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Answering Your Most Asked Fertility Questions

Frequently Asked IVF and Fertility Questions

Whether you are visiting a fertility specialist or reproductive endocrinologist for the first time or you’ve been seeing a specialist for a while, we know you have questions, and we’re here to answer them. 

We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 questions we hear from patients regularly to help those newer to fertility treatment, especially IVF. Knowledge is power, so don’t hesitate to ask additional questions or look for a more in-depth response at your next appointment. 

5 Most Common IVF Questions:

When is IVF recommended?

In-Vitro Fertilization, or IVF for short, is a commonly used conception process that helps individuals and couples grow their families. For some, IVF is recommended once another fertility treatment method has failed, such as intrauterine insemination or IUI. 

In other cases, IVF may be recommended as the first line of treatment for fertility issues. This is most common with issues like low sperm counts, advanced maternal age, endometriosis, poor ovarian reserve, and issues with the fallopian tubes. IVF is also considered when the length of infertility is over two years.

IVF is also recommended in cases for fertility preservation, where a woman can harvest her eggs to freeze and use later. 

What is the Process for Conceiving Through IVF?

The process for IVF consists of a few stages. The first stage is ovulation induction, where injectable medications are most commonly used to stimulate the development of multiple mature follicles to retrieve as many healthy eggs as possible. This stage usually takes 10-14 days, with a handful of monitoring appointments along the way to see how the follicles are growing.

Once the follicles are large enough, your doctor will have you use medication to “trigger” a final growth of the follicles that brings you right up to the next stage - the egg retrieval. In this procedure, the doctor will perform a transvaginal aspiration of each follicle to remove as many eggs as possible. 

Following retrieval, the eggs are fertilized (unless freezing eggs), where they are mixed with sperm about 4 hours after the egg aspiration. A fertilization report is usually available the next day, and those fertilized eggs will be watched as they continue to grow.

The final stage is transfer, where the embryos are transferred into the woman’s uterus. This is another quick procedure where the embryo transfer catheter is loaded with the embryo(s) and put through the cervical opening up to the upper part of the uterine cavity. The embryos are then gently released from the catheter into the endometrial lining. This part of the process can happen a few days after retrieval or during another cycle for those doing a frozen embryo transfer. 

Does IVF increase my chance of having twins or triplets?

Successful IVF pregnancies have a higher rate of multiples than the general population, with the average rate being near 10% compared to the 2% during natural conception. This is primarily a result of transferring multiple embryos into the uterus. The goal of any IVF treatment is a healthy outcome, which is best achieved with a singleton pregnancy - therefore, the intent of treatment is always to maximize the chances of this outcome. The risk of multiple pregnancy can be dramatically reduced by transferring one embryo only.

What is PGT Testing?

Preimplantation genetic testing (PGT) is a procedure done during in vitro fertilization to identify genetic defects in an embryo before it is implanted into a woman’s uterus.

With PGT, you significantly reduce the risk of chromosomal abnormalities such as Down syndrome (trisomy 21), trisomy 18, and sex chromosome abnormalities. There is also a form of PGT called PGT-M that detect single gene mutations within the chromosome. If the couple is a known carrier of one of these genetic diseases, a special genetic probe can be developed and used to detect the abnormality in the embryo. Some common examples of PGT-M are in cases of cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy, and Tay-Sachs disease.

How Can I Afford IVF?

Cost is often a big factor for those seeking fertility treatment such as IVF. The first thing we always recommend is to contact your health insurance company to see what kind of coverage is provided. 

Many patients have limited or no fertility treatment coverage, but this doesn’t mean you are out of luck. In addition to health insurance coverage, there are other options for financing fertility treatment. 

 There are several financing options and you can find a list of available grants here. You can meet with a financial advisor from our office to learn more about your options.

Ready to Learn More About the IVF Process?

We recommend you schedule your initial consultation today for those who want to learn more about fertility treatment, including IVF. During this appointment, Dr. Schmidt or Dr. Shah will answer all of your questions and help walk you through the process of any treatment options available. 

In addition to discussing your fertility treatment options, they can also help you better understand the process and what to expect during your time at the clinic. They will also direct you to the best financial resources.

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