Is In-Vitro Fertilization Right for You?

If you want to have a baby but haven’t had luck conceiving naturally, then in-vitro fertilization could be a good alternative to help you realize your dreams of becoming a parent. Let’s break down the basics.

What is in-vitro fertilization?

“In vitro” means “in glass” in Latin, and fertilization is the act that occurs when sperm and egg cells meet. In-vitro fertilization, then, is a direct translation of that: fertilization that happens outside the body (usually in glass petri dishes). This creates embryos, which are then implanted into the woman’s body. If all goes well, these embryos will develop into a baby. Or sometimes, multiple babies.

How does it work?

In-vitro fertilization is a lengthy process, one that begins well ahead of the implantation date.

There are five main phases:

  • Preparation: During this stage, the woman begins taking fertility medication to encourage the growth of eggs. Every month, an egg should develop naturally on its own. But with the help of fertility medication, several eggs can develop.
  • Retrieval: Once the eggs have been prepped with several months of medication, a doctor will go in and extract them from the woman’s body with a hollow needle before ovulation begins.
  • Fertilization: Here, a doctor combines the egg and sperm into a small dish that is designed to promote embryo growth.
  • Monitoring: For about a week, a doctor will observe the conditions of the sperm and egg, and assess the possibility of fertilization.
  • Implantation: If all goes well in the steps listed above, a doctor will transfer the embryo (or embryos) into the woman’s uterus.

How much does it cost?

The good news: In-vitro fertilization has a decent success rate. The bad news: It can be quite costly. Typically, in-vitro fertilization can range anywhere between $13,000 and $85,000. This figure takes into account the woman’s age and whether or not she’s using her own eggs, as well as any accompanying medications. Another important thing to consider: There’s no guarantee that the eggs will fertilize on the first try (or even at all). There’s about a 40 percent success rate for in-vitro fertilization among women under the age of 35. The number drops to an 11.5 percent success rate once a woman turns 40. In all, this is an expensive procedure that comes with a great deal of uncertainty. The payoff, however, can be priceless.

Who is it good for?

Ultimately, whether or not you should opt for in-vitro fertilization is a personal choice that depends on many factors. However, it remains a popular option for the following groups:

  • Women who have blocked fallopian tubes (which prevents the sperm from reaching the egg for fertilization).
  • Women who suffer from endometriosis.
  • Women who experience problems during ovulation.
  • Women who have eggs that don’t fertilize well (in this case, egg donors are an option as well).
  • Women who are struggling to conceive naturally for any other reason.
  • Men who have issues with their sperm. (Infertility is a two-way street.)


Williamson, Latoya. (2016, July 6.) What Is In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?

Uffalussy, Jennifer. (2014, February 6.). The Cost of IVF: 4 Things I Learned While Battling Infertility.

Copyright 2021