If you read our guide to egg freezing, then you know that the process of doing so to extend your fertility will eventually involve IVF – or, in vitro fertilization. If you’re wondering what exactly that means, then you’ve come to the right place!
What is IVF?
In vitro fertilization is a process by which mature eggs are collected (and sometimes frozen) and then fertilized with sperm in a lab, before being implanted into the uterus.
You’ll need to take hormones if egg retrieval is part of your immediate IVF session. Once the mature egg and sperm are available, they are either mixed and incubated overnight, or a single sperm is injected into the egg. This latter method is usually used when sperm quality may be an issue, or previous attempts with the former method have failed.
Then, the egg is inserted into your uterus, through the cervix, with a long catheter. About two weeks later, you’ll visit your doctor again to see if conception has been successful.
A very expensive procedure, it’s also one of the most successful, though individual factors including age can make success rates vary widely. One side effect of IVF is that it can cause an elevated chance of multiples – twins, triplets, etc – which is something to be considered.
Who is it For?
There are many reasons you may want to pursue IVF, as covered in our egg freezing article. There are several conditions that correlate with infertility, like endometriosis and uterine fibroids, as well as several lifestyle habits that can negatively impact your ability to conceive naturally, like smoking. IVF can also be used if your partner’s sperm has mobility issues or below-average concentration.
Of course, IVF is also an option for many women who experience premature menopause, or simply want to start or expand their family into menopause. During perimenopause, the transition period into menopause which can be several years, you are still able to conceive, yet may have difficulty.
IVF is also one of the ways in which many same sex couples have kids, either from donated sperm or a donated egg and a surrogate.
Is it Right for Me?
Whatever your reason for thinking about IVF, the best person to talk to is your doctor. Every body and every situation is slightly different, but when it comes to fertility, it pays to have the conversation early!
Please note that advice offered by Intimina may not be relevant to your individual case. For specific concerns regarding your health, always consult your physician or other licensed medical practitioners.
Lane Baumeister is an internationally-based Canadian writer with several years’ experience creating educational and entertaining articles that discuss intimate health and sexual well-being. When not waxing profound about menstruation, she devotes herself to enjoying extremely good food and equally bad movies.