When to Consider IVF: Is it right for me?

by | Feb 15, 2024 | Infertility, IVF Services

Weighing your options with IVF

When it comes to fertility treatment, deciding when to consider in vitro fertilization (IVF) is a big step that can feel quite daunting. However, with the right team behind you, you can feel confident in making the decision that’s right for you, your health needs, and your family-building goals.

Give Yourself Time to Try to Get Pregnant

The first thing to do is talk to your doctor about your pregnancy goals. With their understanding of your medical history, they can help you decide when to consider IVF. There are certain conditions that might make you a candidate right away, whereas in many cases it’s best to try naturally first. If you are part of a couple, it may take up to six months to a year to conceive naturally, which, of course, takes a lot of patience. While it’s frustrating to not get pregnant when you want to, it’s important to give yourself time to try. Cycle tracking and timed intercourse can be very helpful in achieving a natural pregnancy. If it doesn’t happen within that window, that’s when to consider IVF. If you already have known fertility issues, then it’s best to move forward to working with a fertility specialist right away so that you can get on track with which treatments will best address your unique situation.

Fertility Testing and IVF

When people think of fertility treatment they often automatically associate it with IVF; however, there are a variety of different treatments and options that your doctor may recommend based on your unique situation. You will begin with fertility testing to determine the origin of your fertility struggles and to determine when to consider IVF. IVF may not necessarily be a first resort and your doctor may recommend that you first try other treatments like intrauterine insemination (IUI) which can be a more affordable and less complicated treatment for those who qualify.

Consider IUI Before IVF

Those who are candidates for IUI have been trying for a pregnancy for six months to a year without success, but otherwise have normal hormone levels and potentially mild issues with ovulation. During IUI, ovulation is typically supported by hormone therapy, and sperm is deposited directly into the uterus to assist with fertilization. It can be especially helpful when the male partner’s sperm count is low or poor quality as collected sperm can undergo a “washing” process and be better prepared for insemination. Women using a sperm donor can also be candidates for trying IUI first. If you’re a candidate for IUI, it is typically recommended that you try two to three cycles before deciding when to consider IVF.

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When to Consider IVF

After fertility testing, some patients may discover that they are not a candidate for IUI and need to go directly to IVF. It can sometimes be emotionally challenging to know that your fertility journey is going to be more extensive, but knowing this information empowers you to move forward and make the right choices for yourself. There are a variety of reasons why you might be a candidate for IVF. Similar to IUI, if you’ve been trying for six months to a year without success then IVF could be an option. Anything that affects your physiology or ability to ovulate is also a reason. This can include causes like blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, low quantity of eggs, and conditions such as endometriosis. For men, a sperm analysis could reveal low sperm quality or quantity which would need to be addressed in the lab before insemination. Age is also a factor. Men and women’s fertility both decrease over the age of 35. While the decline is more rapid in women, men’s age is certainly a factor in their fertility particularly once they enter their forties. However, birth rates from parents in their late thirties have been on the rise for many years and it is very possible and common to have a family later in life thanks to treatments like IVF.

The Next Step When You Decide to Consider IVF

Deciding when to consider IVF is as personal a decision as starting a family. The most important element is the quality of the medical team around and your physical and emotional experience during the process. At PNWF our priority is empowering patients to make the right decisions for them and supporting them with the best possible care along the way. Reach out today to book a consultation and find out if IVF is right for you.