Infertility is a painful reality for many couples. Desiring children and not being able to conceive them naturally can be extremely stressful and upsetting, but the field of medical technology has made it possible for these couples to still have hope of conceiving and carrying a baby. The first baby to be conceived through in vitro fertilization was born in England in 1978, and since the procedure was introduced to the United States in 198, artificial means of establishing pregnancy has resulted in over 200,000 births. Though only a small percentage of couples struggling with infertility choose to resort to in vitro fertilization, the question “how much does in vitro fertilization cost?” can be the first step in achieving the dream of parenthood.
In Vitro Fertilization vs Artificial Insemination
In vitro fertilization, also known as IVF, is not the only procedure infertile couples use to attempt conception. Another method, referred to as artificial insemination, is a more common procedure, but one that is not appropriate for as many situations as is IVF.
Artificial insemination is essential helping the natural version of conception along by introducing sperm directly into the uterus so that it can fertilize an egg. This is a much more straightforward method of medical conception of conception than IVF, which involves creating an embryo outside of the human body before introducing it into the uterus.
What Does it Help?
There are many factors that may contribute to the infertility of a couple. These include low sperm count, problems with ovulation, endometriosis, antibodies, and other, unexplained reasons. Though it is considered a last resort option for couples who have tried other means of infertility treatments, IVF is able to help with all of these issues.
Before you decide that IVF is right for you, there are some considerations to keep in mind:
- The early processes of IVF can result in multiple embryos. Most likely all of these will not survive.
- If you find out the success rate of the doctor that will be performing the IVF, you must understand that those successes might have been in couples that were not dealing with the same infertility issues as you.
- IVF has a high rate of miscarriage.
- Women who do successfully carry pregnancies after IVF are likely to deliver multiples.
- The IVF process is long and rigorous, and can put a toll on your body without guarantee of success.
Even with the risks, many couples feel that the prospect of having a child is worth the IVF process.
How is it Done?
IVF is a multistage process. It begins with hormone injections. These daily shots will encourage your ovaries to produce many eggs rather than just one. When the eggs are at the proper stage, an injection will ripen them so that they can be retrieved. The timing at this point is incredibly delicate because eggs that are retrieved outside of the slim optimum window will be unusable. In order for the eggs to be retrieved you will likely be given pain medication, and can choose to be sedated or put fully under general anesthesia.
This procedure takes approximately half an hour, though it could take longer depending on your body and the number of eggs your ovaries have produced. The eggs will be retrieved using a long hollow needle. If you are using your partner’s sperm it will be donated the same day so that it can be introduced to the newly-retrieved eggs immediately after the procedure.
In most cases this introduction is all that is needed to cause fertilization, but in some special cases an individual sperm must be inserted into an egg using a needle in order for an embryo to develop. Several days after the fertilization, the doctor will determine if any healthy embryos have developed. If so, you will return to the clinic where the embryos will be deposited directly into your uterus. After several hours of bed rest you will be released.
If everything seems to be going well you will take a pregnancy test about two weeks later. In approximately 26% of all cycles that are performed the woman will give birth to a live baby.
How Much Does In Vitro Fertilization Cost?
Several states have recently approved laws that require insurance companies to cover at least a portion of the costs of IVF and other treatments for infertility, but a large number of couples wishing to undergo the process will be faced with the total costs on their own. One cycle of IVF costs approximately $12,500, including medications and doctor fees. Some women are fortunate enough to become pregnant and deliver a healthy child after only one cycle, but many must go through several. Having embryos that aren’t used during an initial cycle frozen can reduce the cost of future cycles that may be needed.
If you have been pondering “how much does in vitro fertilization cost?” you have probably dealt with fertility issues for a long time. This procedure, though expensive and risky, can be just the thing you need to reach your goal of motherhood.