In a normal pregnancy, the egg and sperm are fertilized inside a woman’s body. If the egg implants to the lining of the uterus, or endometrim, and continues to grow, a baby is born about 9 months later. This is natural or unassisted conception. Unfortunately, there are many women who are unable to conceive this way and have been trying to conceive, or TTC, for more than a year without success. It is only after a thorough evaluation and less invasive treatments have failed, that in vitro fertilization or IVF is considered . Sometimes age factor, medical reasons or special circumstances, such as male factor infertility, make it impossible to do anything but IVF. With in vitro fertilization, this process is done as a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART), meaning that special medical techniques are used to help a woman acheive pregnancy. Since 1978, IVF has been tried and proven successful in treating infertility when all other forms of fertility techniques have failed. Over 5 million babies have been born over the last five decades with around 1.5 million ART cycles now performed around the world each year, producing approximately 350,000 babies.
According to recent SART (The Society of Assisted Reproductive Technologies) statistics the approximate chance of giving birth to a live baby after IVF is as follows:
- 41-43% for women under age 35
- 33-36% for women age 35 – 37
- 23-27% for women ages 38 – 40
- 13-18% for women over age 41
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine (June 28, 2012) stated that under the right circumstances IVF pregnancies, both normal and donor cycles, can be just as successful (leading to the live birth of a child) as naturally conceived pregnancies. The study concluded: “Our results indicate that live-birth rates approaching natural fecundity can be achieved by means of assisted reproductive technology when there are favorable patient and embryo characteristics. Live-birth rates among older women are lower than those among younger women when autologous oocytes are used but are similar to the rates among young women when donor oocytes are used.” © 2012, Massachusetts Medical Society
At Monterey Bay IVF our statistics for successful live births from our IVF cycles are among the best in the nation. See our Success Rates page for an overview. Dr. Ramirez and his staff take immense pride in not only offering state of the art technology in our surgery center and embryology lab, but also a caring and compassionate environment fully geared towards listening and understanding our patients’ struggles with infertility. It is one-on-one care with one physician who exclusively follows your care every step of the way.
There are basically five steps to IVF:
- Stimulation, also called “Super Ovulation”
- Egg Retrieval
- Insemination and Fertilization
- Embryo Culture
- Embryo Transfer
***For an informative animated video description see this recent TED-Ed lesson posted on the doctor’s blog: “How In Vitro Fertilization Works”.