What is In Vitro Fertilization, and When Is It an Option?

If you and your partner have been unsuccessful in getting pregnant for over a year, your specialist may recommend IVF / embryo transfer Santa Monica to improve your chances of getting a baby. However, most of the time, you may need to try out less invasive treatments such as fertility drugs before attempting IVF. It is a complex procedure, so it is essential to discuss with your specialist to understand what it involves, including the risks. Below is more insight on in vitro fertilization.

What is in vitro fertilization?

It is a form of assisted reproductive technology that involves a complex series of procedures to help with fertility or conception. Sometimes this treatment is helpful for individuals who are at risk of passing down genetic problems to their offspring. The first procedure, in vitro fertilization, involves collecting mature eggs from the ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm in the laboratory. Before egg retrieval, you use synthetic hormones to stimulate multiple egg production instead of a single egg that develops each month.

Multiple egg production increases your chances of getting pregnant since not all eggs will fertilize or develop normally after fertilization. Once the follicles are ready for egg retrieval, you will take medications such as human chorionic gonadotropin for oocyte maturation. You may also need to take other drugs to prevent premature ovulation and prepare your uterus lining. The whole process takes about three weeks, but it may take longer if the process is split into different parts.

Specialists can perform this procedure using a couple’s eggs and sperm or a donor’s. The donor may be known or unknown, which varies from person to person. The embryo can also be implanted in someone else’s uterus – a gestational carrier. The success of this procedure depends on different factors, including the cause of infertility and your age. Your doctor can help you determine if IVF is the proper infertility treatment.

When Would I need in vitro fertilization?

In vitro fertilization can be a primary treatment for women above 40 years with fertility problems. However, it can also be done if you have a specific health condition that affects fertility, such as:

  • Ovulation disorders. Ovulation may be infrequent or absent in some women, meaning fewer eggs are available for fertilization.
  • Uterine fibroids. These tumors grow in the uterus and are common in women’s childbearing years. These growths can interfere with the implantation of the fertilized egg, affecting fertility.
  • Endometriosis. It is a painful disorder when tissues similar to the uterus lining grow outside on other reproductive organs, including ovaries and fallopian tubes.

Your doctor may also recommend IVF if you and your partner are at risk of passing down a genetic condition to your child. In such cases, you may need pre-implantation genetic testing, which involves IVF. The procedure involves harvesting, fertilizing the eggs, testing, and screening them for genetic issues. Couples with unexplained infertility and people who wish to preserve fertility for cancer and other health conditions can benefit from IVF.

If you need to know whether IVF is the proper infertility treatment for you, consult your California Center for Reproductive Health doctor.