09 Oct Is the IVF procedure painful?
To get to the answer, you need to understand the IVF process itself.
IVF or In Vitro Fertilization is the most common and successful fertility treatment. The treatment has helped many individuals and couples become pregnant and have babies. The IVF procedure has a good success rate when performed at a licensed fertility clinic.
What is IVF?
The IVF treatment begins with using hormones to stimulate the egg maturation inside the ovaries. Once the eggs develop, they are retrieved, fertilized with sperm (partner’s or donor’s) in an advanced lab, and placement of embryo(s) into the uterus.
Individuals or couples who have not been able to conceive with other fertility treatments may turn to IVF to conceive. For instance, women with tubal issues can benefit from IVF, since IVF procedure bypasses the fallopian tubes and places the embryo directly into the uterus. However, IVF alone may not work for everyone. For example, if you are older than 38 years of age, you may require use donor eggs to have a better chance of conception.
There are mainly 4 phases in the IVF treatment –
- Preparation – This involves suppressing the menstrual cycle with the help of Lupron or a similar drug. The drug tells the body not to ovulate so the fertility clinic can retrieve eggs at 14 days after Lupron begins.
- Egg retrieval – Eggs are retrieved from the ovaries using specific tools, such as hollow needles that are easily inserted through the cervix into the uterus.
- Fertilization – The retrieved eggs and sperm are allowed to fertilize in the lab in a controlled setting. Once embryos form, one or more are graded by a fertility specialist and the best embryos are chosen for transfer.
- Embryo transfer – The embryos are placed into the uterus using a special catheter.
Is IVF procedure painful?
While IVF requires tools to be inserted into the woman’s body, they only cause some mild cramping and some discomfort, but not pain. Small, hollow needles are inserted into the uterus and ovaries during the egg retrieval process, which may produce some pain and mild cramping.
IVF treatment success rates
In the United States, IVF success is measured by the live birth rate and the live birth rate for each IVF cycle is –
41-43% for women aged 35 years and younger
33-36% for women aged 35 years to 37 years
23-27% for women aged 38 years to 40 years
13-18% for women aged 40 years and older
Women in their late 30s and older may need donor eggs for a better chance of conception. Use of donor eggs increases a woman’s chances of live birth by 50%, especially if there is a history of implantation problems. However, older women still have a greater chance of miscarriage.