Understanding the Benefits and Risks of IVF
A while back, we shared some basic information on in-vitro fertilization or IVF. Today, we are going to probe deeper into this popular solution to infertility.
As a refresher, IVF, according to AmericanPregnancy.org, is a process of fertilization done by “manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish.” After a successful IVF procedure, it is combined with a procedure known as “embryo transfer” wherein the embryo is physically placed in the uterus.
To learn more about IVF Financing – please click here.
Of course, IVF is ideally done with the couple’s own eggs and sperm but for those who are sterile and are unable to produce healthy eggs, donor eggs, sperm or embryos are common options.
As with any medical procedures, there are potential risks for a process as complex as IVF. One is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome wherein the ovaries become swollen and painful. However, this is usually “rare and mild.” Other associated symptoms, which occur in 1% of cases, are:
• Severe abdominal pain;
• Severe nausea or vomiting;
• Decreased urinary frequency;
• Dark-colored urine;
• Shortness of breath; and
• Ten-pound weight gain within three to five days.
The American Pregnancy Association website also noted that the success rate of IVF depends on a number of factors including patient characteristics and treatment approaches. The approximate live birth rates in the US are:
• 30 to 35% for women under 35;
• 25% for women 35 to 37;
• 15 to 20% for women 38 to 40; and
• 6 to 10% for women over 40.
In an article on Healthline.com, it was reported that the American Society for Reproductive Medicine quoted that an average IVF cycle can cost up to $12,400—a steep cost even for financially stable couples. With the high demand for IVF in the US alone, this figure is expected to go up.
Unfortunately, many insurers still do not consider IVF as a medical diagnosis, and as such does not cover expenses related to this procedure. This is despite the fact that the National Infertility Association and the World Health Organization recognize infertility as a disease of the reproductive system.
For potential IVF patients, the dream of having a family is costly but it certainly is not impossible. A viable option is IVF financing or fertility financing. Companies like United Medical Credit (UMC) act as intermediary between patients and a network of trusted partners which includes experienced physicians and vendors, and competitive lenders.
UMC helps provide fertility financing for egg and sperm freezing, infertility treatment, zygote intrafallopian transfer, vasectomy, vasectomy reversal and other related procedures. UMC’s IVF financing clients get same as cash and interest-free financing options with extensive service support from UMC representatives.
UMC also helps prospective patients with financing for cosmetic surgery, bariatric surgery, fertility procedures, dental surgery, Lasik and eye surgery, hearing aids and devices, and other general healthcare requirements.
For more information on UMC’s fertility financing, contact (888) 647-4333, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website, www.unitedmedicalcredit.com.
Frequently Asked Questions About the Benefits and Risks of IVF
What are the benefits and risks of IVF?
IVF can have higher success rates, especially for those with blocked fallopian tubes. IVF treatment is beneficial for those with a higher maternal age or with a low ovarian reserve. Patients with male infertility will have a higher chance of conceiving via IVF treatment over natural conception.
Success rates for IVF are increasing as more research is conducted. Undergoing IVF is very safe. IVF has been around a long time, since the 1970’s. This means there has been time to refine the treatment to minimize health risks and side effects.
IVF risks include multiple pregnancies, premature delivery and side effects from the fertility drugs.
What are the advantages of using IVF?
There are many advantages for couples using in vitro fertilization. IVF can be used by anybody, including surrogates. In vitro fertilization used along with pregestational genetic screening (PGS) (also called pregestational genetic diagnosis or PGD) has the highest success rate of all fertility treatments.
Does IVF have any side effects?
IVF side effects include multiple births, premature delivery and egg retrieval procedure complications. Using injectable fertility drugs can cause ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, which causes the ovaries to become swollen and painful. Symptoms include mild cramping, bloating, diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.
IVF risks also includes pregnancy loss, although the rate of miscarriage with IVF treatment is the same as those with natural live birth.
Does IVF mean that I need to take time off work?
The majority of people work full-time while undergoing fertility treatments, including in vitro fertilization.
What is infertility?
Infertility is a condition usually defined by attempting to get pregnant for more than a year without success. Infertility affects 10-15% of couples in the United States. Treating infertility can be an expensive and emotionally taxing process.
However, advancement in assisted reproductive technology means that parenthood is in reach for more couples than ever before, with a range of treatments to increase the chances of a successful live birth. Some popular treatments include in vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination.
What will my insurance cover and how do I get started?
Contact your insurance company to find out what assisted reproduction procedures are covered. Coverage varies from state to state and insurance plan to insurance plan. The best place to get started is by discussing your options with a doctor and deciding which fertility treatment has the best success rates for your situation. Reproductive medicine offers many options to couples facing infertility today.
What is gamete intrafallopian transfer?
GIFT (gamete intrafallopian transfer) is a slightly modified version of in vitro fertilization (IVF). With GIFT, fertilization takes place in the body rather than in a laboratory dish.
How many embryos should be created or transferred?
The recommendation is that the woman harvests multiple eggs to increase chances of a live birth. The number of eggs retrieved is usually 15-20.
The embryo transfer process is dependent on the type of IVF being used. Some women who opt for natural IVF will only want to use one egg. Others using traditional IVF will use multiple eggs. Using multiple eggs increases the chances of a live birth and of multiple pregnancies.
Am I too old for IVF?
Most clinics have an upper age limit for IVF infertility treatment using the woman’s own eggs of 42-25. Women over 40 often use an egg donor. IVF treatments with an egg donor have the highest success rate at 52% according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
What do I need to know about ectopic pregnancies?
IVF carries an increased health risk of ectopic pregnancy. The rate of ectopic pregnancy doubles to 1-3%, and ectopic pregnancy is particularly likely for women with damaged fallopian tubes. Ectopic pregnancy has symptoms of abdominal or pelvic pain and light vaginal bleeding.
How is IVF pregnancy different than natural pregnancy?
After the first few weeks, there is not much difference between IVF and natural pregnancy. One major difference is that typically, with natural pregnancy the woman does not know she is pregnant for the first month. With IVF, fertility treatments using injectable fertility drugs may cause similar side effect symptoms to the signs of pregnancy.
Why should I be interested in natural cycle IVF?
Natural cycle IVF removes a single egg created during a woman’s natural menstruation cycle. Unlike traditional IVF, it does not use fertility drugs to stimulate the production of multiple eggs. This can reduce the risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. It can also mean fewer trips to the clinic, less monitoring, and overall less invasive experience.
However, traditional IVF has a better success rate. Natural cycle, also known as mini IVF, can take multiple IVF cycles in order to produce a live birth. Traditional IVF using fertility drugs has a higher live birth rate, peaking when using eggs (donor eggs or their own eggs) at between 15-25 eggs.
Why should I freeze my eggs?
Egg freezing “stops the clock” and allows a woman to have a baby when they are ready for one, whether that means being financially prepared, meeting a partner or completing another life goal.
Another major reason for egg freezing is because the woman is planning to have a cancer-preventing treatment like prophylactic oophorectomy. The egg retrieval process for the woman’s eggs is a surgical procedure that takes about 30 minutes. It only takes a day or two to fully recover from the egg retrieval process.
Should you exercise during IVF?
IVF can cause weight gain, mostly from fluid retention, which is not permanent or health concern. The best exercise during IVF treatment is low-impact, stress-relieving exercise. High impact exercise and intense cardiovascular exercise should be avoided. Exercising over four hours per week is associated with a lower live birth rate. Every woman should discuss her unique situation and exercise concerns with her doctor.