What is IVF? How in vitro fertilization works and what to expect

Dear Dr. Manny,

What are the steps behind IVF? How much would it cost? How long does it take to get pregnant with IVF?

Thanks for your question.

In vitro fertilization happens in five steps. Medication to stimulate healthy egg growth in the woman is the first step. Hormones are injected to help her produce more eggs in a month than she normally would. It creates between 10 and 15 eggs.

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The eggs are then scraped through a minor surgery and collected. Sperm from the male partner is taken on the same day.

The egg and sperm are then combined in a lab through various technologies to achieve fertilization of the eggs. The embryos are monitored as the embryologists watch the cells split.

Then the embryo is transferred over to the uterus. After 10 days, the woman takes a test to see if she’s pregnant.

The national average for IVF is $12,000 per round. It varies by state, in some places costing as much as $15,000 per round. It is costly because it may take multiple rounds to get pregnant. In some places, health insurance helps with the cost.

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The success rate of IVF depends on the age of the woman. Those under 35 have a 41 percent chance of getting pregnant. Those between 35-37 have a 33 percent chance. Those between 38-40 have a 23 percent chance, while those over 40 have a 13 percent chance.

Some of the side effects of IVF include cramping, bloating, constipation, breast tenderness and headaches. Moodiness and abdominal pain can also happen.

The egg retrieval comes with a risk of infection, bleeding and damage to the bowel. A 5 percent risk of an ectopic pregnancy is also a part of IVF.

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To make sure IVF is the right option for you, be sure to talk with your doctor and do additional research before deciding to do it.

Do you have a health question for Dr. Manny? Email us at AskDrManny@FoxNews.com