In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a sophisticated series of procedures used to treat fertility or genetic problems and assist with the conception of a child. IVF is the most effective form of assisted reproductive technology.
During IVF, mature eggs are collected (retrieved) from your ovaries and fertilized by sperm in a lab. Then the fertilized egg (embryo) or eggs are implanted in your uterus. This process requires preparation and usually takes at least 8-11 days. The procedure can be done using your own eggs and your partner’s sperm. Or IVF may involve eggs, sperm or embryos from a known or anonymous donor. In some cases, a gestational carrier — a woman who has an embryo implanted in her uterus — might be used.
While, in general, chances of success with IVF are excellent, your chances of having a healthy baby using IVF depend on many factors, such as your age and the cause of infertility. There are additional factors that must be considered including time, cost and the need for significant intervention. If more than one embryo is implanted in your uterus, IVF can result in a pregnancy with more than one fetus (multiple pregnancy). Your doctor can help you understand how IVF works, the potential risks and whether this method of treating infertility is right for you.