• Is IVF Right for You? Learn the Facts

    by Vicken Sepilian, MD
    on Mar 8th, 2017

We are lucky to live in a time where there are many fertility services available to help couples and individuals who are ready to begin a family but may have complications or difficulties. In the past, a wide variety of illnesses or conditions (including the simple fact that we get older and therefore less fertile) made it impossible for people to have children and, unfortunately, they had to just accept it. Medical advances have been made at such a rate that now there is a fertility treatment for nearly any condition that makes childbearing difficult.

Fertility services aren’t just perfect for couples who are having difficulty due to medical issues, either. They are a great solution for same-sex couples interested in having biological children and starting a family. With so many fertility services available now, it can be challenging figuring out what would be the best option for you. While only a doctor can pinpoint the exact issue giving you fertility difficulties and the proper treatment to circumvent it, there are some basic facts that you should know. Let’s focus on possibly the most well known and commonly used fertility service, in vitro fertilization.


What is in vitro fertilization?

In vitro fertilization is a medical procedure where fertilization occurs in a laboratory rather than in the typical biological fashion. Sperm cells are combined with a fully mature egg to create an embryo that is then transferred into the woman’s uterus.

There are multiple steps involved throughout the in vitro fertilization process. The woman will receive hormones to stimulate her ovaries which will promote the growth of several eggs to grow over a period of about a week. When you return for your follow-up appointment, your doctor will determine if the eggs have reached maturity and are ready for the next part of the process. If you are ready to move forward, a minor surgical procedure will take place to remove the eggs. You’ll be placed under twilight anesthesia during the procedure and eggs will be moved to the laboratory where they will be mixed with the partner’s sperm or that of a donor. Once fertilization occurs and there is an embryo to transfer, another appointment will be set up for the embryo to be placed in the uterus to attach to the uterine walls and grow. From there, the process looks like any other pregnancy.


How does it work?

In vitro fertilization is used in a variety of scenarios where a medical condition or some life circumstances are preventing you from getting pregnant. The intention is to bypass certain obstacles that are preventing the pregnancy from occurring as it typically would without medical assistance. By placing an embryo directly into the uterus, you may be able to use in vitro fertilization to overcome the complications that come with the following conditions: fallopian tube blockage or damage, ovulation disorders, ovarian failure (particularly premature failure occurring before the age of 40), endometriosis, uterine fibroids, and tubal ligation (without having to undergo the reversal process). In vitro fertilization can also bypass issues that occur in the male, specifically if there is impaired sperm production or function.

As far as success rate, in vitro fertilization has a 30%-40% chance of succeeding in women who are under 35 years of age. As a woman ages, the chances do gradually decrease. Your overall health will play a part as well. Successfully having live births in the past will increase the chances of success with an in vitro fertilization procedure.


The go-to choice for same-sex couples

In vitro fertilization is the primary fertility treatment for same-sex couples looking to have biological children. For a female couple, the woman who is chosen to carry the child will go through the process outlined above with the assistance of a sperm donor to fertilize her eggs during the laboratory portion of the treatment. Of course, choosing a donor will be a task unto itself and will be a personal decision that your doctor will guide you through. For male couples, they will go through the process of choosing an egg donor. Sperm will be combined with the egg and then the embryo will be transferred to a gestational surrogate to carry out the pregnancy.



Conclusion

Are you one of the many people who is experiencing difficulty having a child? Do you need assistance starting the family you’ve always wanted? In vitro fertilization might be the solution you’ve been looking for. And, if it’s not, there may be another fertility service that can help you in your journey to having a child. Contact us today and set up an appointment with Dr. Vicken Sepilian. Dr. Sepilian and his team are here to treat you with professionalism and friendliness as you navigate this complicated process. Schedule a consultation today and get the care you need.

Author Vicken Sepilian, MD Dr. Vicken Sepilian serves the greater Los Angeles area as an Infertility Specialist and Reproductive Endocrinologist. The doctor's area of expertise involves the diagnosis and treatment of disorders involving infertility and hormonal imbalances of the reproductive system.

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