Options for Infertility: IVF

You’ve gone through the process to see if you have viable eggs and sperm. You’ve done the bloodwork, ultrasounds, and other various tests. IUI is not an option for you, so the doctor will then consider In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). This is typical when you’ve had one or some of the following conditions:

· Unsuccessful attempts with other treatment options

· Age-related infertility

· Low ovarian reserve

· Recurrent miscarriages

· Family history of congenital disabilities

· Damaged fallopian tubes

· Lack of ovulation

· Pre-existing conditions such as polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis

· Poor sperm quality


Though the procedure itself isn’t complicated, it can be a draining time emotionally and physically. Once it is confirmed that there are quality eggs and sperm to use, whether they are your own or donated, the doctor can begin the process. 

If you are using your own eggs, the wife will receive a couple weeks worth of injections in order to build up the egg count. These are administered by the wife or husband in her abdomen. The wife will also be required to get bloodwork done to monitor the hormone levels, and ultrasounds to watch the growth of the eggs. 

You will probably feel like a bruised, violated, pincushion during this time. You may also experience strong mood swings due to the drastic increase of hormones in your body. Understanding this now will help prepare you both for this time.  

They will give you another injection (“Trigger medication”) within 36 hours of the retrieval, when the ovulation is ready. The doctor will try to retrieve as many as possible to ensure success.

On the same day that the wife has her eggs removed, they will typically retrieve the sperm from the husband as well, if not donated. This means that the husband has already had his sperm checked. This is done by two different options:

1) If the husband has good sperm, he will provide the sample to the doctors himself

2) If the husband doesn’t ejaculate good sperm, but the doctor knows he has some stored in the testes, he will surgically retrieve the sperm on the same day the wife has her eggs retrieved. This will ensure the freshest and strongest samples, rather than having to freeze the sperm in the meantime. 

If both the husband and wife are having surgical retrievals on the same day, they will need to be driven by someone else. They will both be frozen/sedated and not able to drive.

The eggs will stay in an incubator for a couple of hours to continue their growth while the researchers wash and prepare the sperm. Then the sperm will be placed in the petri-dish with the eggs to create their own embryos. Or, the researcher will inject the sperm directly into the eggs if the sperm has low mobility. If the sperm and egg form an embryo, the researchers will monitor them daily for three-five days for development and health. Timing may vary depending on the clinic. 

Most clinics prefer to implant only one embryo at a time. However, depending on age, medical history, embryo development, and other factors, they may choose to implant more. They try to avoid the risk of multiple births, because of the increased complications this can cause for the babies and their mother later on in pregnancy and birth. You can discuss this with your doctor. 

If you have a number of embryos available, they will give you the option to freeze them until you’re ready for another pregnancy or in case this embryo transfer didn’t take. 

IVF can cost $10,000-$15,000 on average. Some of the expenses include the medications, sperm washing, egg and sperm retrieval, the embryo transfer, etc. There can be other added expenses such as sperm, egg, and embryo freezing and storage. The government of Ontario allots a certain amount towards IVF treatments for couples. However, this only covers one IVF administration. If you have multiple pregnancies, you’ll need to cover those costs. 

Do some research if you have a benefits package through your employment. Some of the companies will cover a portion or all of your needed medications. So, this option for fertility can either be inexpensive or very expensive, depending on the coverage you receive. 

As it grows in popularity, a lot of people are trying the IVF option instead of going straight to adoption. This still gives you the opportunity to try for your own biological children. 

This is also a good plan if you have chosen sperm donor and still can’t conceive by having it inserted it into your uterus. Sometimes they need a little extra help to get developed and implanted so this would be your chosen method. 

It’s not for everyone, so make sure that you’re still praying and seeking the Lord’s decision through this process. You’ll need His strength and discernment to walk you through. 

If you’ve chosen this method of fertility and had success with it, we’d love to hear your story. Send me a message and I’d be happy to post it for you, either with your name or anonymously. I think it’s good for people to hear what led you to choose any fertility option and the gift God has given from it. It is difficult to know what’s right when you’re overwhelmed with multiple decisions and emotions. 

(Research and information were taken from friends’ experiences along with the following websites:)

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