In-vitro fertilization is a go-to fertility treatment in which a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm are joined in a laboratory setting. The term “in-vitro” is Latin for “in glass,” as the procedure involves fertilizing an ovum in a dish, where it forms an embryo that is transferred to a woman’s uterus. While eight out of ten women who try for a baby will become pregnant within the first year, the remaining 20 percent may need assistance conceiving. If you’re experiencing infertility problems, the following facts may assist you in your decision to undergo infertility treatment.
1. Millions Have Been Born
In-vitro fertilization was first used successfully in the U.S. in 1981. Since then, more than four million babies have been born using this method. The very first “test tube baby,” Louise Brown, was born on July 25, 1978 in England. Today, approximately one percent of babies born in the U.S. are conceived using assisted reproductive technologies.
2. Overcome Many Diagnoses
Assisted reproductive technologies are most often used when problems develop in a man’s or woman’s reproductive system, with the most common complication being a blocked or damaged fallopian tube. However, infertility treatment can help couples who have been diagnosed with a wide range of health conditions, including endometriosis, ovulation issues, low sperm counts, antibody issues that cause harm to the eggs or sperm, or the sperm’s inability to survive in a woman’s cervical mucus.
3. The Risk of Miscarriage is the Same
Some couples believe that the risk of miscarriage increases with treatment. In reality, the risk of miscarriage during in-vitro fertilization is the same as the risk present in traditionally-conceived pregnancies. For couples that conceive naturally, one in six pregnancies will end in a miscarriage sometime between conception and the 20th week of pregnancy. The statistics are the same.
4. Surrogacy is an Option for Some Couples
Women who are unable to carry a baby to term due to problems in the uterus or elsewhere have the option of using another woman’s uterus to implant and carry the embryo, and then deliver the baby when it is full-term. Surrogacy is most often performed using in-vitro fertilization, consisting of an egg removed from the intended mother or a donor, coupled with sperm from the intended father or a donor. This allows the baby to be genetically related to the intended mother and father.
5. Multiples are More Common
To increase the success rate of an embryo transfer during in-vitro fertilization, multiple embryos are often transferred back into the woman’s uterus. While this technique certainly increases a woman’s chance of pregnancy, it also significantly increases her chance of birthing multiple babies. Statistics show that 63 percent of couples that undergo infertility treatment will have a single baby, 32 percent will have twins, and 5 percent will have triplets or other multiples.
Conceiving naturally doesn’t happen for all women, but, fortunately, in-vitro fertilization can help. To ensure that this is the right journey for you, it is important to explore the various infertility treatment options available. For more information about this procedure, contact an infertility treatment center in your area.