In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Procedure

The in vitro fertilization procedure can be quite costly. Thus, it is primarily used when all other less costly methods have failed. Let’s discuss the IVF process, IVF success rate, and IVF cost.

What is IVF?
In vitro fertilization is the process of a woman’s egg being fertilized by a man’s sperm outside of the womb (or in vitro).

IVF is used by less than 5% of infertile couples. IVF is typically used for a woman without fallopian tubes or for blocked or severely damaged tubes. It is also used for those women who have encountered infertility due to endometriosis or male fertility issues such as low sperm count.

What is the IVF process?
There are typically four steps involved in the IVF process:

  1. Ovarian stimulation to produce healthy eggs in the ovaries. Fertility drugs such as Clomid are prescribed to induce ovulation. This process is done in order to control the timing of ovulation and to ensure the collection of multiple eggs during a woman’s cycle to increase the likelihood of success.
  2. Retrieval of eggs and sperm. A hollow needle inserted through the pelvic cavity guided by ultrasonography is used for IVF egg retrieval. Sperm are retrieved through ejaculation.
  3. Insemination. This is the joining of the eggs and sperm together in the laboratory under appropriate conditions for fertilization and early embryonic growth.
  4. IVF transfer of the embryos into the uterus. This typically occurs between two to three days after egg retrieval. A catheter is used to deposit the embryos into the womb through the cervical opening.

What is the IVF success rate?
In the US, the live birth rate for each IVF cycle is about:

  • 30-35% for women under age 35
  • 25% for women ages 35 to 37
  • 15-20% for women ages 38 to 40
  • 6-10% for women over 40

How much does IVF cost?
One cycle of IVF costs an average of $4,000 to $10,000, and many couples need more than one cycle for a successful pregnancy.


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