IVF Pros and Cons List

IVF stands for “in vitro fertilization.” It is a medical procedure where a human egg is fertilized by sperm within a test tube or some other location outside the human body. The developing embryo which results from the combination is then implanted, allowing it to grow to maturity, resulting in the birth of an infant.

About 80,000 women in the United States choose IVF as a way to start their families. Here are the pros and cons of IVF to consider.

List of the Pros of IVF

1. It can circumvent certain health issues.
Women who have damaged or blocked fallopian tubes can still have a child of their own because of IVF. It can also help couples have the best chance of conceiving a child in their older years when there is a low ovarian reserve that may be affecting a couple’s chances.

2. It reduces the issue of male infertility.
Even men with low sperm counts can still successfully conceive a child through IVF because of the procedure’s techniques. The chances of conception are higher because sperm injection is utilized to create a viable embryo. Most IVF procedures involve male counseling to improve sperm counts as well.

3. It has a successful track record.
The first incidence of natural IVF being successful occurred in 1978. Technologies have advanced in this field since then, creating safe and affordable options for couples that are attempting to conceive a child. The process even makes it possible for same-sex couples or single women to conceive a biological child of their own.

4. It can find the cause behind unexplained infertility.
Although some cases of infertility remain unresolved, IVF can help couples find the cause of their fertilization issues in many circumstances. The diagnosis may not occur until the egg receives its first fertilization attempt, which can be a costly procedure. Once these issues are uncovered, however, it becomes easier to find a viable solution to the problem.

5. It can screen for inherited diseases.
IVF is also a good option to consider for individuals who are known genetic carriers or come from a family where genetic disorders are common. Cystic fibrosis, MD, and Huntington’s disease can all be detected through genetic screenings that take place before the implantation process is finalized. Certain chromosomal disorders, such as Down’s syndrome, can also be detected.

List of the Cons of IVF

1. It isn’t successful all the time.
Younger women typically have a higher success rate than older women when using IVF. The success rate for a healthy woman under the age of 35 is about 40%. Women over the age of 42 have a success rate of just 4%. Certain factors, such as the viability of eggs, uterine abnormalities, or even male infertility, can decrease these success rates even more.

2. It can be very expensive.
The cost of an IVF cycle averages about $12,000 in the United States right now. After this first expense, each additional cycle may cost up to $5,000. Then there is the PGD step of the process, which can cost up to $6,000. That means each attempt to have a child using IVF can be as high as $25,000. For older women, the cost may be upwards of $40,000 per attempt.

3. It is an uncomfortable process.
IVF requires an injection of fertility medications to be effective. It also requires personal exams and questions that may make some individuals uncomfortable. Conversations about fertility, reproduction, and at-home practices are frequent. The surgical removal of mature eggs may be necessary. Ongoing blood tests, sperm counts, and other medical appointments are often necessary.

4. It requires medications that offer difficult side effects.
The most common side effects of the fertility medications that are used in IVF are headache, bloating, hot flashes, and mood swings. Some women may experience an extreme tenderness or sensitivity in the breasts. Having a multiples pregnancy is a side effect that must be considered as well with the IVF process. Some couples may even conceive naturally as they are attempting to conceive through IVF.

5. It increases the risks of an ectopic pregnancy.
For women utilizing IVF, the risks of an ectopic pregnancy occurring will double. For women with a damaged or blocked fallopian tube, the risk of this event can be as high as 3%.

These IVF pros and cons offer various advantages and risks which can only be considered on the personal level. Speak with your doctor about any concerns you may have regarding your reproductive health to see if IVF might be a viable option for you.