A List of Pros & Cons of IVF

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IVF comes with both rewards and problems.
IVF comes with both rewards and problems. (Image: Dynamic Graphics/Creatas/Getty Images)

Infertility effects approximately 6.1 million women of reproductive age, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. IVF (in vitro fertilization) is often a couple's or individual's only chance at conception. An IVF procedure joins a man's sperm and woman's egg in a laboratory. If fertilization occurs, one or more fertilized eggs (embryos) are surgically placed inside the woman's uterus. Ideally, a pregnancy occurs. IVF has both pros and cons and is not a procedure to be taken lightly. IVF comes with a distinct set of emotional characteristics and is mentally, physically and financially draining to all parties.

Pros of IVF

The most obvious pro of IVF is conceiving a healthy baby -- or babies, as 25 percent of successful IVF pregnancies results in multiple births. For couples who have tried all other fertility treatments, IVF is often the only viable option to conceive. The majority of couples will conceive within three IVF cycles, so the prospect of having a healthy child far outweighs any cons for many couples.

Cost

IFV is a very expensive procedure, especially because the majority of insurance policies do not cover IVF. The typical cost for an IVF cycle runs between $12,000 and $15,000. This is a large chunk of money, and many couples choose to take out large loans to cover the expenses. Most clinics do not offer any money back if an IVF cycle does not result in a birth.

Emotional Toll

People going through IVF experience many emotional ups and downs. This is normal, as the process is physically hard on the body and emotional because the outcome of each IVF cycle is so uncertain. Emotional strain on the woman is often compounded by IVF medications, which often cause side effects like depression and stress. Emotional strain coupled with the financial burden of IVF often causes conflict in marriages and partnerships.

Physical Side Effects

Besides depression and anxiety, medications administered during an IVF cycle can cause hot flashes, cramping, headaches and vision disturbances. The medications given to stimulate ovaries and produce more eggs occasionally cause ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome. Most cases are mild and don't require any treatment, but severe cases can be dangerous.

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