For many people, IVF is a last resort after years of trying other ways to conceive a baby. For others, where one or both partners have a known condition that doesn't make natural reproduction viable, it can be one of the only ways to have a baby at all. If you are desperate to get pregnant and have had no joy trying the natural way, or have had no success with other treatments like artificial insemination, IVF can often help you achieve the pregnancy you long for. But what are the success rates of IVF and fertility or assisted reproductive treatments in general?
IVI, who run a chain of high tech reproductive clinics throughout Spain, and in a few other countries around the world, have reported that "90% of patients who undergo an assisted reproduction treatment at IVI become pregnant". They offer treatments using the conventional IVF technique as well as other services to help couples and single women who want to have a baby to conceive. This high success rate is a combination of the fact that IVF is in itself very effective, but also that their clinics use the latest technology and they use only the most skilled doctors and technicians. If you are considering IVF, then it is worth looking at the providers with the highest success rates. In many cases it can be worth traveling for the treatment both to get a better service and in some cases a less expensive procedure.
Do You Need More Than One 'Round' of IVF?
The process of IVF involves first causing you to produce more eggs than usual, then removing these eggs and fertilising them with sperm, which is applied directly to the egg (meaning that if your fertility problems are down to reduced motility in your partner's sperm, this effect is mitigated). These fertilised eggs are then grown into embryos. Some embryos are selected to be implanted into your uterus, which will hopefully lead to pregnancy. The non viable embryos are discarded. The remaining good embryos are then stored. What this effectively means is that if the first round of IVF does not lead to a successful pregnancy, you can have another 'round' without going through the first part of the treatment where the ovaries are stimulated and the eggs extracted again. It can take more than one round for a successful pregnancy to occur, but in many cases only the first round involves anything particularly uncomfortable or time consuming on your part. If there are no more viable embryos, the process will have to start again from the beginning.
IVF can be a very effective way to achieve pregnancy where other approaches have failed, or where there are medical reasons why natural conception can't easily occur. In the vast majority of cases, it can lead to a successful pregnancy and a baby, though if repeated IVF fails, it can be a good idea to consider other means of raising a baby such as adoption.