Infertility Facts and Treatment
 

A Look at In Vitro Fertilization

In the case where a woman has blocked fallopian tubes or one of the fallopian tubes is missing all together, in vitro fertilization (IVF) is sometimes undertaken. This is also often the method that is considered if a man has a low sperm count. In vitro fertilization offers the hope of conceiving a child to couples who would otherwise have little if any chance of having their own biological offspring.

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In vitro fertilization occurs when an egg from the woman and sperm from the man are fertilized outside of the woman's body in a dish at a laboratory. This is done to create an embryo and after two to three days the embryo that results is then implanted in the woman's uterus to begin the normal development cycle of an embryo.

Sometimes one but more often a few eggs are surgically taken from a woman's ovary and then are mixed with sperm from her partner outside of her body. The process takes place in a dish that is known as a Petri dish. The words "in vitro" are Latin for the words "in glass." The egg and sperm are left for approximately 40 hours and then the eggs are carefully examined to determine if they have been fertilized and if so, if they are dividing properly into cells. The fertilized eggs are now called embryos and the embryos are put back in the woman's uterus. This process helps to bypass the work of the fallopian tubes completely.

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The most common cause of female infertility is a disorder related to ovulation. An other common cause of female infertility is blocked fallopian tubes, which can take place due to endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Repeated miscarriages are often linked to birth defects (or congenital anomalies), which can involve problems with the structure or makeup of the uterus and/or uterine fibroids. Age also plays a role in a woman's ability to conceive. A woman's fertility begins to decline slightly at age 30 and then takes a significant drop at age 35. After age 40 a woman has a one in ten chance of getting pregnant. The ovaries decline in their ability to produce eggs as a woman advances in years, and this is most readily seen after the age of 35.

 

In vitro fertilization (IVF) first came into existence in 1978 although it really did not gain very much attention until 1981 when it was technically first introduced in the United States as a viable means of conceiving a child for infertile couples. According to ASRM and also its affiliate, the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology (SART) more than 139,000 children have been conceived through IVF between the years 1985 through 2000. As of the conclusion of 2002, approximately 300,000 babies have been born in the United States thanks to Assisted Reproductive Technology methods that include IVF but also GIFT, ZIFT and a combination of procedures.

At the present time in vitro fertilization accounts for a very high percentage (99%) of all ART procedures with GIFT, ZIFT and a combination of other procedures picking up the rear. The average live delivery rate in the year 2000 for in vitro fertilization was 29.9 % per retrieval which was much improved over the 20% chance that a couple who were healthy in a reproductive sense had of conceiving a child and carrying the baby to term without complications. In the year 2002, an estimated one in every hundreds infants born in the United States were conceived by way of one of the ART methods.


The average cost to undergo IVF in the United States is $12,400. IVF is a sophisticated medical procedure that involves highly skilled professionals who are top in their field as well as elaborate laboratories and equipment. Sometimes an IVF cycle requires more than one attempt and this in turn increases the cost.

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Infertility Facts
A Look at In Vitro Fertilization
Frequently Asked Questions About Infertility Part One
How is Infertility Diagnosed?
Medicines to Treat Female Infertility
What is Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)?
Common Fertility Tests for Women
Frequently Asked Questions About Infertility Part Two
Is Infertility a Woman's Problem?
Treatment for Infertility
What is Infertility?
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