Planning pregnancy via in vitro fertilization or IVF can bring you a step closer to realizing your dream of parenthood but the entire process can seem intimidating if you are not sure what’s involved. If you are planning to consult your doctor about IVF treatment, here’s what you need to consider before your first visit.
IVF treatment requires time and a lot of work
Although effective infertility treatment, IVF is a labour-intensive process that requires multiple visits to your doctor. Usually, the IVF process starts with 10-12 days of fertility medications to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. During the stimulation phase, you have to visit your infertility specialist for bloodwork and ultrasound multiple times. After the stimulation phase, the doctor will remove the eggs and then combine them with your partner’s sperm in a laboratory. Three to five days later, one or more embryos will then be placed into your uterus. Then you will have to visit two weeks later for a pregnancy blood test.
You can make IVF treatment affordable
IVF is one of the most successful assisted pregnancy treatments. Still, on average it can cost you around Rs. 1,50,000 to 2,50,000 and most insurance companies do not cover IVF treatment. Still, you can get the lab work and ultrasounds covered in your healthcare insurance. Furthermore, fertility clinics in India often work with lenders to offer financing options for patients. Hence, do not be discouraged by the high cost of IVF, there are enough financing options available.
Side effects will be there; but very rare
Keep in mind, that you will be pumped full of hormones during the treatment so expect some changes in your biology. Feeling more emotional, the pressure of bloating in the pelvic area, discomfort from fertility injections and breast tenderness are common effects of IVF treatments. In some cases, there can be Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome or OHSS which occurs when the fertility eggs result in the release of too many eggs. This can result in weight gain, dizziness, nausea, severe pain or swelling in the abdomen and shortness of breath. However, OHSS resolves itself and seldom you need to treat it separately.
Different types available
IVF treatment is one of the most popular treatments of infertility but what you might know about it only the conventional IVF. But based on your health and fertility test reports, your doctor can recommend a less drug-intense form of the treatment also known as ‘Natural IVF.’ The least intensive form of in vitro, Natural IVF treatment does not use any stimulating drugs. Then there is Modified IVF which involved 3-4 days worth of drug stimulation. Mild IVF, also known as Mini IVF starts with 5-9 days of ovary stimulation drugs.
An additional advantage of these IVF types is that they do not halt and restart your natural menstrual cycle, but are carried out within the cycle.
What are the birth complications?
One of the ways to increase the IVF success rate is to implant multiple embryos in the uterus but this can result in a pregnancy with multiples. In such a scenario, the risk of premature labour and low birth weight is high. As a solution, you can choose to have the genetic screening of the embryos done and have the healthiest one transferred to your uterus.
Birth defects risk in babies born with IVF is 1-2 % higher than general, but there is strong evidence that it is because of the nature of infertility and not the infertility treatment itself.
A common misconception among most couples is that IVF treatment guarantees pregnancy. But you need to get facts straight-some couples get pregnant only after the first cycle, others have to repeat the process twice or thrice.
There are several factors that decide the success of the IVF treatment, but mostly it depends on your age. According to the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART), the IVF success rate among women under the age of 35 is 48% but for women over 42, it drops significantly to only 3%.
But don’t let the numbers discourage you.
Remember pregnancy is just a means to parenthood, these infertility treatments can give you the joy of conceiving the baby.