In Vitro Fertilization: Costs, Procedure and Success Rates

In vitro fertilization is considered the most successful fertility treatment. Find out how it works and everything you need to know about the procedure.

Photography by ©iStock

Photography by ©iStock

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is considered the most complicated and also most successful form of fertility treatment, which basically involves bringing egg and sperm together in a Petri dish. The embryo that develops as a result is then transferred into a woman’s uterus where it’s hoped that it will implant.

Fertility drugs (injectable FSH) stimulate the growth of multiple eggs in the ovaries, followed by an injection of HCG when follicles are well developed. Daily blood work is necessary to monitor follicular growth, so be ready for lots of appointments. What happens next is egg retrieval: under local anesthetic, eggs are removed through a needle attached to a vaginal ultrasound. The eggs are then joined with the sperm and allowed to incubate for 24 hours. Fertilized eggs are then incubated for another 48 hours. The best three to four embryos are then inserted into the uterus using a small catheter. If successful, pregnancy will occur two weeks later.

What You Need to Know:

  • Pregnancy rates vary between 25-44 per cent per cycle—factors include a woman’s age, ovarian response and cause of infertility.
  • The costs are approximately $5,000-$7,000 plus medication (injectable FSH).
  • There’s a low complication rate, but multiple pregnancy and hyperstimulation are possible (rates are similar to the superovulation procedure).
  • No more than 6 cycles are usually recommended.

Donor Eggs and Sperm Are an Option

A donor egg or sperm, or both, is sometimes used in IVF. An egg is donated from a fertile woman to an infertile woman. Donor sperm is from a fertile man who is not the recipient’s partner.

From health factors that can affect fertility to drugs that increase fertility, we have much more information on conception in our Ultimate Fertility Guide.

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