IVF is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART). Among the other types of ARTS, in-vitro fertilization has become a widely known concept because of its success rate. It assists with the conception of a child through a complex series of procedures to aid infertility and genetic problems.

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) : Process, Effects, Results and Cost

IVF is a type of assisted reproductive technology (ART). Among the other types of ARTS, in-vitro fertilization has become a widely known concept because of its success rate. It assists with the conception of a child through a complex series of procedures to aid infertility and genetic problems.

Photo by Fabiola Peñalba on Unsplash

Invitro means outside a living organism and fertilization means to cure the egg through a sperm for conception. Moreover, IVF and similar techniques have been around since 1981. These techniques were known as “test-tube babies” and have resulted in more than 8 million babies as of 2019.

Did you know?? The first test-tube baby was born in the year 1978 in the UK. The procedure was conducted by Cambridge reproductive biologists Robert Edwards and Oldham Patrick Steptoe.

The process of IVF

The process of IVF is lengthy. It requires time and money. For this reason, only about 5 percent of couples with infertility opt for IVF treatment.

A single cycle of IVF includes medicines, ultrasounds, blood tests, procedures, embryo storage, anesthesia, and lab work. It usually takes months to complete a tail of several IVF steps to complete the process.

The process of IVF consists of seven steps:

ivf process
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1. Ovulation induction

The first step is about preparing the ovaries to produce quality eggs that can be matured and fertilized. For months before the egg retrieval, the woman has to take certain fertility medications.

In other words. ovulation induction is about preparing the woman’s body to produce quality eggs. Because the success rate of IVF decreases immensely if the egg is not mature enough and can’t be fertilized by the sperm. Hence, it’s the very first and primary step of the fertilization process.

The doctor keeps a close check on the eggs and hormonal levels through ultrasounds and blood tests.

2. Egg retrieval

Once, a sufficient number of eggs are matured in the ovaries and become ready for fertilization, they are retrieved through minor surgery. A hollow and thin suction needle is inserted through the vagina to collect the eggs in each of the follicles of the ovaries.

An ultrasound is used to guide and monitor the egg retrieval surgery. It also assures a successful and smooth procedure.

3. Sperm retrieval

A sample of the semen is provided at the doctor’s clinic right after the egg retrieval procedure. The sample is attained through masturbation or minor surgery called TESA.

TESA or Testicular sperm aspiration is the procedure often used to retrieve sperms. Before the surgery, local anesthesia is done. Finally, a small needle is inserted into the testicles to retrieve the sperms. The process may be done to both or just one testicle. It might take a couple of attempts to attain healthy sperms for the IVF cycle.

4. Fertilization

Insemination is a procedure where the eggs and sperms are mixed and incubated together. Once the egg becomes fertilized during the incubation, it is known as conventional insemination.

Whereas, if the sperm is not a good swimmer and could not attach to the egg on its own, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) is conducted. Healthy sperm is injected directly into the egg to complete the process of fertilization.

5. Embryo Culture

As the egg begins to fertilize. This then leads to the cells in the fertilized egg to divide and multiply, ultimately becoming an embryo.

It is a delicate process. Therefore the culture is monitored at all times.

6. Implantation

The procedure of transferring one or more embryos to the uterus is called implantation. It happens usually 2-5 days after the egg retrieval.

To conduct the procedure, the doctors use a flexible, thin, and long tube. The tube is inserted in the vagina through the cervix to the uterus. A syringe, at the end of the tube, contains the embryos. Finally, the embryos are then placed in the uterus. 

This procedure is often painless but some women prefer using a mild sedative.

7. Getting Pregnant

Successful implantation means that the embryo has inhibited the lining of the uterus. If more than one embryo inhabits the lining of the uterus it may result in multiple pregnancies like twins etc.

Your doctor will certainly consult you beforehand on how many embryos you would like to implant. Also, multiple embryo implantation depends on the quality and quantity of fertilized embryos.

The doctors might prescribe certain medications containing progesterone. Which is a pregnancy hormone that will help the embryo to survive in the uterus.

The IVF procedure may use your eggs and your partner’s sperms or donor egg or/and sperms. The donors are often anonymous. However, you can also choose your own donor.


What are the side effects?

It’s better to rest the day of the procedure but you can resume your daily routine the next day. Some women might experience some side effects such as:

  • Mild bloating
  • Mild cramping
  • Constipation
  • Tender breasts
  • Passing a small amount of clear or blood-tinged fluid
  • Headaches
  • infections

When to call your doctor

Alert your doctor immediately if you face the following symptoms after your IVF procedure:

  • Severe pelvic cramps
  • Heavy bleeding
  • High fever with body aches
  • Blood in urine

Success Rate of the Process

The success rate of the IVF procedure depends on the factors which include:

1. Maternal Age

Younger women have greater chances of a successful IVF procedure and hence delivering a healthy baby using their own embryos. As the women age, the eggs become weaker.

Moreover, it is often advisable for women who are over 40 years of age to use donor eggs instead of their own. It increases the success rate for their IVF procedure to improves their chances of getting pregnant.

2. Previous pregnancy history

Women who have a history of previous successful pregnancies are more likely to get pregnant using IVF as compared to the ones who have never conceived or given birth.  Also for the women who have tried IVF prior but didn’t get pregnant, the chances of succeeding through IVF decreases.

3. Quality of the embryos

The healthier the embryos are the more are the chances of their survival. Embryos are susceptible and fragile. Every embryo cannot survive through the tough process of IVF. Hence, Your doctor will guide you better depending on your medical status and the condition of the embryo.

4. Reasons for Infertility

Women who have a case of serious endometriosis are less likely to succeed with IVF. Thus, the success rate is more for women who have infertility issues like a damaged fallopian tube, sperm motility, unexplained infertility, or ovulation disorders.

The better the condition of the uterus and eggs the better are the chances of getting pregnant.

5. Lifestyle

The women who have an unsuited lifestyle for their bodies are less likely to get pregnant with the IVF procedure. As; smoking, alcohol, drugs, excessive caffeine, and obesity can lower the chances of getting pregnant. Moreover, with the consumption of certain medications, your chances of getting pregnant may decrease as well.


Results for IVF

The doctor will take your blood sample 12-15 days after the IVF procedure to detect the pregnancy.

  • With a positive pregnancy, the doctor will refer you to an ob-gyn or pregnancy specialist for prenatal care. For the next 8 weeks or so, you will continue the progesterone. Certainly, just in a couple of weeks, you will begin to experience early signs of pregnancy
  • Whereas. if the pregnancy results come negative. The doctors will stop the progesterone dosage. Soon after you stop the progesterone dosage, your menstruation cycle will return. The doctors may attempt a second cycle of the procedures after preparing your body to increase the chances of getting pregnant.

Besides, the IVF process can become a little difficult physically and emotionally. The news of not being pregnant after going through the whole IVF cycle can be very depressing and raises anxiety issues in many people.

Indeed, talking to people who have been through IVF procedures and reading informative articles will prepare your mind for all the possible outcomes.


How much does IVF Cost?

The cost of the IVF cycle may vary depending on the case of infertility, use of fresh or frozen embryos, and other ART techniques applied in combination with the IVF.

Despite the scenario, certain insurance companies do not cover any sort of fertility treatment. Therefore, if you are planning to go for the IVF procedure it’s best to speak with your insurance company first to ask about the coverage and restrictions of your policy.

Also, the United Kingdom offers one of the better IVF plans.  It starts with £ 2500 for a conventional IVF procedure.

And Saudi Arabia has recently approved an affordable IVF treatment package of 15,000 – 16,000 SAR. Several other countries like Spain, Turkey, Ukraine, the Czech Republic offer great packages for IVF treatment.