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If you cannot make a baby in your bedroom, the IVF lab offers you your best option. You need to factor in variables like time, efficiency, expense, and hassle factorso that you can choose what works best for you.

All infertile couples know that IVF offers them the best chance at having a baby. However, many still find it hard to understand why the pregnancy rate with IVF is not 100% ! " Doctor, you are actually making the embryos in the lab and then putting them in my uterus. My uterus is perfectly fine , so why is the IVF success rate only 45% per cycle ? "

How does IVF help to improve reproductive efficiency?

  • IVF allows us to do what is not happening naturally in the bedroom for the infertile couple
  • It allows us to telescope time, because we superovulate you and help you to grow many eggs
  • Thus, instead of having just one mature egg each month, we now have many mature eggs in the petri dish. ( Please remember that these are the eggs which would have otherwise naturally died, so that IVF treatment has no adverse effect on your future fertility or your menstrual cycles)
  • Along with helping you make more efficient use of your time, IVF also helps us to ensure that your eggs and sperm are meeting !
  • With IVF, we can ensure that fertilisation occurs in vitro, so that we have helped you to overcome the many biological hurdles which normally occur in vivo !

Embryos aren't babies 

However , while we are very good at making embryos in the IVF lab, the fact is that an embryo is not a baby! Once we transfer the embryos back into the uterus, you still have to overcome the biological enigma of implantation. This is a biological process which is inefficient, and we cannot regulate this !

While this is very frustrating ( for both patient and doctor), our inability to do so is not very surprising. After all, how do we follow the fate of a microscopic ball of cells once we transfer this into the uterus ? We do know that most embryos do not become babies, because even perfect looking embryos have genetic defects .

A defense mechanism 

In fact, failed implantation is actually Nature's defense mechanism, to prevent the birth of an abnormal baby. While these defects are often random, they are commoner in older women. This is because the eggs of older women have more genetically abnormalities, because they have "aged".

Making babies is much more fun in the bedroom. However, if you find that it's no longer fun - and that sex has now become a baby-making chore, you might want to seek assistance and consider treatment !

As with everything in life, the clinic vs bedroom option does represent a dilemma - and you need to factor in the variables ( time; efficiency; expense; hassle factor) involved, so you can choose what works best for you !

Having realistic expectations 

IVF is much more costly - but it's also much more efficient ! And while it's true that treatment is expensive, a baby is priceless !

The important thing is to continue to have realistic expectations, so that no matter what the outcome , you have control over the process, and thus achieve peace of mind you did your best ! What more can a human being ask for ?

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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