Assisted Reproductive Technologies, especially in-vitro fertilization or IVF, have grown exponentially. Not just for addressing concerns of infertility, IVF is becoming more mainstream among couples from the LGBTQIA+ community, individuals who want to conceive their baby as a single parent, and so on.
The choices are diverse but undergoing an IVF procedure is a stressful experience. Besides the financial terms, there are several other IVF doubts that most patients want clarification for.
What kind of discussion should you have with the specialist? Should you enquire about the success rates of the individual procedures? The inquiries are diverse.
To put your mind at ease and make the process a lot more streamlined, we have sorted out the most common questions and inquiries you should get your answers to before an IVF procedure.
In this Article
- 1 When should you Consider IVF?
- 2 How to Find the right IVF Doctor?
- 3 Questions to Ask Your Doctor before IVF Treatment
- 3.1 1. Can you explain the overall IVF procedure before I ask selective questions?
- 3.2 2. What is the success rate of IVF in your clinic?
- 3.3 3. What is the treatment approach?
- 3.4 4. What kind of tests and medications will I be on?
- 3.5 5. How many eggs are retrieved during the procedure?
- 3.6 6. What kind of costs can I expect?
- 3.7 7. Does IVF always lead to twin pregnancy?
- 3.8 8. Will any pre-existing health complications affect my IVF success rate?
- 4 Conclusion
When should you Consider IVF?
Choosing IVF for pregnancy is primarily associated with infertility treatment. And, that is true. The majority of the IVF procedures done globally address infertility concerns. The treatment is often suggested as the next step after a failed intrauterine insemination in an infertile couple.
IVF is ideal for overcoming both male and female factor infertility. Poor semen quality, lack of sperm motility, older age, poor ovarian reserve, tubal obstruction, etc., need an IVF intervention.
Since IVF is an expensive procedure, fertility specialists often keep it as a last resort. The initial steps involve thorough testing, assessing medical history, looking into ongoing medications, physical and mental well-being, etc. Only when the doctors find issues that aren’t treatable with lifestyle changes or staple medications do they advise IVF.
Besides infertility, IVF is also a common consideration among same-sex couples. It is also a potent recommendation for individuals who want to become single parents with donors or surrogacy.
How to Find the right IVF Doctor?
Choosing the right fertility specialist for your treatment is crucial. From the doctor’s experience to their success rates, there are several factors you have to consider.
Ideally, we’d recommend keeping track of the following checklist when looking for the best IVF doctor.
Online research – Since the internet is so resourceful, start your research online. You can check through the list of available specialists in your area, assess their credibility, and read the reviews. Looking up online also gives you a rough estimate of the involved costs.
Location – once you start your IVF treatment, you’d need to visit the clinic or the hospital quite frequently. So, unless you have the means to travel for long distances or to other states, we’d recommend looking into local facilities. In some instances, you might need to visit 1-2 times each week for tests, ultrasounds, and consultation. So, be mindful of the location of your specialist too.
Types of technology used – IVF is becoming more and more refined each day. What started as a manual procedure now involves the latest medical technologies like pre-implantation genetic screening (PGCS) and cryo-preservation. Ensure that the specialist you consult uses the latest medical technologies.
Certification and experience – in India, ensure that your fertility specialist is registered under ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research Board). This isn’t an exception but a necessity to prioritize. If your doctor isn’t qualified and experienced, it will lead to an unsuccessful IVF trial and further complications.
Additional services – although not mandatory in every clinic, try to look for specialists who work closely with counselors to help work through the panic, stress, and the challenges of a taxing procedure like IVF.
Questions to Ask Your Doctor before IVF Treatment
IVF is not a routine procedure that everyone undergoes once in their lives. It is quite an exclusive procedure, with very little awareness in society. So, when you go for your first appointment, being clueless about everything is normal.
For better clarifications, make a list of the following questions to ask your specialist.
1. Can you explain the overall IVF procedure before I ask selective questions?
Even before you lay down the myriad of questions before your doctor, you need to understand the procedure first. This is the first step in your initial consultation with the specialist.
Remember that before the doctor advises you to undergo the IVF treatment, they need a detailed understanding of:
- Why do you want to undergo IVF?
- What is your current physical health?
- Are you mentally prepared for the procedure?
- What are the reproductive health of you and your partner?
- Do you want to undergo surrogacy or donor-based IVF procedures?
Based on these questions, your doctor will explain the overall procedure in detail. They will also prescribe a few routine tests before advising any further treatment.
2. What is the success rate of IVF in your clinic?
It is one thing to research the IVF success rates on Google and getting standard statistics. You need to get your facts and figures straight before starting your treatment.
Knowing the success rate and seeing the written testimonials of that adds to the specialist’s credibility and ensures that you are in the right hands.
If a doctor hesitates to disclose their success rates or fails to showcase the ratio of successful fertilization to live births in their clinic/hospital, we recommend stepping away.
3. What is the treatment approach?
As we mentioned in the previous sub-heading, IVF is more advanced now. So, ensure that the specialist works with well-equipped treatment rooms using the latest technologies like PGCS and cryo-preservation.
Also, clarify the timeline for the overall treatment during this question. IVF is a highly subjective procedure. So, there is no “standard” timeline. But, your doctor should give you a projection about the timeline to prepare accordingly.
4. What kind of tests and medications will I be on?
IVF involves a lot of rigorous testing, both for female and male patients. The female patient also has to take assistive medications to support follicle maturity and ovulation.
So, ideally, ensure that you discuss all the involved tests and the medicines you will have to take throughout the procedure. Also, if you are taking medicines for any chronic disease, discuss that with your doctor.
5. How many eggs are retrieved during the procedure?
The egg retrieval process from the female patient is a crucial marker in the IVF procedure. Unless you already have your eggs frozen, we’d recommend asking your doctor how many eggs they retrieve per cycle.
Knowing this enables you to prepare for the future. If the first cycle is not successful, you should have enough ovarian reserve for another IVF attempt. Remember that the number of retrieved eggs majorly depends on the female patient’s age.
6. What kind of costs can I expect?
IVF is expensive. There is no doubt about it. Irrespective of the country, any type of assistive reproductive technique is expensive.
So, when you are discussing the treatment with your doctor, ask them about the involved costs. Not just the actual IVF cycle, but inquire about the costs associated with testing and the medications you will have to take.
Also, discuss things prior with your insurance provider to ensure that the costs will be covered under the premiums. Otherwise, you’d have to pay a large sum out of your pocket.
7. Does IVF always lead to twin pregnancy?
One of the main concerns couples have with IVF is thinking that it always leads to twin pregnancies. Typically, the chances of twin pregnancy through IVF are between 30-and 35%.
However, we’d still recommend that you get detailed clarifications about the same from your doctor to rule out any questions that you have in your mind.
8. Will any pre-existing health complications affect my IVF success rate?
Chronic diseases and medications often bring a lot of side effects with them. So, when you are undergoing an IVF procedure, always enquire if any of your pre-existing conditions will lead to further complications or not.
When your doctor looks through your medical history, they should give you a detailed answer about any possible risks or side effects.
Once you have all the answers to your IVF doubts, it is time to embark on this journey. Book your appointments, sort out the finances and prepare yourself mentally for this journey. Always focus on getting personalized treatment plans for yourself for a higher success rate.