When is IVF Most Effective?
Couples facing issues with fertility usually choose between three major treatments: the cost-effective, non-invasive IUI; the meticulous, expensive ICSI and the most "traditional" of the three – the IVF. IVF stands for in vitro fertilization and involves fertilizing the egg outside of the body, later transferring the embryo into the uterus to continue with childbirth. We can use your eggs or donor eggs depending on your needs.
Advancements in IVF technology has made the procedure highly successful. Since 1985 the success rate of achieving a live birth from IVF has increased from 5% to 30% (SART).
When choosing IVF as a treatment, it is important to know when it is most effective. IVF has proven effective in helping achieve live births when the intended parents suffer from endometriosis, low sperm count, issues with the uterus or fallopian tubes, ovulation problems, antibodies that harm sperm or eggs, diminished ovarian reserves, genetic diseases, and unexplained fertility issues.
Who Does Not Benefit from IVF
Because IVF is such a widely-used treatment, it may actually be easier to determine who does not benefit from the procedure:
- Women over 37 years of age – Studies show that women over this age have significantly more trouble getting pregnant using IVF. Being of this age does not preclude all women from success, but medical research has found 37 as the average age of the drop-off ineffectiveness.
- Women with trouble producing healthy eggs – IVF treatment centers around removing healthy eggs from you to fertilize them outside of the body. If the eggs are not healthy, the rest of the procedure becomes a moot point.
- Women with no interest in getting an outside donor – If your eggs are not healthy, you have the option of receiving them from a donor. You may have no interest in this option, which means that IVF is definitely not the procedure for you.
Although health conditions like ovarian dysfunction, fibroid tumors, uterine abnormalities or abnormal hormone levels do not completely negate the use of IVF, they do lower the chances of success enough to consider other treatments as a primary option.
The Best Candidates for IVF
Now that you know who cannot use IVF, you can make a more informed decision about whether you fall into the category of higher success probability:
- Women with blocked fallopian tubes – The IVF procedure completely bypasses the fallopian tubes. If you are producing healthy eggs that are being blocked from fertilization (or if you have had your fallopian tubes removed), then you may be a good candidate for IVF.
- Women with an infertility disorder – Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is the most common cause of infertility in women. If this is the reason for your problems, then IVF may be a good solution for you. Women with other conditions such as endometriosis may also be well served.
- Women with irregular cycles of ovulation – IVF treatment produces more healthy eggs by inducing ovulation, which can counter the problem of an irregular cycle.
- Male factor infertility – If your partner has a low sperm count or another issue that is causing infertility, IVF may be a good option to choose.
If the cause of infertility is found to be primarily in the male partner, the IVF procedure may be enhanced through ICSI. ICSI is an acronym for intracytoplasmic sperm injection. The major difference between IVF and ICSI is how the sperm fertilizes the egg – IVF leaves the sperm to fertilize the egg on its own, while ISCI directly injects a single sperm into the egg.
Every situation is different, and self-diagnosis usually does not yield good results. To determine what treatment is your best option you will need to seek the advice of a trusted fertility specialist. In the US, a full 1% of women currently use IVF to have a baby. You may be a special case that requires unique treatment, something you will never know until you have a full understanding of your current medical condition and personal biology.
At Pacific Fertility Center, our medical staff conducts preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) to access the health of the embryos and select the healthiest to transfer. To learn more about our IVF process visit our website or better yet, schedule an appointment with one of our Fertility Doctors.