IVF is usually a last resort for couples that have been trying to conceive over time. You are encouraged to try all the other techniques out there before settling on IVF.
There are several pros and cons to be considered as you make your decision of whether or not to go with this option.
Here they are for your review:
- Technique Improvement – since IVF was introduced to the United States in the year 1981, researchers have continued to improve and refine the various procedures involved in the process. A good example is the advances that have been made in the cryopreservation of embryos (freezing), which have brought about pregnancy rates that are about equal for both fresh and frozen embryos.
- Not linked to any cancers – Studies have been done that have shown no link between the drugs used to induce ovulation and cancer. Studies done in the past had suggested that there may be a risk of cancer of the ovaries should one be exposed to fertility drugs. Other cancers relating to the female reproductive system had also been implied.
- A track record of success – Of the assisted reproductive technology procedures available, IVF is the oldest one. It has been in existence since the year 1978 and has been used for long enough to allow researchers to carry out the necessary health studies on kids that have been conceived through IVF. To date, there have been no indicated medical problems that are linked to IVF.
- The cost is high and the procedure can be time consuming – the costs include medications, lab work, monitoring, ultrasounds, blood tests and consultations.
- Higher chance of multiples – The chances of having more than one implanted embryo are about 20%. This is because the doctor will usually place more than one embryo in your uterus at a go. Multiples increase the risk of miscarriage as well as other complications.
- Ectopic pregnancy risk – Assisted Reproductive Treatments (ART) make the likelihood of ectopic pregnancy higher. This is a challenge because women who have trouble getting pregnant generally have a higher risk of suffering an ectopic pregnancy already.
- Increased risk of OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome) – This happens when the response to the fertility drugs is really good leading to the production of more eggs than necessary.
- Baby Complications – Experts do not know for sure if it is factors such as age or the treatments used that predispose the babies conceived via IVF to low birth weight, premature birth and birth defects.
- Failure – 20% of IVF cycles tend to be cancelled even before the eggs are harvested because enough follicles do not develop.
Even with these cons, the pregnancy rates are pretty good depending on the age of the individual. If you are under 30, you have a 50% success rate, if you are 40 it drops to 35.3% and at 44 it drops to only 5.9%. Other than age, other factors that contribute to the success rate of IVF include the cause of infertility, number and quality of eggs, if there were children conceived before the IVF was started or if the couple has had an IVF cycle that failed.