Did you know?
IVF, or in-vitro fertilization, is one of the most common fertility treatments. It uses a combination of surgical procedures and medicines to help sperm fertilize an egg outside of the human body then transfer the embryo into the woman’s uterus. Today, IVF is one of the most commonly used treatments to improve your chances of pregnancy.
The Stages of IVF Treatment
Ovarian Stimulation and Injections
Ovarian Stimulation and Injections
1. To improve your chances of conceiving, it’s important to make sure your body will mature more than one egg. So the beginning of the IVF journey involves multiple injections of stimulating hormones. The process occurs at the beginning of your menstrual cycle and continues for 8 to 14 days.
2. 35 to 36 hours after your last injection, you’ll undergo egg retrieval. The doctor will locate the follicles in the ovary by inserting the ultrasound probe into the vagina. Once the ovary is located, a hollow needle is inserted through the vaginal wall to retrieve the eggs. The procedure takes approximately 20 to 25 minutes.
3. Your partner will be instructed to provide a semen sample on the day of your egg retrieval. Alternatively, some patients may need to have sperm aspirated directly from the testicle or may use a sperm donor instead. After the semen is collected, we perform a sperm-washing process that separates the sperm from the seminal fluid.
4. This step occurs on the same day as your egg retrieval and sperm collection. Whether through conventional fertilization or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), confirmation of successful fertilization occurs by the next day. The fertilized eggs are then incubated for 5 or 6 days in the lab.
5. Despite what you may think, the embryo transfer is relatively painless. It takes about five minutes and requires a full bladder so that ultrasound guidance can be utilized. If the procedure is successful, there should be a pregnancy within 6-10 days after the egg retrieval. A pregnancy test is ordered about 12 to 14 days following your embryo transfer.
How Much Does IVF Cost?
Canadian IVF treatment costs anywhere from $10,000 to $15,000 per cycle. With the added costs of fertility drugs, tests, and consultations, the price can reach upwards of $20,000.
There is funding for IVF from the government through the Ontario Fertility Program. Regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or family status, access to this funding is available for all forms of infertility.
The Ontario government offers 1 cycle of IVF per lifetime for every woman in Ontario who has a valid health card (OHIP), and is under the age of 43 years. This includes cycle monitoring, egg retrieval, standard fertilization and/or ICSI, assisted hatching, embryo transfer(s), and embryo freezing. It does not cover the costs of medications leading up to the egg retrieval or a frozen embryo transfer, nor does it cover the cost of embryo storage.
Who is IVF for?
IVF can be a fertility treatment option for a wide range of women and couples trying to conceive, including:
- Those who have been unsuccessful with intrauterine insemination (IUI)
- If egg quality/quantity is reduced
- If sperm quantity/quality is reduced
- If the Fallopian tubes are blocked
- Those wishing to avoid passing on a specific genetic mutation
- Those with recurrent pregnancy loss (miscarriage)
- Cancer survivors
- Those using an egg donor or gestational carrier
- If using one’s previously frozen eggs
- Those who are single or part of the LGBTQIS2+ community, and are planning to start a family using a surrogate.
Dr. Tanya Williams Fertility Centre IVF FAQ
What are some common causes of infertility that IVF helps treat?
Some common causes of infertility that IVF can be used to treat include:
- Fallopian tube damage
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Premature ovarian failure
- Uterine fibroids
- Male factor infertility
What are the success rates of IVF?
The success rates of IVF will depend largely on various factors, including the cause of infertility, age of the parents (particularly the woman) trying to conceive, and the clinic performing the procedure. However, according to the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society, in 2016, there were 16,852 IVF cycles, and out of these, 2,438 pregnancies were achieved.
The clinical pregnancy rates per embryo transfer women can expect are:
- 41% for women under 35 years old.
- 34% for women aged 35-37 years.
- 24% for women aged 38-40.
- 11% for women aged 41-42.
- 6% for women 40 years old and over.
How many IVF cycles are recommended?
Whether you are planning to undergo IVF for the first time or have already experienced an unsuccessful IVF cycle, it’s recommended to try at least three IVF cycles.
Studies found that women who conceived with IVF treatment went through an average of 2.7 cycles. After three IVF cycles, the pregnancy rates for women of all ages were between 34 and 42 percent.
What are the side effects of IVF?
Different stages of the IVF process may be associated with side effects, as with any medical procedure. The most common side effects are associated with IVF injections in the early stages, such as:
- Soreness and/or bruising at the injection site
- Breast soreness
- Mood swings
- Abdominal pain
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
The risks of the egg retrieval procedure include:
- Injury to surrounding structures e.g. bladder and rectum
- ● Your fertility specialist can answer any questions or concerns you have about IVF risks and walk you through the side effects.
IVF Resources and Articles
Ready to Begin Your Fertility Journey?
Dr. Tanya Williams Fertility Centre has almost thirty years of Infertility and Reproductive Endocrinology experience. No matter where you are on your path to pregnancy, we’re here to support your journey towards a healthy, thriving family.
To explore our full list of fertility treatment services, book a consultation with our Toronto IVF clinic today.