10 Vital Questions IVF Patients Must Ask

10 Vital Questions IVF Patients Must Ask

 

Couple in consultation at IVF clinic talking to physician

Cost, quality and success rates – the key stats your fertility clinic needs to tell you. And their information needs to be accurate and honest. Here’s our list of the 10 most important IVF questions patients ask.

1. What exactly is IVF?

IVF (or in vitro fertilisation) is the most common form of assisted reproduction. Fertility medication is used to stimulate multiple follicle development in a woman’s ovaries. Eggs are retrieved using laparoscopic techniques and mixed with your partner’s sperm. Any resulting embryos are left to develop over two to five days and monitored for quality. One or two viable embryos can then be transferred back into the uterus. Good-quality leftover embryos can be vitrified (frozen) for repeat treatment.

2. Who invented IVF?

Bob Edwards, the British scientist who died in April 2013, was a key pioneer of IVF treatment. It took him many years to develop the technology, which is still improving. IVF is now accepted as a mainstream medical procedure. Read our tribute to Bob Edwards here.

3. What’s the upper age limit for IVF treatment?

The starting point for any fertility treatment is a medical assessment of both partners. Age-wise, 42 is often considered the maximum age for IVF with a woman’s own eggs. This is because egg quality decreases with age – and it declines steeply after 35. A degree of realism is needed. At aged 40, a woman’s chance of a live birth following IVF is under 20%. By 43, it’s under 5%. If you have leftover embryos from a fresh cycle, you can have repeat treatment via a frozen embryo transfer. These are often more successful than fresh transfers for older women.

4. How much does an IVF cycle cost?

It depends on the clinic you choose. Private treatment in the UK, including medication costs, tests, scans and additional fees, can be as much as £10,000 per cycle. Many UK couples now go abroad for their IVF treatment, where the total price for everything (including travel and accommodation) can be 50% cheaper. IVF is limited on the NHS: it’s a postcode lottery. Also, unfair exemptions apply.

5. Where can I have my IVF treatment?

Anywhere in the world – you’re not limited to your country of residence. UK citizens considering overseas treatment usually choose to have their treatment in mainland Europe. As well as being logistically easier than flying to Australia, fertility treatment in the EU is highly regulated.

So you can have peace of mind that European laws protect you and ensure your treatment is of a high standard. Don’t believe those scare stories in the tabloid press about having IVF abroad. If it’s in the EU, you’ll be well looked after.

6. Is IVF medication as expensive as people say?

It depends on your treatment protocol – and where you buy the medication. IVF drugs using your own eggs can cost anywhere between £300 and £1,200. Getting a range of quotes is a good idea. Sometimes clinics, or IVF agencies, have access to discounted medication. Drugs for frozen embryo transfers (FETs) and donor-egg recipients are cheaper but can still mount up. For example, progesterone-in-oil injections and Clexane (a blood thinner) are pricey in some countries.

7. Are there any side effects to IVF drugs?

There can be. Mood changes, nausea, fatigue and difficulty sleeping are common complaints, but a short IVF protocol may alleviate these. Donor-egg recipients are down-regulated with a strong single injection. You may get menopausal-like side effects, but nothing too unbearable.

8. How successful is IVF?

A successful IVF cycle – i.e. one that results in a live birth – depends on many factors. The general health of the couple, ovarian reserve, maternal age, sperm quality and genetic factors. The clinic you choose, and the competence of each staff member, is also important. For data on success rates, ask your clinic. Not all clinics present their results in the same way. Some even mislead. For the excellent clinic we used, here are their success rates.

9. How many IVF cycles will I realistically need?

That’s related to your personal situation, and your clinic. Some people get lucky first time. Others have to endure multiple cycles. Statistically, start by looking at clinic success rates for your age group. Also look at FET stats, since follow-on cycles are a common path to successful treatment in the end. To check your clinic’s consistency of care, compare success rates from a previous year.

10. Is IVF with donor eggs more successful than normal IVF?

Almost always. Good-quality donor eggs are likely to come from someone younger than you. If your uterine environment is good but your own eggs aren’t, donated eggs may the answer. Success rates (live births) can be 10 times higher than IVF with your own eggs. Get advice from your consultant – and speak to your partner. It worked for us.

18 Comments
  • Priyanka
    Posted at 13:53h, 06 November Reply

    Hello
    I had my egg retrieval on 21st October 2015 and on 24th October I had embryo transfer. On that day my doctor transferred 3 Grade A embryos. And my gynae gave me the feedback that everything is superfine in my case. Today on dt 6th November 2015 I had my hcg beta blood test. I was very hopeful for my positive result but when I saw the result I was shocked. It was 0.9 miu/ml, which is very low. It comes to my mind there is some problem on the laboratory side…..can anyone suggest what I should do?

  • Priyanka
    Posted at 13:53h, 06 November Reply

    Hello
    I had my egg retrieval on 21st October 2015 and on 24th October I had embryo transfer. On that day my doctor transferred 3 Grade A embryos. And my gynae gave me the feedback that everything is superfine in my case. Today on dt 6th November 2015 I had my hcg beta blood test. I was very hopeful for my positive result but when I saw the result I was shocked. It was 0.9 miu/ml, which is very low. It comes to my mind there is some problem on the laboratory side…..can anyone suggest what I should do?

  • Zinet
    Posted at 07:58h, 04 May Reply

    My IVF was cancelled due to fertilised but not well developed Embryo after ER and tried by ICSI. So should I continue to try the next cycle. Please ?

  • Zinet
    Posted at 07:58h, 04 May Reply

    My IVF was cancelled due to fertilised but not well developed Embryo after ER and tried by ICSI. So should I continue to try the next cycle. Please ?

  • Zinet
    Posted at 07:58h, 04 May Reply

    My IVF was cancelled due to fertilised but not well developed Embryo after ER and tried by ICSI. So should I continue to try the next cycle immediately . Please ?

  • Zinet
    Posted at 07:58h, 04 May Reply

    My IVF was cancelled due to fertilised but not well developed Embryo after ER and tried by ICSI. So should I continue to try the next cycle immediately . Please ?

  • KD
    Posted at 20:31h, 03 August Reply

    Could you pick a photo of a happier couple? They’re not having enough fun discussing their infertility!

  • KD
    Posted at 20:31h, 03 August Reply

    Could you pick a photo of a happier couple? They’re not having enough fun discussing their infertility!

  • Daman
    Posted at 03:54h, 08 August Reply

    Hello I went through ivf on my embryo transfer they did on 26/07/2017 and earlier inhd cramps but now I am feeling like period pain and not too much symptoms ? Can u plz tell me I am worried

  • Daman
    Posted at 03:54h, 08 August Reply

    Hello I went through ivf on my embryo transfer they did on 26/07/2017 and earlier inhd cramps but now I am feeling like period pain and not too much symptoms ? Can u plz tell me I am worried

  • Prak
    Posted at 13:40h, 07 November Reply

    I am on Day 12 of my 4 day FET. Day 2 and Day 3 I puked and immediately had motion once a day. Until day 7 it was quiet, but on day 7 and day 8 observed a brownish discharge on my panties. Day 9 observed a pinkish fluid on my vaginal gel applicator, but no bleeding or spotting on my panties. Reported the same to my doc and then she increased my Estradiol Valerate dosage. Do you think It was a failure? Why she increased my Estradiol dose? How long can I see implantation bleeding? I have my beta on Nov 11, 2017.

  • Prak
    Posted at 13:40h, 07 November Reply

    I am on Day 12 of my 4 day FET. Day 2 and Day 3 I puked and immediately had motion once a day. Until day 7 it was quiet, but on day 7 and day 8 observed a brownish discharge on my panties. Day 9 observed a pinkish fluid on my vaginal gel applicator, but no bleeding or spotting on my panties. Reported the same to my doc and then she increased my Estradiol Valerate dosage. Do you think It was a failure? Why she increased my Estradiol dose? How long can I see implantation bleeding? I have my beta on Nov 11, 2017.

  • sri
    Posted at 23:58h, 23 November Reply

    First hcg level 96.3 second level is 147 light bleeding is there chances to get pregnancy

  • sri
    Posted at 23:58h, 23 November Reply

    First hcg level 96.3 second level is 147 light bleeding is there chances to get pregnancy

  • PALLAVI BISEN
    Posted at 14:01h, 09 February Reply

    I m in 7th week of Ivf pregnancy. Dr prescribed me every 4th day Proluton inj.+ Crinone gel daily one + Geston tab daily on e vaginally..Is it overdosing? I am scared. Pls help.

  • PALLAVI BISEN
    Posted at 14:01h, 09 February Reply

    I m in 7th week of Ivf pregnancy. Dr prescribed me every 4th day Proluton inj. Crinone gel daily one Geston tab daily on e vaginally..Is it overdosing? I am scared. Pls help.

  • ASwathy
    Posted at 03:40h, 10 December Reply

    Hii my ivf treatment is cancelled due to my eggs are dont growth normally.iam taking menotropin injections 10 days nd scaned. But egg growth is very slow. Why we facing that problem

  • ASwathy
    Posted at 03:40h, 10 December Reply

    Hii my ivf treatment is cancelled due to my eggs are dont growth normally.iam taking menotropin injections 10 days nd scaned. But egg growth is very slow. Why we facing that problem

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