If you are experiencing infertility or trouble conceiving naturally for more than 12 months, you may be wondering if IVF (in vitro fertilization) is right for you. There are a variety of reasons IVF may be the best choice for you to grow your family.
- Female Fertility Loss
Female fertility loss includes female fertility problems due to a variety of reasons, including age-related infertility, infertility due to a diagnosis of a medical issue such as Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, infertility due to fallopian tube damage, tubal sterilization or removal, and unexplained infertility. The process of IVF includes extracting the eggs from the female partner and fertilizing them with the male partner’s sperm, creating a viable embryo. The embryo is then implanted into the female partner’s uterus.
- Male Fertility Loss
For couples experiencing fertility issues, about 35% are due to male fertility loss. This can be caused by infections, spinal cord injuries, tumors, or defects in the tubules which transport the sperm. In cases where the male partner is experiencing infertility, IVF can be paired with sperm extraction, a process where the sperm is selected and injected directly into the egg.
- Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
Recurrent pregnancy loss can be experienced at any age and for many reasons, however, one of the most common reasons is age-related. For women over 35, the issue may not be becoming pregnant, but staying pregnant and carrying to full term. Many times, this is due to a diminished ovarian reserve, which refers to a natural decrease in both the quantity and quality of eggs produced. IVF allows your medical team to harvest and fertilize multiple eggs at once to create embryos, which are then placed into your uterus. This is especially helpful if you are considering another pregnancy at a later date because, in cases where there are multiple viable embryos, additional embryos can be frozen for future use.
- Fertility Preservation
More and more couples are opting to use IVF to help them grow their family at a later date, when they are ready. This can be achieved by either harvesting a woman’s eggs or creating fertilized embryos to freeze for future use. This process of freezing healthy eggs and/or viable embryos may help reduce the risk of miscarriage due to diminished ovarian reserve.
- Oncofertility Preservation
Though advances in medicine have led to incredible cancer survival rates, radiation and chemotherapies often have a negative impact on cancer patient’s reproductive systems. IVF can be used to harvest and freeze healthy eggs before a female patient begins treatment and can also be used to freeze sperm prior to a male patient beginning treatment.
- LGBT Couples
Advances in reproductive medicine, like IVF, have helped enable countless LGBT couples to become parents. IVF can be used for same-sex couples by pairing it with egg donation and surrogacy with a gestational carrier. For lesbian couples, new medicinal breakthroughs have allowed one partner to carry the other’s biological child by fertilizing one partner’s egg with donor sperm and implanting the embryo into the other partner’s uterus.
For more information on whether IVF may be a good option for you and your growing family, contact a board-certified physician who specializes in fertility to help you along your journey.