IVF. What next?

Assisted reproduction treatment is no easy option. The couple or woman may have to undergo a number of disappointing failed attempts. Despite the hopes pinned on the ‘last treatment’, medical experts have a duty to advise and orientate their patients on the most suitable treatment.

What should people do if IVF treatment is unsuccessful, and how should they decide whether to use a different technique?

IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) is a laboratory process in which eggs extracted from the affected person, following a prior ovarian stimulation process, are then joined together with sperm for fertilisation. However, the stimulation process is not always successful and there are predetermining conditions which enable doctors to predict treatment results:

Age: IVF treatment is recommended for women aged 37-42, with an infertility diagnosis. For people aged under 37, the problem diagnosed will determine whether they should undergo artificial insemination or in-vitro fertilisation directly. It will be difficult for people aged 42 and over to become pregnant using their own eggs.

– Hormonal levels: generally IVF treatment has a lower success rate if FSH levels are greater than 10UI/l and/or estradiol levels are greater than 80 pg/ ml at the beginning of the cycle

– Complete unresponsiveness to ovarian stimulation after various attempts

– Other factors: polycystic ovaries or immunological conditions may reduce success rates

IVF

Women that are borderline cases should decide whether to undergo a final attempt before looking into alternatives. This decision, linked to certain medical criteria, is a psychological strain; before undergoing the final attempt at IVF treatment, the affected person should mentally prepare themselves for the likelihood that that they won’t be able to have children using their own gametes. Accepting this is important so that people don’t later regret their decision to undergo treatment.

The options available after IVF treatment depend on the infertility diagnosis and what the affected person wants. These include adoption, deciding not to have children or surrogacy. Other options offered by the fertility clinic are listed below:

Gamete donation: The fertilisation problems a couple experiences may be related to poor egg or sperm quality. That is why sperm or egg donation from a young and fertile donor helps to create good quality embryos, which can lead to a better outcome of treatment.

Embryo donation: this consists in adopting embryos donated by former patients who have already undergone treatment and who have decided to donate the remaining embryos, providing they meet legal requirements. Usually couples who choose to donate their embryos have already had one or more children.

Current scientific advances provide increasing hope for the success for IVF treatment, as a result of techniques such as ICSI, MACS, or using the EmbryoScope, which have raised the likelihood of success.

At ProcreaTec, people are always treated with honesty and objectivity. Following a comprehensive diagnosis, the affected person will be offered consultation to ensure that they have understood all their options, the likelihood of success, and the risks and consequences that treatment might entail.

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