In-vitro fertilization is a procedure that allows couples who cannot conceive normally to have a child. The woman's egg and man's sperm are taken out of the body and fertilized in a laboratory, then put back into a woman who can carry the pregnancy to term.

Many moral and ethical concerns have been raised because of in-vitro fertilization. Those against the procedure say it is too much like playing God. Many women, however, have successfully delivered healthy babies as a result of in-vitro fertilization. Only you can decide if this procedure is the right one for you.

What are the Chances of Success with In-Vitro Fertilization?

"The chance of successful pregnancy with in vitro fertilization is directly related to the age of the woman who provides the egg. Most in vitro fertilization programs divide up their success rates according to age. For example, clinics will report pregnancy rates for women under and over the age of 35 years. There is certainly deterioration in the quality of eggs from the mid-thirties onwards. Some clinics divide up success rates further, and specifically report pregnancy rates for women between the ages of 35 and 37, 38 and 39, 39 to 42, and then over the age of 42.:
- Victoriafertility web site, August 2006

In-vitro has enjoyed a good success rate. Some in-vitro procedures have been too effective, with women giving birth to twins, triplets, or even more babies at once. It's a good idea to try the process with three or fewer eggs, on the chance that all the eggs will become successfully fertilized and produce children. In-vitro is a viable option for women who cannot naturally conceive.

What are the Dangers of In-Vitro Fertilization?

"One of the commonest serious side effects from using fertility drugs is a condition known as ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome becomes a risk in women who develop more than 20 follicles in response to the fertility drugs. In these circumstances the blood estrogen levels are often very high, and this combination causes OHSS."
- Victoriafertility web site, August 2006

The most common danger of in-vitro is that it will not work. It is very disappointing and depressing for a couple who has tried many methods, only to fail again at in-vitro. There is nothing to suggest that in-vitro fertilization will make natural conception easier or harder for the woman in the future. Medically, the procedure is fairly safe. There is some pain associated with the process of removing the woman's eggs, however, and there is a surgical procedure involved.

If you are considering in-vitro fertilization, it's best to discuss your options with your doctor. In-vitro can be a rather invasive procedure. You'll want to know what your chances are of having a successful pregnancy using this method before you decide to go ahead with in-vitro.

The Pros and Cons of In-Vitro Fertilization

Each woman has to make the decision regarding in-vitro for herself, with the support of her spouse. Many couples face reproductive challenges, and it's a very common problem that is nothing to be ashamed of. Learn all about your own chances of success with in-vitro before you decide to go through with the procedure, which can be very costly and very invasive to a woman's body. How much you want to conceive will determine whether or not in-vitro fertilization is right for you.