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Infertility and In Vitro Fertilization

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What Can I Expect From IVF? continued...

Following the procedure, you would typically stay in bed for several hours and be discharged four to six hours later. Your doctor will probably perform a pregnancy test on you about two weeks after the embryo transfer.

In cases where the man's sperm count is extremely low, doctors may combine IVF with a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection. In this procedure, a sperm is taken from semen -- or in some cases right from the testicles -- and inserted directly into the egg. Once a viable embryo is produced, it is transferred to the uterus using the usual IVF procedure.

What Are the Success Rates for IVF?

Success rates for IVF depend on a number of factors, including the reason for infertility, where you're having the procedure done, and your age. The CDC compiles national statistics for all assisted reproductive technology (ART) procedures performed in the U.S., including IVF, GIFT, and ZIFT, although IVF is by far the most common; it accounts for 99% of the procedures. The most recent report from 2009 found:

  • Pregnancy was achieved in an average of 29.4% of all cycles (higher or lower depending on the age of the woman).
  • The percentage of cycles that resulted in live births was 22.4% on average (higher or lower depending on the age of the woman).

Are There Other Issues With IVF to Consider?

Any embryos that you do not use in your first IVF attempt can be frozen for later use. This will save you money if you undergo IVF a second or third time. If you do not want your leftover embryos, you may donate them to another infertile couple, or you and your partner can ask the clinic to destroy the embryos. Both you and your partner must agree before the clinic will destroy or donate your embryos.

A woman's age is a major factor in the success of IVF for any couple. For instance, a woman who is under age 35 and undergoes IVF has a 39.6% chance of having a baby, while a woman over age 40 has an 11.5% chance. However, the CDC recently found that the success rate is increasing in every age group as the techniques are refined and doctors become more experienced.

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