Some people fall pregnant very easily while others may struggle. There are a number of steps that must be taken before at arriving at IVF as a solution, such as seeing your GP and being referred to a specialist for fertility investigations, treatment and advice. Sometimes however IVF appears to be the best choice for some women who are struggling to get pregnant on their own.
While IVF is a method through which women may conceive the success rates are lower than many realise. According to the NHS, the success rate details released for 2010 showed that number of women who successfully conceived and gave birth to a live baby after IVF who were under 35 years old was 32.3%, falling to 27.7% for women between 35 and 37 years old and dropping significantly the older a woman became, with the success rates for women aged 44yrs+ being just 1.9%.
While these figures are far from encouraging to someone with their heart set on having a baby it is important to consider them when making your decision regarding whether IVF is best for you.
Lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, stopping smoking and more are advised when trying to conceive to increase the likelihood of success, particularly when undertaking IVF. This is something that you might want to start thinking about.
What is IVF
IVF or In vitro fertilisation is a medical technique through which an egg is removed from the ovary and then exposed to and fertilised by a sperm under lab conditions. Once the egg has been fertilised it may then be implanted into the female’s womb in order to hopefully continue to grow and develop.
IVF may also be useful to those with fertility issues such as a poor sperm count or few eggs as donor eggs and sperm may also be used.
Is it Available on the NHS?
This is something of a burning question. The short answer is yes while the full answer would be “maybe” and “it depends on your individual circumstances”. In some areas, provided that you are in good health and meet the age criteria (between 23 and 39yrs), have been trying to conceive unsuccessfully for three years and /or have been diagnosed with a fertility issue the NICE guidelines suggest that a woman should be eligible for three “rounds” of NHS treatment. Local area Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are responsible for authorising IVF treatment on the NHS in their area and some CCGs have additional rules, such as not having other children, being within a certain BMI range, not smoking etc.
If you are unable to receive treatment via the NHS due to not meeting one of more of the criteria you could consider private IVF treatment although this is expensive.
For more information on NHS funded and private IVF visit the NHS webpage here.
IVF treatment is an involved process which can be very emotional, especially if there are disappointments involved and it is important that when undertaking these treatments that you have a strong support network in place, both from a clinical point of view and friends and family.
Speak to your GP or fertility consultant about support groups to find local meetings, and to discover other sources of support open to you which may help you when making the decision to attempt IVF, through the process and afterwards.
Here at Dream Bear we are also on hand when it comes to offering guidance and support, fostering a community of parents and parents to be, all of whom are here to share experiences, advice and knowledge. Our aim is to ensure that no-one is ever alone or in the dark when it comes to making decisions about or dealing with issues such as IVF.