According to SART, advancements in IVF technology since 1985 have made the procedure highly successful, increasing the average chance of a live birth from 5% to 30% nationally.
Identifying fertility issues before the start of your IVF cycle
We understand the difficulties of starting this road to parenthood through IVF, and ensure that the options presented to you are geared towards the best chance of success for you. Your dedicated doctor may perform a series of fertility tests before recommending IVF as a solution. We frequently recommend IVF when these infertility issues occur, among others:
- Low Sperm Count
- Issues with the Uterus or Fallopian Tubes
- Ovulation Problems
- Antibodies that Harm Sperm or Eggs
- Diminished Ovarian Reserve
- Genetic Diseases
- Unexplained Infertility
- Multiple miscarriages
- Unsuccessful attempts to conceive for at least six months
Factors our doctor considers for your IVF treatment
The age of the woman significantly influences IVF success rates. Success rates decline for women over 30 and are even lower for those over 40 years of age. Acting quickly for fertility preservation can have a positive influence on outcomes.
IVF is one of the many services we offer to LGBTQ+ couples looking to build their families. Over 1,500 LGBTQ+ parents have trusted PFCLA to build their families.
Length of attempt
Our doctors usually recommend a fertility evaluation after six to 12 months of unsuccessful pregnancy attempts for women under 35 and four to six months for those over 35.
Failed attempts from other methods
Our doctors frequently recommend IVF for intended parents who have used other methods of fertility treatment such as fertility drugs or artificial insemination and have not experienced success.
More than five million babies have been born worldwide using IVF, with the first successful procedure performed in England in 1978. IVF has helped patients become parents for over 40 years.
Understanding the IVF cycle
Your course of fertility medications
Your dedicated doctor will cover all necessary information about your fertility medications. If you have any concerns, fears or worries, don’t hesitate to bring these up with your personal care coordinator or doctor.
Your IVF cycle begins with a course of injectable fertility medications to produce multiple eggs during one cycle. During this phase of the treatment, your, your partner’s or egg donor’s ovaries will start to create and mature eggs contained within follicles (a collection of fluid that protects your egg).
This process may involve ultrasound examinations and blood tests to monitor the growing follicles and rising blood estrogen levels.
Note: The monitoring phase of the IVF cycle takes approximately eight to 12 days.
Your egg retrieval procedure
When the eggs are mature, you, your partner or egg donor will undergo an egg retrieval, which is performed under general anesthesia. Your doctor will retrieve the eggs by inserting a needle through the vaginal wall and into the ovary. During this procedure the eggs are suctioned from the growing follicles, collected in test tubes and sent over to the embryologist for fertilization.
Learn more about the egg retrieval procedure ➜
Preparing your eggs for fertilization
Once your laboratory embryologists receive the eggs, they will examine each egg under a microscope—preparing them for fertilization with either fresh or frozen sperm. Oftentimes, eggs are fertilized through intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), which involves injecting a healthy sperm directly into each egg.
In some instances, your embryologists may fertilize the egg by placing both egg and sperm in a petri dish. Your doctor will discuss with you which method is best for your odds of success, and your coordinator will keep you updated at every stage of the lab process.
Learn more about the egg fertilization process ➜
When the egg and sperm successfully meet, an embryo is formed. Several days after fertilization, the embryos are graded based on their cell growth and development. This grading system, along with other factors such as preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) results, will help determine how to proceed on transfer day.
Learn more about embryo grading ➜
Your embryo transfer procedure
The embryo transfer is the final stage of the IVF cycle. The transfer is simply the process of transferring one or more of your embryos created through IVF into the uterus of the intended mother or gestational carrier. Embryos can be stored indefinitely in their frozen state. In fact, a baby was born from an embryo that was frozen for 19 years.
In previous years, doctors would often recommend a double embryo transfer to increase odds of success. However, advances in IVF technology have progressed so much that the transfer of more than one embryo is seldom recommended anymore.
Learn more about the embryo transfer procedure ➜
Preimplantation screening (PGD/PGS/PGT-A)
If you freeze your embryos (which is recommended in many cases), you and your partner have the option to test your embryos for genetic or chromosome abnormalities, through preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) or screening (PGS, also known as PGT-A) before embryo transfer.
Performing PGS increases your odds of success by helping your doctor determine which embryos are best to transfer. It will also let you know the sex of each embryo (XX or XY), if you choose to know. If you don’t want to know the sex, our embryology team won’t reveal that part of the reults.
Learn more about PGD or PGS/PGT-A ➜
How to prepare for your IVF treatment
People react to IVF differently. We've seen some intended parents experience stress more so than others and recommend that you or your partner be as prepared as possible before starting the IVF cycle program. You and your partner can:
- Ask your doctor and nurses as many questions as you can during your initial consultation (make a list!)
- Improve your diet and sleep schedule to optimize your health
- Discuss the potential decisions you and your partner may need to make, such as what you will choose to do with any extra embryos
- Implement a healthy support system
- Cut out smoking and drinking
Your doctor and care coordinator can provide personalized recommendations that can be especially helpful if this is your first treatment cycle.
Potential IVF complications
You can feel confident that your safety is our top priority and we won’t cut corners during treatment. You'll be in the best of hands, as our doctors have performed more than 20,000 IVF procedures as one of the longest standing private IVF clinics in the U.S.
We minimize your risks by planning and performing in-depth examinations to identify the cause of infertility and any conditions that may inhibit a successful treatment. As with any procedure, however, there are some risks associated with IVF. Potential risks and complications of IVF treatment may include, but are not limited to:
Side effects of medications
You, your partner or egg donor may experience headaches, nausea, hot flashes, mood swings, and other side effects. However, these side effects are usually temporary. If you experience more serious side effects, contact your doctor immediately.
Egg retrieval risks
You, your partner or egg donor can suffer from bleeding, infection, or damage to nearby organs during the treatment's egg retrieval phase from the use of an aspirating needle. The use of general anesthesia comes with inherent risks as well, so it’s important that you follow the instructions from your doctor and anesthesiologist in the days leading up to the procedure.
An ectopic pregnancy
Ectopic pregnancy is a complication that occurs when the embryo grows outside of the uterus. In lighter cases you, your partner or surrogate can expect light vaginal bleeding or pelvic pains. In more severe cases however, a ruptured fallopian tube can occur and will require immediate medical treatment.
Learn more about ectopic pregnancy ➜
Ovarian torsion occurs when your ovary twists around the supportive tissues that hold it in place, which can cut off the blood flow to the ovary and fallopian tube. Immediate emergency treatment is required if this happens.
Learn more about ovarian torsion ➜
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
OHSS is a condition caused by fluid accumulating in the abdomen due to the production of multiple eggs. In some cases, it will resolve on its own. However, in other cases, medical intervention is needed. Always notify your doctor immediately if you experience symptoms of OHSS.
Learn more about OHSS ➜