In the 43 years that have gone since, over 8 million babies have been born through assisted conception, including IVF. In fact, roughly 2% of all live births are the result of successful IVF procedures.
While those headline figures are positive, IVF is still not a sure-fire way to get pregnant. For many, whose only hope of having a baby is via IVF, it is still a long shot. While IVF procedures have evolved over the last 4 decades, it still only offers a 23% chance of taking home a baby.
As someone who will soon be embarking on the IVF journey for the first time, I am incredibly grateful for this feat of science. Without it, my hopes and dreams of motherhood would have already slipped away. But fortunately, we still have options.
But what is IVF?
IVF stands for In Vitro Fertilisation. In simple terms, it’s where the sperm and the egg meet outside the body, with the aim of coming together to fertilise, creating an embryo. This process would usually happen in the body. Unfortunately, for many couples, it’s a process that cannot happen naturally. When support is needed, that’s when it’s taken into the hands of science – In Vitro Fertilisation is the way forward.
A cycle can take from 3 to 6 weeks. First, hormones are used to stimulate the ovaries into producing a large number of eggs. These eggs are surgically collected and, under laboratory conditions, are mixed with sperm. The egg and sperm are left to do their own thing and, hopefully, this will result in fertilisation. This produces embryos which are monitored before being transferred back into the womb or frozen for later use.
After what seems like a lifetime of waiting, Simon and I are almost at the top of the list to start treatment. In three weeks’ time, we will be at the clinic for the first time in 9 months, to complete our paperwork. All being well, we will be starting treatment shortly after that. Not only are we grateful that this option exists, but that our first round will be funded by the NHS. We will have to self-fund any subsequent rounds.
Wish us luck!