Anyone who wishes to have a child is a candidate for IVF, though the genetic mother and father may differ from the intended parent. Typically, same or opposite-sex couples who are unable to get pregnant naturally have been the main recipients of IVF treatment, with or without a surrogate. Being unable to get pregnant may result from incompatible reproductive organs (same-sex couples) or fertility issues in an opposite-sex relationship.
IVF will likely not work for women whose ovaries do not produce healthy eggs. Women older than 37 may have a reduced chance of getting pregnant with IVF if they use their own eggs. Women over 40 have a greater chance of miscarriage, and women with fibroid tumors, abnormal hormone levels, or uterine abnormalities may have a lower rate of successful pregnancy after IVF.
Preparation for the process differs if you are planning to donate your own eggs and/or sperm or if you are using donor eggs and/or sperm. Egg donation is a physically taxing, outpatient process involving hormonal injections to stimulate follicle formation and ovulation. Similarly, embryo transfer is an outpatient procedure that also requires preparation with ingestion, injection or other means of supplementing the surrogate or intended mother with hormones to prepare the body for embryo implantation. Generally, one or both intended parents undergo some form of reproductive technology counseling to help guide decision-making and maintain realistic expectations of successful pregnancy given risk factors and other information.
The day of embryo transfer, the intended mother or the surrogate will be asked to drink a specific amount of liquid 30-40 minutes ahead of the procedure, as a full bladder is necessary for the transfer.
From ovarian stimulation and egg donation, recovery time can vary depending on the egg donor, ranging from a few days to a month, when the regular menstrual cycle resumes again. Pain from the egg retrieval procedure can be relieved with over-the-counter pain medication. During the process, the egg donor may receive reproductive counseling about the process. There is relatively little recovery time associated with embryo transfer, though this may vary from person to person
Risks of ovarian stimulation and egg donation
Although long-term studies of egg donation have not been completed due to the novelty of the procedure, known risks of ovarian stimulation and egg donation include hormonal side effects of the injections such as moderate weight gain, mood changes, stomach pressure, and headaches. Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), which has a 5% chance of occurring with every donation cycle, can also occur and manifests as enlarged ovaries, increased probability of blood clots, development of fluid in the abdomen or lungs. In more extreme cases, it may require hospitalization and surgery.
During egg retrieval, there are risks of bleeding, infection, discomfort, bladder perforation, or blood vessel injury, though these risks are relatively low. Since egg retrieval is performed under anesthesia, there are also risks related to general anesthesia.
Risks of embryo transfer
The hormones used to prepare the uterus for embryo transfer and the process of transfer itself are associated with a higher incidence of multiple gestation, ectopic (tubal) pregnancies, and ovarian twisting.
$12,000-$15,000 (per cycle of egg donation and embryo transfer, not counting if using surrogate, or egg and/or sperm donor)