During IVF, an egg is collected from the woman’s ovaries to be fertilized with sperm in a laboratory petri dish. The result, called the embryo, in then implanted into the woman’s uterus.
Who can undergo IVF?
IVF might be recommended as an alternative to other treatments that have failed, for instance, following 12 unsuccessful cycles of artificial insemination (intrauterine insemination or IUI). Those who have been trying to conceive naturally (via unprotected sex) for two years without getting pregnant might also be advised to consider in vitro fertilisation.Furthermore, IVF and egg donation are also beneficial to those who want a baby but are currently unable to conceive due to:• Irregular periods• Premature ovarian failure (this is usually due to genetic disorders)• Being over 40 and therefore have gone or are going through menopause• Previously failed attempts to conceive.In most cases, in vitro fertilisation is not recommended for women over 43, as the chances of becoming pregnant are considered too low at this age.
How does the IVF procedure work?
To improve the success rate, it is recommended that the patient undergoes a series of tests conducted by their GP to ensure that their body is capable of pregnancy.
The examination includes checking that the uterus tissues are not deformed, as this prevents eggs from implanting.Once all the tests and screening have been carried out, the fertility treatment can start. The IVF process has six main stages:
1. A medical treatment is used to suppress the natural (menstrual) cycle of the woman. This can either be administered by a daily injection or nasal spray.
2. A fertility hormone is given to the participant to increase the number of eggs produced by her ovaries.
3. Via an ultrasound scan, medical staff check the development of the woman’s eggs. They can give her medication to help them mature.
4. The eggs are collected from the woman’s ovaries using a needle.
5. Collected eggs are then fertilised with sperm. This stage can last for a few days.
6. One or two embryos are transferred into the woman’s womb.
After the last stage, the recipient must wait for two weeks before she can perform a pregnancy test to know if the treatment was successful.
How much does IVF cost?
The cost of this fertility treatment may vary according to the clinic as well as the couple’s specific fertility issues. The price also depends on the number of cycles of treatment performed and whether the couple require egg and/or sperm donation. Nonetheless, recipients can expect to pay around £5,000 per cycle of in vitro fertilisation.
How successful is this method?
The short answer to this question is that it depends on a number of variables. Factors that can affect the success include:
• The age of the donor
• The number of embryos transferred
• The donor’s egg quantity and quality
• The quality of the patient’s uterine lining
• The experience of the centre handling the procedure
• The age of the recipient. Chances of success are higher for younger women and very low for women over the age of 44
• If known, the cause of infertility of the recipient.
Having a healthy lifestyle, avoiding alcohol and tobacco and reducing the consumption of caffeinated beverages during treatment may all help you to improve the odds of becoming pregnant.
According to the NHS, in 2010, the success rates for pregnancy via IVF were:
• 32.2%: For women under 35
• 27.7% : For women between the ages of 35-37
• 20.8%: For women between the ages of 38-39
• 13.6% : For women between the ages of 40-42
• 5% : For women between the ages of 43-44
• 1.9% : For women over 44
Who can donate eggs?
Women who decide to donate their eggs must meet certain criteria:
•They should be aged 36 or under (in most clinics).
•They must be healthy. Before they donate their eggs, donors undergo a series of tests to ensure that they won’t transmit any diseases or abnormalities to the child.
•Donors must give their written consent before the start of the treatment. However, they are able to change or withdraw their consent any time up until the eggs are used during IVF.
What tests do egg donors undergo?
It is crucial to ensure you are healthy enough to donate. A doctor will perform the following tests and checks before accepting eggs:
• Blood checks which determine your blood group as well as blood count and any present diseases
• STI tests including HIV, Hepatitis B and C, and Syphilis
• Cystic fibrosis testing
• A thorough background check of the donor and her family
• Hormone levels, to ensure that eggs are healthy enough
• Psychological counselling
How much compensation can an egg donor expect?
In the UK, egg donors are compensated for their donation. They can expect to receive up to £750 per cycle of donation as compensation to cover any financial losses they may have incurred during the process. Higher expenses, such as those for accommodation, travelling or childcare can also be claimed for.Donors who are non-permanent residents of the UK also have the right to claim compensation. However, any overseas travel expenses will not be reimbursed.
What about egg sharing?
When a woman undergoes fertility treatment (artificial insemination or in vitro fertilisation), she might be given the option to donate some of her spare eggs to the clinic. In exchange, the cost of her treatment might be reduced.These eggs are shared with other women who need them, for instance, for IVF treatment. The criteria that sharers must meet for donation are the same as those for egg donors.
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