How IVF Works and What You Should Know About It

In-vitro fertilisation, known colloquially as IVF, is a common way to treat couples that are having trouble getting pregnant. It is really the most successful treatment for infertility caused by conditions like Endometriosis and low sperm count. However, it is also a time-consuming method of getting pregnant that does not always have the happy ending that patients are seeking.

What exactly is in-vitro fertilisation?

When a woman gets pregnant without intervention, sperm enters her body and seeks an egg. When it finds an egg and is able to fertilise it, pregnancy will often occur. This is the main step of becoming pregnant that changes in IVF. During IVF, doctors make this part happen in a lab. This means they need eggs and sperm.


Part of the process is the removal of a woman’s eggs. This is done surgically and typically after a round of drugs that increase egg production. After the removal, the eggs are carefully handled in a laboratory where they are introduced to the chosen sperm. Once a sperm successfully fertilises an egg, it is then placed in the womb. If successful, it will find a home in the lining of the uterus, attach and start growing into a fetus. This will take about one month to seven weeks.

Sadly, infertility is not easy to treat, even with the help of a team of doctors. IVF is a wonderful chance at pregnancy, but it is far from a guarantee. The high end of statistics on the topic shows that only a quarter of women who do IVF wind up giving birth and that is the optimistic number. As such, it is important to remember that IVF can be hard on those who undergo it because it can be disappointing. Individuals opting for such treatment should prepare ahead of time and maybe even get counseling during the process.

Problems associated with in-vitro fertilisation

IVF is a great option for hopeful parents, but it does have potential complications.

One of the most commonly noted side effects of IVF is multiples. It is a popular topic on television, especially when it comes to sensational cases of five or more children. The reason for this is that doctors introduce several embryos to the uterus to increase a woman’s chances of becoming pregnant. This also increases her changes of getting pregnant with more than one child. This may seem like a blessing to parents who could not even get pregnant with one child, but multiple pregnancies come with a slew of risks on their own. Given that women who go for IVF may be past the youthful years where pregnancy is most successful, multiples for IVF patients is often a bad thing.

As with any medical procedure that requires puncture of the skin, infection is possible. It is important to note that this is not at all common in clean medical environments. Anyone who is going in for this or any other procedure should do a quick check of the office. If it does not seem clean, do not get treatment there.