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An in vitro fertilization (IVF) pregnancy is a pregnancy created with the aid of assisted reproductive technology. Couples who have trouble conceiving successfully on their own for more than a year may consider IVF as an option for infertility treatment. In the early stages, an IVF pregnancy requires some special care, but the patient can usually be transferred to a regular obstetrician towards the end of the first trimester, at which point she will be treated like a woman with a conventional pregnancy. Success rates for IVF pregnancy vary, depending on age. Younger women are more likely to have a live birth than older women.
In vitro fertilization is a procedure where eggs are fertilized with sperm in a laboratory environment. The fertilized eggs are encouraged to develop and once they are dividing and multiplying well, usually after three to four days, they can be transferred to the patient. Follow-up testing will be used to see if the eggs successfully implanted, an important step in an IVF pregnancy.
First trimester miscarriage is a common problem in conventional pregnancy, and the same holds true for IVF pregnancy. For this reason, patients are monitored closely for any signs of complications in the first few weeks of pregnancy. Their hormone levels will be checked and they may be given progesterone if their bodies are not producing enough of this hormone. Patients may also be advised to use special care to avoid certain miscarriage risks.
Once an IVF pregnancy is past the eight week mark, the patient can be given the same care women with conventional pregnancies receive. This includes prenatal testing and appointments to check on the health of the mother and the status of the pregnancy. If multiple eggs were transferred and they implanted, a woman may be offered a choice between reducing the pregnancy and carrying it to term. Multiple pregnancies have increased risks and women who opt not to reduce will need to see an obstetrician with experience in handling multiples.
There are other assisted reproductive technologies available to women and men who have difficulty conceiving. If a woman's eggs are not viable, she can potentially have an IVF pregnancy with a donor egg and her partner's sperm, or sperm from another donor. Likewise, IVF pregnancy can be used with surrogates, women who carry pregnancies for women who are unable to carry a pregnancy successfully to term. The legal and ethical issues surrounding reproductive technology can be complicated and people considering the use of donors and surrogates may want to discuss the issue with attorneys, spiritual advisors, ethicists, or all three.
I'm actually 23 years old and I been with my husband since I was 18. We have been trying to conceive, but it's not working at all. I have an abnormal period but I don't know if that might be the cause. My husband is 38 years old and has no kids. Does anyone thinks it's best to try doing in vitro fertilization?