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I Can’t Get Pregnant, Now My Doctor Suggests IVF?

POSTED BY: Ashley Fialkowski

Celebrities such as Jon and Kate plus 8, Octomom, and Giuliana Rancic have made in vitro fertilization (IVF) a household word. For women who have tried to conceive naturally without success often seek out this form of treatment which involves combining a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm in a laboratory dish, and then implanting the fertilized embryo back into the woman’s body.

“The goal is to be able to select the most functionally and possibly genetic normal embryo”, says Dr. Sejal Dharia-Patel of the Center for Reproductive Medicine

This expensive option is most often tried when other less invasive fertility treatments have failed.

Why is IVF performed?

IVF is done to help women with various issues become pregnant. Some of these include

  • Advanced age of the woman
  • Damaged or blocked fallopian tubes
  • Endometriosis
  • Decreased sperm count (for the male)
  • Unexplained infertility

What does the process of IVF look like? It has four basic steps

  1. Stimulation, or “super ovulation”

This step involves a woman injecting herself with fertility drugs in order to boost her egg production. While a woman usually produces a single egg each month, these drugs signal the ovaries to produce several eggs.

  1. Egg Retrieval

A minor procedure called follicular aspiration is done to remove the eggs from the woman. The woman is given pain medication before the eggs are gently removed using image guided technology.

  1. Insemination and Fertilization

The man’s sperm is then placed together with the best quality eggs and stored in an environmentally controlled chamber. The sperm usually fertilizes the egg within 17-25 hours. If your physician is concerned about the egg binding to the sperm, the lab staff my directly inject the sperm into the egg.

  1. Embryo Culture and transfer

When the fertilized egg divides it becomes an embryo. On day three after the embryo has formed (when it has 8 cells), or on day five (when it has hundreds of cells) the fertilized embryo is placed back into a woman’s womb using a thin tube, similar to a catheter.

But will I end up with multiples?!?

More than one embryo is sometimes placed into the woman during transfer. This is where the increase risk for multiples comes into play.

“There is usually about a 30% chance of twins, and a one to two percent chance of triplets (based on her practice), because when patients get to IVF there are multiple pressures to assure they are pregnant,” says Dr. Dharia-Patel. “Women under 30 usually only have one embryo implanted, and women over 35, we tend to put two embryos back,” she says.

Dr. Dharia-Patel says this varies from patient to patient as it is based upon a woman’s age, her prior treatment history and most importantly the quality of the embryos. There are standards set forth from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine on how many eggs should be transferred.

What are the success rates of IVF?

“Success rates vary by age, and decrease as a woman gets older”, says Dr. Dharia- Patel

According to the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technologies (SART), the chances of having a baby after IVF are:

  • 41-43% for women under 35
  • 33-36% for women 35-37
  • 23-27% for women 38-40
  • 13-18% for women over age 41

To see stats in your area click here for an interactive map

But isn’t it expensive?

According to the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, the average cost of an IVF cycle in the United States is $12,400.

For more information on IVF opportunities you can contact Dr. Dharia-Patel at          1-800-343-6331 or visit their web site at