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Why IVF has higher pregnancy rates than natural conception

Health & Fitness

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During the process of in vitro fertilization at Idaho Fertility Center. | EastIdahoNews.com file photo
This story is brought to you by Idaho Fertility Center. Having infertility treatment close to home can sometimes make all the difference. Idaho Fertility Center provides comprehensive reproductive care with success rates well above the national average. Click here to find out more.

In vitro fertilization has proven to be a powerful solution for conception for many couples struggling with infertility.

IVF is a fairly new medical procedure. The first child to be conceived using IVF was born in 1978.

Fast forward a few decades, and IVF is not only a viable solution, but most people have heard of it. Even more spectacular is that IVF generally has higher success rates than even natural conception. Out of 100 couples trying to conceive naturally, 20 percent will actually get pregnant per month. Pregnancy rates for those undergoing in vitro fertilization at Idaho Fertility Center are as high as 70 percent and higher per month.

“The success rate of IVF clinics depends on a number of factors, including experience and skill of laboratory staff, the patient’s reproductive history, maternal age, the cause of infertility, and lifestyle factors. It is also important to understand that pregnancy rates are not the same as live birth rates,” according to the American Pregnancy Association.

What makes IVF so successful is its ability to bypass many of the common issues surrounding natural conception as well as seeing and even assisting some of the steps of fertilization that are typical unseen.

Viewing embryos

In vitro fertilization provides the ability to assess the overall health of the woman’s eggs as well as the fertilized embryos, all before transfer to the uterus. It is at this step in the IVF process that further genetic testing can be done to screen for certain genetic disorders or abnormalities chromosomally. The most viable and healthiest embryos can be selected for transfer, resulting in a higher pregnancy success rate.

Bypass medical issues

Some of the more common issues surrounding infertility are PCOS, endometriosis, tubal factors and issues with the sperm such as motility and morphology. According to the Idaho Fertility Center, “IVF is often more successful as it bypasses certain barriers that may inhibit fertilization. Having the ability to control ovulation and monitor the effectiveness of medications also adds to success when trying to conceive.

Less sperm needed

Increasingly, low sperm count is one reason that couples experience infertility. Since natural conception hinges on sperm reaching one egg, the higher the count of sperm, the better. Additionally, the sperm should be able to move and be shaped appropriately. If the sperm cannot reach the egg, no fertilization occurs.

With IVF, though, a much lower amount of sperm is required. Because the sperm is not forced to travel to the egg and is instead placed together in a laboratory, the motility and morphology of the sperm is no longer an issue. Sperm can also be injected directly into the egg in a process called ICSI or intracytoplasmic sperm injection to increase fertilization rates.

Fertility drugs

Once you begin a treatment cycle for IVF, you begin taking fertility drugs. These medications are specifically designed to increase levels of particular hormones that control a women’s cycle. Together, these “hormones allow multiple ovarian follicles to grow each cycle. The eggs inside the follicles mature and release with the aid of medications as well. Controlling the development and release of eggs allows more than one egg to mature per month which and results in more embryos for conception,” according to the Utah Fertility Center.

IVF has seen increased levels of success as more and more research into infertility takes place. Assisted reproductive technology continues to improve, and genetic testing provides valuable information about the health of embryos before transfer and reduces the chance of miscarriage. If you are a couple that has dreamed about having a family and are struggling to make that dream come true, In vitro fertilization may be the solution.

RELATED | WATCH: Behind the scenes of in vitro fertilization

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