Infertility treatment – IVF process, ivf success rate, ivf risk

IVF process

Before the treatment of IVF, eggs and sperms are retrieved from women and men respectively, with suitable retrieval techniques according to couples’ situations.

  1. Ovarian hyperstimulation (with or without hormone injection)
    Oral medicines or hormone injection will be adopted to stimulate ovulation; more than one follicle will be stimulated at a time.
    Transvaginal ultrasound and blood tests will be performed regularly to monitor follicle maturation and hormone levels.

  2. Collection of ovum
    A minor surgery known as follicular aspiration is required to retrieve follicles. Under ultrasound guidance, matured follicles will be aspired by a long needle. For those not suitable for ultrasound retrieval, laparoscopic method will be adopted. Collected ovum will be stored in suitable medium immediately.

  3. Collection of sperms
    Semen sample collection requires no surgery, most commonly it is collected by masturbation.

  4. Insemination and Fertilization
    The sperms and eggs collected will be treated and only those with good qualities will be placed together in a specified medium and environment. This process is known as insemination. Normally fertilization occurs a few hours after insemination.

  5. Maturation of embryos
    Fertilized egg will carry out cell division to become an embryo. Embryos will be cultured for up to 5 days to ensure they are actively dividing.

  6. Embryo Transfer
    Within 3-5 days after fertilization, actively dividing embryos are ready to be transferred to women’s uterus. The embryos will be delivered to women’s uterine lining for implantation. The procedure usually includes 2-3 embryos. Once implantation is successful, pregnancy is resulted.

    The placement of embryos requires great skill of the embryologist, accurate placement ensure greater chance of success and less complications.

IVF Risk

  1. Multiple pregnancies: Since each IVF therapy includes 2-3 embryos for implantation, multiple pregnancy may be resulted. Patients should consult their doctors when deciding the number of embryos to be transferred.

  2. Ectopic pregnancy: ectopic pregnancy means the embryo is implanted in the fallopian tube, which may develop occasionally during IVF therapy.

  3. Drug reaction: some people may be allergic to the fertility medications used in IVF therapy. However, one should be reminded that drug allergy is possible in all treatments.

  4. Congenital defects: the risk associated with IVF is low. However, congenital defect is related to multiple factors, including genetic factors, the age of parents, chemical/radiation exposure, etc.

IVF Success rate

The average success rate is around 30-40%

For couples with normal fertility, the rate of successful conception per cycle is 20-25%.

The success rate of IVF depends on the number of embryos placed into the women’s uterus, the quality of the embryos and the condition of the female’s endometrium.

Although placing more embryos may increase the success rate, the risks of multiple pregnancies may also increase. Multiple pregnancies may endanger both the mother and the children’s development.

Due to such reason, some countries adopt single embryo transfer as much as possible. The success rate of single embryo transfer is around 20%, which is similar to the normal success rate.

Couples should note that pregnancy is under the influence of various factors. Failure of IVF can be caused by different factors.

For instance, female may have adverse drug reactions, defected ovaries, or autoimmune reactions to drugs. ICSI selects only one sperm and the sperm may have some genetic defects not being noticed. Placement of embryo to an undesirable site in the uterus may also lead to failure of treatment. The treatment center should endeavor to keep these risks to the minimum.

Point to note:

If egg retrieval is unsuccessful, doctors may cancel the whole treatment.

The information on this website is for general educational purpose only.
Readers should consult their physician before considering treatment, and should not interpret their condition solely based on the information above.