If it is necessary to begin with the main question of “What is IVF?”, we may say that the literal definition of in vitro fertilization is “fertilization in a laboratory dish”. The word "in vitro” meaning "in glass" can refer to a test tube or laboratory dish. IVF is a “fertilization” process by retrieving eggs and combining a sperm sample with those eggs manually in a laboratory dish. The last step of the “cycle” is to transfer those fertilized embryos into the uterus. The answer of “how it works?” question is quite simple, however what is more difficult is to wait after this last step. Two weeks after the embryo transfer, a blood test can determine whether transfer resulted in a pregnancy or not. Egg freezing allow young women who are not ready for a pregnancy to freeze their eggs. As a result of this process, eggs will be available at a later date for an artificial insemination procedure. Especially for the advanced ages this method may be a real helper.
In vitro fertilization or IVF treatment is becoming more and more popular all around the world as couples experience problems in starting a family. Let’s get down to the top 10 facts you need to know about IVF.
From Nobel Prize Winners to Test-Tube Babies: In Vitro Fertilization
The man who came up with the concept of IVF, Robert Geoffrey Edwards was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2010 for the development of in vitro fertilization.
Down to the Essentials
In vitro fertilization is one of the most expensive infertility treatments available, but also the one with the biggest success rates If you ask “how much does an IVF treatment cost?”: An average in vitro fertilization cost $12.500 in the US and $10.000 in UK.
Is Infertility Common?
Around 7 million women aged 15-44 suffer from impaired fecundity – or an impaired ability to carry a baby to term or get pregnant by learning through fertility tests.
These figures are for the USA alone, and if you consider the figures from all around the world, the results are staggering.
What Can You Treat With In Vitro Fertilization?
It can be a traumatic experience for a couple to be diagnosed with infertility issues, but on the bright side of things, in vitro fertilization can be a solution to a wide range of issues such as:
- Issues with ovulation
- Issues with the fallopian tubes or uterus
- Certain antibodies that can harm eggs or sperm
- The inability of sperm to penetrate the cervical mucus
- Low sperm count (if this condition effects the whole process, the right solution may be to benefit from sperm donor via the procedure of sperm donation)
The First Ever IVF Success Story
The first ever “test tube baby” to be born through an In Vitro Fertilization procedure in history was Louise Brown. She was born in England in 1978 and weighed 5 lb. 12 oz or around 2.6 kg. She still lives in England and has two children of her own.
In Vitro Fertilization was successfully used for the first time in the USA in 1981, just 3 years after the birth of Louise.
Happy Parents, Healthy Babies
Researchers have announced that since the birth of Louise Brown, more than 8 million babies born from IVF globally through special fertility clinics.
In Vitro Fertilization – The Factors
There are a few factors that influence the success rate of an in vitro fertilization procedure:
- Age– Women’s best reproductive years are in their 20s. Fertility decrease gradually in the 30s, particularly after age 35.
- Single Babies or Twins– Generally speaking, women that undergo a successful in vitro fertilization procedure fall into 3 categories: 63% of them have a single baby, 32% of them have twins and 5% of them have triplets or more.
- IVF Cost– In Vitro Fertilization is a long and advanced medical procedure. You can pay up to $12.500 in the USA but more affordable options exist.
- IVF Safety– In Vitro Fertilization is a safe procedure that has been in use for many years. Children conceived through in vitro fertilization are just as healthy as those conceived naturally.
The Live Birth Rates Explained
The live birth rate falls into four main categories, depending on the couple’s age, health and other factors that may influence the in vitro fertilization cycle:
- Women that are 35 or younger can expect a success rate of 43% to 50%
- Women that are 35 to around 40 can expect an IVF success rate of 35% to 40%
- Women that are around 40 or older can expect a success rate of around 15% to 18%
- For women that are older than 44, a successful pregnancy after just one IVF cycle is a rare occurrence
The Success Stories
1 million babies born in the United States between 1987 and 2015 through the use of IVF or other assisted reproductive technologies, according to a report released in 2017 by the U.S. Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART). The cumulative outcome per patient’s own egg retrieval cycle for singleton live birth is 51,4 percent for women younger than 35, according to the same report.
This content is edited by Flymedi Medical Editors in April 2019.