In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is an option for couples dealing with infertility. It’s a good choice for those with a serious medical condition that causes infertility. The procedure is preferable because a woman can use her eggs and the man’s sperm. Here’s some information on what’s involved with IVF.

Finding a Physician

Consumers need a physician that’s sensitive to the ethics of infertility treatment. For instance, the physician should be upfront about the odds of success. Treatment is stressful, and it takes a toll on the couple’s emotions. Prospective patients should also look at the clinic’s IVF treatment cycle success rate. The federal government requires this information to be made public. For more information, talk to the physicians over at

Fertility Medications

There are several phases in an IVF cycle that takes place over six weeks. The physician does blood work and other tests to make sure the couple is healthy. An individual IVF plan is developed for each patient. The first phase requires the woman to take medication that stimulates egg production. Multiple eggs are needed because some of them don’t develop after retrieval. This is the most time-consuming part of the cycle. Patients visit the clinic regularly for ultrasounds and blood work. The physician is checking whether the eggs are mature enough for fertilization.

Egg Retrieval

The eggs are retrieved after the patient is sedated. Ultrasound is used to guide the physician who uses a hollow needle to remove the eggs. Next, the male provides a sperm sample. The sperm and eggs are combined in a process called insemination. The eggs and sperm are watched closely to see whether fertilization is taking place. Fertilized eggs are considered embryos. The physician has the embryos tested if there’s a genetic concern.


Embryos are transferred to the uterus three to five days after fertilization. The procedure is painless, but some cramping may occur. Other IVF side effects include passing a small amount of fluid, tender breasts, and constipation. Patients that develop heavy bleeding and a temperature above 101 should contact the physician right away.

How Many Embryos Are Transferred?

The patient and physician need to discuss this serious issue beforehand. The amount of embryos that are transferred depends on the mother’s age and the number of eggs collected. The physician may choose to implant more embryos in an older mother to increase the chances of success. However, this also increases the odds of having multiple births. Many parents may not be prepared to handle more than one baby. Embryos that are not transferred can be frozen for use in the future.

Success Rates

IVF success is measured by live births rather than the number of pregnancies. The live birth rate is 41 to 43 percent for women under age 35. On the other hand, the live birth rate falls to 13 to 18 percent for women over 40. Many insurance companies do not cover IVF. Therefore, couples should be prepared to spend over $12,000 for each IVF cycle. Many fertility clinics have private financing options available.

Women are advised to wait until after a period to start a new IVF cycle. It can take up to six weeks for any inflammation to subside. There’s no doubt that IVF has helped many couples become parents. There’s no guarantee of success, but the journey is well worth the effort.