Once you’ve made the decision to use in vitro fertilization to achieve pregnancy, what can you do to dramatically increase your odds of success? There are several steps you can take to make sure you are doing all that you can to increase your chances of getting pregnant with IVF, and help keep your sanity during an extraordinarily stressful time.
Research Your Expert and their Lab
Not all doctors have the same experience and training. For IVF, you’re going to want a specialist – and not just a gynecologist. Find a Reproductive Endocrinologist who specializes only in IVF. You want this to be the primary focus of the practice, not something they dabble with on the side. Set up a consultation with the specialist and ask questions that relate specifically to the doctor’s history and training, the doctor’s success rate with patients with a diagnosis that is similar to yours, and ask about their lab. Talk to the doctor to get a sense of his or her philosophy on IVF and the options that you will encounter.
Do Your Own Research on Techniques and Associated Pros and Cons
There are many Web sites that give details and success rates on all of the current IVF procedures, the background research and risks involved to both the mother and the future children the procedures may produce. Before meeting with your specialist, make sure you are aware of all of the current techniques, newest drugs, and research on IVF so that you can ask better questions that will help you decide which route to take.
Know Your Limits
Your doctor will determine how many embryos to return to your uterus based on the success rate of the practice to achieve one pregnancy with one fetus. You, on the other hand, need to determine how many children you are prepared to carry and deliver. Are you prepared to be the parent of quads? If four embryos are returned and each becomes a viable pregnancy, and you do not want to parent quads, are you willing to undergo selective reduction? What if you are OK with quads, what will you do if one or more embryo develops into twins? Know what you can and cannot handle before the decision is made of how many embryos to return. You’ll sleep better and will relieve a lot of unnecessary stress.
Evaluate the In Vitro Costs and Your Insurance Coverage
Not every insurance plan covers infertility, especially in vitro fertilization. Know your plan, have a thorough understanding of your coverage so that you know exactly what will and will not be covered. Some states require insurance companies to cover in vitro costs, so check into the laws for your state to see where you stand. In vitro fertilization is an expensive procedure that includes prescription drugs (hormones) to induce egg production, drugs to delay ovulation and drugs to provide an environment suitable to maintain a pregnancy. There are many office visits during the IVF cycle that include ultrasounds to check on follicle activity, blood tests and then the invasive procedure of harvesting the eggs. Since these costs can run between $10,000 to $20,000 and more, it’s prudent to understand your financial responsibility.