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The road to tackling infertility via In vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is costly. OYEYEMI GBENGA-MUSTAPHA reports that the new multiple IVF cycle has its merit.

In vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is costly. To buy an IVF cycle is costlier than picking a package of six.

This new information renews the hope to couples preparing for their first IVF cycle as well as those who have experienced failures.

According to the Medical Director, Nordica Fertility Clinic, Dr Abayomi Ajayi, it is important that all fertility-challenged couples should know this because up until now, most fertility clinics have  assumed that couples who have completed three or four unsuccessful IVF cycles are less likely to benefit from future cycles. This revelation may enable fertility clinics inform patients about multiple treatment cycles.

Ajayi said: “Fertility treatments are being stopped prematurely when few unsuccessful IVF cycles are recorded. We need to stop thinking of IVF as a single shot for a family, and think of several cycles as the standard.”

He explained that IVF is a medical treatment, which helps infertile couples to have a baby. And it involves the extraction of egg from a female partner (or donor) and the laboratory fertilisation of the egg with sperm from a male partner (or donor) and the resulting embryo is implanted in the female partner (or surrogate) womb. The advantages of IVF include helping an infertile couple to have a baby  (with their eggs and sperm) and unless a donor egg or sperm is used, the DNA will be that of the intended parents only.

Ajayi said the greatest percentage of IVF success occurs in six cycles. “The study came out of the UK, where researchers reviewed the statistics of 156,947 UK women who received 257,398 IVF between 2003 and 2010. From that comprehensive analysis, which included results from both fresh and frozen embryo transfers, researchers found that the average live birth rate for couples participating in six IVF cycles was 65.3 percent.

“Within that study, other important statistics were revealed that women under 35 are the most likely to benefit from a six-cycle regimen. Women between 40 and 42 (using their eggs) had a 31.5 percent live birth rate at the six-cycle mark. Women older than 42, who use their eggs, have a less four percent live birth rate at the six-cycle mark. Maternal age was irrelevant with donor eggs, giving women who are 35 and above the same success rate as women  who are under 35.

“This means that if you are planning to undergo IVF or have already experienced two or more unsuccessful IVF cycles, you may want to regroup and schedule a consultation with your fertility specialist,” Ajayi advised.

How does this assist in your Fertility treatments?

With the realisation that couples can benefit from multiple cycles, another IVF specialist, Dr Ife Oluwa Oyetunji, said couples might need to start another by bringing this new information to their fertility specialist.

She shed light on this.  Some clinics, she said, are firm on the maximum amount of cycles they recommend their patients to participate in, depending on maternal age and fertility diagnosis. It may mean migrating to a new fertility clinic to participate in future IVF cycles. Multiple cycles also oblige a couple some discounts. So, the client should ask for multiple fertility cycle discounts. Most fertility clinics offer discounted rates for a set of multiple of IVF cycles, which is about three or four. These plans are structured in different ways, so you will want to choose the one that makes the most sense for your age, number of eggs retrieved, number of fertilised embryos among other considerations.

She enlightened that fertility challenged couples should think about using donor eggs. “Since it is determined that maternal age is a non-issue for women using donor eggs, assuming the woman is able to carry the baby, that should be of specific interest for women who are 40 or older, and for whom IVF success rates are notoriously low. Using donor eggs is much more likely to increase your chances of a live birth outcome if you are 40 or older.

“Also, they should consider preimplantation genetic screening (PGD/PGS). PGD is a newer technology available to couples undergoing IVF. It is a fact that the number one cause of miscarriages are genetic abnormalities in the embryo. This is nature’s way of preventing the birth of babies with serious genetic disorders, many of which compromise the quality of life or are life-threatening. PGD testing is done prior to implantation to see whether or not chromosomes are normal.  Only embryos with normal results are selected for transplant.

“While these tests do cost more, they can increase your chances of successful IVF outcomes or can help you make the decision to use donor eggs if the majority of your embryos are abnormal,” Oyetunji added.

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