What Is IVF and How Can It Help You Conceive?


What is IVF, or in vitro fertilization? IVF is an assisted reproductive procedure that helps couples conceive. As a 2013 Gallup poll found, the overwhelming majority of adults in the U.S. — over 90% — either have children, want them, or wish they had had them when they were younger. Many couples find it difficult to conceive naturally, though. If you and your partner are struggling with infertility, IVF might be an option for you.

What percentage of couples have trouble conceiving?
Having problems with fertility isn?t rare. In fact, 12% of married couples have trouble conceiving or carrying a baby to term. Infertility can have many causes ? it can stem from blocked fallopian tubes, low sperm count, or a combination of other factors. Sometimes the causes of infertility are unknown.

Age, especially the woman?s age, can also play a part in how easy or difficult it is for a couple to conceive. A woman?s most fertile years are between ages 20 to 24 ? years which, for many women, are crucial for attaining an education or establishing a career. Female fertility declines throughout a woman?s 30s, especially after age 35. By age 40, a woman has only a two in five chance of having a successful pregnancy. Infertility can affect women of all ages, though ? it?s estimated that 6.7 million women of childbearing age (ages 15 to 44) are infertile.

What is IVF and how does it work?
IVF, or in vitro fertilization, is a method of assisted reproduction that takes place outside the womb. Sperm and eggs are placed in a laboratory dish together. After the eggs are fertilized, at least one egg is placed in the uterus.

A woman who wants to use her own eggs in IVF will need to go on a strict regimen of hormonal treatments to make her body release numerous eggs during ovulation instead of just one. These eggs are collected during a surgical procedure, fertilized, and returned to the uterus. Any remaining eggs may be frozen for future attempts.

How likely is IVF to help you and your partner conceive?
Infertility treatments like IVF are not a guaranteed way to conceive. If the fertilized eggs do not implant in the uterus, no pregnancy will occur. IVF can boost your chances of getting pregnant significantly, though. Almost half of women (44%) who struggle with infertility have tried infertility treatments, and 65% of those women eventually have a baby.

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