In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process that can help people with fertility problems to become pregnant. Since its development a few decades ago, IVF has helped thousands of people fulfill their dream of becoming parents.

Watch as Dr. Griffin Describes IVF

How Does IVF Work?

IVF works by assisting eggs and sperm to meet in a laboratory environment outside of the body. The process begins with the woman taking medications to encourage egg maturation. When the eggs are ready, they are retrieved from her body and fertilized by mixing them with sperm from either her partner or a donor. The fertilized eggs, or embryos, are then placed into the woman's uterus, where implantation and pregnancy hopefully take place. During the in vitro fertilization process, two to four embryos are typically implanted into a woman's uterus at a single time. Each attempt is considered one IVF cycle.

The first baby successfully born from this process was Louise Brown. She was born in England and reached the age of 25 by 2003. Since 1978, IVF treatments have been administered, and since that time, over four million babies have been born from the procedure.

When to Consider IVF

Any woman who is still ovulating is eligible for IVF. The success rates of IVF will decline as women age, but women under the age of 35 will have the greatest chance of becoming pregnant with this technique. Though any woman is eligible, there are greater chances of multiple births. With IVF, there is a 32 percent chance of twins and a five percent chance of triplets. The majority of births or over 60 percent are single babies, however.

Benefits of IVF

With IVF, there is a reduced need for invasive surgery. The embryos can be implanted with minimally invasive procedures. This is preferable for women who may have medical problems with their Fallopian tubes. Studies have shown that IVF has significantly reduced the number of surgeries performed to treat fertility issues.