IVF affordable?
IVF may not be cheap, but a growing number of U.S. states require some sort of insurance coverage for fertility treatments, and an increasing number of employers and insurance providers are seeing the value in adding fertility coverage to their benefits packages.
For those whose insurance package doesn’t cover IVF, grants and financing are also options.
Globally, IVF is expected to grow 11.7% per year between now and 2022. As demand increases and treatments become more efficient, prices will go down and more businesses and insurance plans will likely offer full or partial coverage.
Also, consider the efficiency of IVF – which can avert other treatments and shorten your time to conceive.
Did that answer all of your IVF questions? If not, schedule a new patient consultation, or give us a call at (949) 706-2229. Our fertility specialists will be glad to help you grow your family!