With women planning later pregnancies these days, fertility might pose a problem after a certain age. Couples may opt for different fertility treatments and In-vitro Fertilization (IVF) is one that is becoming relatively common. It is a journey and combined effort that involves both you and your spouse. Here are eight facts about IVF that you should know if you are looking to go through the procedure:
- Age and fertility are closely linked. A woman’s fertility peaks in her early 20s and after 35 years of age, the fall in fertility is relatively steep, which coincides with an increased risk of chromosomal abnormalities and miscarriage.
- Infertility currently affects 15% of Singaporeans.
- The success rates of IVF in Singapore are an overall of 55%, as provided by statistics from Virtus Fertility Centre in Singapore. They reported success rates as high as 64% among women aged 30-34, 53% among 35-39 years old and 22% for women aged 40 or older.
- In a recognition of the trend towards late marriages, the Ministry of Health has increased the funding that couples can receive to defray the cost of using Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). Since the start of 2013, eligible couples seeking ART treatment in public hospitals can receive up to 75% in co-funding from the government for a maximum of three fresh and three frozen cycles. Fresh cycles involve the transfer of fresh embryos into women, while frozen cycles involve the transfer of frozen-thawed embryos.
- IVF pregnancies can become ectopic. Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. Typically, ectopic (or tubal) pregnancies occur in the fallopian tubes although they can take place elsewhere. Ectopic pregnancies are more common with IVF (2% – 5%) with IVF than with natural conceptions (1% – 2.5%).
- The common myth is that men should abstain from ejaculation two to three days prior to an IVF cycle to increase sperm count but this is not true. In fact, frequent ejaculation in the days leading up to collecting your sperm sample can result in better sperm motility and morphology.
- Your lifestyle affects your pregnancy outcomes. Eating a rich diet of protein and vegetables will improve embryo quality, abstaining from alcohol, smoking and getting sufficient sleep is crucial in helping you get pregnant too.
- There may not be immediate results from IVF especially if you are older in age, so prepare yourself for both outcomes. It does not work right away and it is common for women to go through more than one cycle. Two to three cycles are the average but if you are in your forties, it is normal to do three cycles before you successfully conceive.
With this information in mind, remember to keep yourself calm and stay in a positive mood when you are trying to conceive. Prepare yourself for various outcomes in the options you try out and remember that putting less stress on yourself will work towards your advantage.