It’s safe to say there are too many acronyms to keep track of in the world. Even so, it’s time to add another one to your acronym bank. 

ART stands for assisted reproductive technology and it encompasses a whole range of treatments and procedures, such as: IVF, artificial insemination, GIFT, ZIFT, surrogacy, IUI, ICSI, egg donors, donor embryos, MRT and more.

If you’re not familiar with all of them, don’t worry. It takes a whole day just to memorize all of the different names. 

With this article, we’re going to be focusing on one of the more popular ART methods: IVF. If you are your partner have decided to go the IVF route, read this article first to see all the pros and cons of the treatment before you can bring your baby into the world

What is IVF?

First things first, let’s start with what IVF is. IVF stands for in vitro fertilization and the process involves fertilization taking place outside of the body. In a lab, the egg and sperm are combined in vitro (in glass) before being reinserted back into the woman’s uterus.

While the process may seem like an easy plug-and-play mix, it actually takes months and months. Doctors most monitor the woman’s cycle, remove an egg at the right time, have the egg undergo embryo culture for a few days and then finally be reinserted.

IVF has been around for just over 40 years now, with the first successful IVF birth having taken place back in 1978 in Oldham, England. First described as a test tube baby, the procedure began gaining more and more popularity over time to where it is one of the top procedures today.

Now that we have a little bit of backstory and knowledge, let’s dive into the pros and cons list of IVF.

Pro #1-Helps Overcome Difficult Infertility Issues

IVF is mainly used for those who have had infertility issues. One of those issues is a blocked or damaged fallopian tube. These issues can arise from infection or STDs and usually result in infertility.

IVF is the only possible treatment for this issue, as it works around the tubes for a successful implantation.

It can also help with issues of male infertility, where the male’s sperm is not strong enough for successful conception. IVF, in a way, takes out the “swimming” part of the sperm and insert it directly into the egg.

Pro #2-Low Chance of Baby Abnormality

With potential conception taking place in a lab, doctors are able to locate any potential issues with the baby and are able to reduce the chances of the baby being born with a certain condition. These procedures are called PGD and CGH.

Pro #3-High Success Rate

IVF, compared to other procedures, has a decently high success rate. While the average for all women is around 25-30%, it is higher for women under the age of 30. For women over the age of 35, the chances go down but are still relatively high.

It may take a few cycles for IVF to be a success, usually 2-3 for each woman.

Con #1-No Reaction

Sometimes, just like any other conception method, the treatment won’t work. You may not have any reaction to the treatment. It could be need for more medication or less medication, it can be hard to tell at the beginning.

There could also be similar issues like implantation failure or fertilization failure. 

Con #2-Multiple Pregnancy

While you might be thinking that you were expecting one child but receiving two would be a blessing, but it can be a risk to mothers. Having two pregnancies at the same time can be taxing on the mother’s body, especially since only one embryo is supposed to be inserted at one time.

Overall, it is considered a negative outcome to IVF treatment.

Con #3-Cost

As with other ART methods, IVF can be pretty expensive. Costs can range anywhere form $8000-$15000 per cycle and it takes the average woman a few times for IVF to be a success.

IVF is usually not covered by insurance either, meaning you will probably be paying for the full treatment out of pocket. 

Cite this article as:
Editorial Staff, "IVF 123: The Pros and Cons of IVF Treatment," in Medicalopedia, September 5, 2019, [Permalink: https://www.medicalopedia.org/7747/ivf-123-the-pros-and-cons-of-ivf-treatment/].