In Vitro Fertilization: Procedure, Results and Success Rates

Couples throughout San Antonio, Texas who are interested in fertility treatment have likely heard of in vitro fertilization. This is one of the most well-known assisted reproductive technologies in the industry and has helped many, many couples conceive. However, for all its fanfare and hype, in vitro fertilization is not a magical fix to infertility. Its success rate hovers around 10 to 20% in most cases and possibly lower if the woman is over the age of 35. Before couples go jumping into treatment, there are a few things they should know first.

'In vitro' in Latin means 'in glass'. In vitro fertilization is performed in a glass dish in a laboratory, hence its name. To help the woman produce more eggs, she may be given fertility drugs to stimulate her ovaries. Several mature eggs are required for fertilization and women who take fertility drugs are, in most cases, able to produce more eggs than women who elect not to take the drugs. Women are encouraged to speak with an experienced fertility doctor at a reputable clinic in their area to discuss fertility drugs and whether or not she should take them. Some women who take fertility drugs report they suffer from headaches and flushing.

To determine the best time to harvest the woman's eggs, her temperature and hormones will be monitored. An ultrasound may also be performed in the days leading up to ovulation to ensure that the eggs are ready. Once the time is right, the eggs are removed from the ovaries and brought to a glass dish, where they will be mixed with the sperm from the man. The dish contains a special nutrient medium and the sperm, eggs and nutrient medium is cultured in an incubator for fertilization. About two days later the embryos are transferred to the woman's uterus.

A fine tube is used to transfer and place the eggs in the woman's uterus under the most sterile conditions possible. Only about two to three embryos are implanted at a time to reduce the chances of multiple pregnancies. Couples are strongly encouraged to discuss the possibility of multiple births with their fertility doctor. Any remaining embryos will be frozen and may be used in later procedures if conception is not achieved with the current procedure.

Couples should know if implantation is successful within 10 to 14 days of implantation. A pregnancy test taken about two weeks after implantation will tell the couple whether or not the procedure was a success. If the procedure fails, couples should speak with a fertility doctor to discuss their options and possibly try another session.

Each cycle takes about four to six weeks to complete. Both partners will be required to spend about half a day in the fertility clinic for egg retrieval and fertilization, while the female partner must return a few days later for embryo transfer. It is important that both partners fully understand what will be required of them during this procedure to avoid any surprises or complications. All couples considering in vitro fertilization are encouraged to speak with a fertility specialist in the San Antonio area for more detailed explanations of what they should expect with this procedure.

To further understand the in vitro fertilization procedure, its risks and success rates, patients should speak with a fertility doctor in their area. Despite it being one of the most well-known fertility treatments in the industry, this procedure carries a surprising success rate of only about 10 to 20%. However, each couple is different and may have different rates of success. For more information, contact a medical professional.

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