- When should I make an appointment at a fertility clinic?
You should make an appointment at a fertility clinic if you are under age 35 and have been trying to conceive for one year; if you are over age 35 and have been trying to conceive for six months; if you are trying to achieve a second or third pregnancy and have been unsuccessful; or if you have had recurrent miscarriages or are experiencing other gynecologic problems or pain.
- What exactly is involved in the IVF treatment process?
The IVF and embryo transfer process contains five basic steps: monitoring and stimulation of healthy eggs; collecting the eggs; securing the sperm; fertilizing the sperm and eggs in the lab; and transferring the embryos into the uterus.
- Is IVF painful?
Patients are put under anesthesia for the egg retrieval step of the IVF process, so you will feel no pain. The embryo transfer step does not require anesthesia, and most women do not typically experience pain; it involves using a speculum and is most similar to an intrauterine insemination. Some women do experience mild cramping.
- What are some side-effects of IVF?
Most women can resume normal activities the day after the IVF procedure. Some women experience mild cramping, mild bloating, constipation, tenderness of the breasts, or passing a small amount of fluid following the procedure. Fertility medications (which are given to promote healthy eggs) may also have some side-effects, such as headaches, mood swings, abdominal pain, and hot flashes.
- Are there things I shouldn't do during my treatment?
You will need to refrain from smoking prior to IVF treatment (doctors recommend stopping three months prior to treatment), and avoid alcohol, herbal supplements, heavy exercise during treatment. If you are taking any medications (even over-the-counter ones), inform your physician.
- What are the IVF success rates?
Success rates are dependent upon many factors, including age, reproductive history, and cause of infertility. Women are most fertile from ages 20-24, and fertility starts to decline in women from around age 30. Studies have shown that live birth rates for women under 35 who used IVF range from 41-43%; live birth IVF success rates decrease in correlation with age. In older patients, a higher percentage of embryos are typically planted, to increase chances of success.
If you're struggling to conceive, you may have already seen an expert at a fertility clinic, or you may simply be wondering about the IVF process. Data has shown that one in eight couples have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy, so if you have questions about infertility procedures, you certainly aren't alone. Below, we've compiled a list of frequently asked questions about IVF.
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