Everything you need to know about IVF

Success rates, process, and cost of one of the most effective fertility treatments - in-vitro fertilization (IVF)

By Anastasiia Timon and Anya Kern, co-founders of Blooming Eve
Medically reviewed by
Dr. Yaron Goikhman, MD
Updated September 6th 2023

What is IVF?

In Vitro Fertilization is a type of fertility treatment that involves combining an egg and sperm outside the body in a laboratory dish. Once fertilized, the embryo is then transferred into the uterus.

The typical IVF process steps are:

1. Fertility assessment for both partners is needed first to evaluate all possible reasons that may contribute to infertility.
2. Preparation: scheduling the IVF cycle, receiving training from the nurses, signing forms, and ordering medications.
3. Ovarian stimulation: 8-14 days of medication injections to stimulate the growth of follicles, future eggs.
4. Egg retrieval: a 15-minute simple surgical procedure performed under anesthesia. At least 60 minutes before the egg retrieval, a semen sample should be received by the lab.
5. Embryo stage: after the eggs are retrieved, they are combined with sperm in the laboratory to facilitate fertilization. During 4-5 days, the fertilized eggs, now called embryos, are cultured in the laboratory to allow them to develop further.
6. Embryo transfer: in the final stage, one or more embryos are transferred into the uterus through a thin catheter. ASRM guidelines recommended choosing one embryo transfer as it has a lower risk of multiple pregnancies and birth complications.

How long does IVF take?

The IVF timeline can vary; the entire process, from the start of ovarian stimulation to embryo transfer, can take around 3 to 7 weeks depending on whether you are doing fresh or frozen embryo transfer. Following the embryo transfer, you may need to wait for about 9-14 days for a pregnancy test to determine if the IVF cycle was successful.
National IVF success rates presented by age  based on CDC data

What is the IVF success rate by age?

To understand the probability that the IVF procedure will result in birth, doctors often refer to the term success rate. Governmental and professional organizations such as CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) or SART (Society for Reproductive Medicine) publish different data on success rates and it is important to understand how to read this data.

Success rates from patient’s own eggs measured by the percent of intended retrievals that resulted in live birth can show you what average outcomes are for a certain age or clinic.

All fertility clinics by success rates near you

Sometimes, it is hard to compare the quality of different fertility clinics and success rates versus the national level, which could give you some reference points on the clinic's performance. We make it easy for you to see what clinics perform above or below the national level.  Compare fertility clinics near you using our database.

What is the difference between IVF and IUI?

IUI is a much less invasive and less expensive fertility treatment than IVF, but it also has lower success rates by age and doesn’t suit all of the fertility issues cases. You should consult with your doctor on what is the best option for you.
IVF and IUI success rates for different age groups
Source IUI from Belloc 2008 and IVF from  CDC
The elements of egg freezing costs: clinical costs, medication and storage

How much does IVF cost?

The cost of an IVF procedure can vary widely depending on factors such as:
• the clinic's location,
• reputation,
• success rates.

The cost of a single IVF cycle or procedure can range from $6,500 to $40,000 without insurance. It's recommended to ask the clinic what's included in this cost; some clinics may charge separately for ultrasounds, blood tests, embryo transfers, ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection), and anesthesia. Preliminary testing for both partners before starting the IVF process, partner carrier testing, or embryo genetic testing is typically not included in the cycle cost.

Learn more about different elements of IVF cost or check the prices of fertility clinics near you.

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Medical risks and side effects of egg freezing

As with all medical procedures, IVF can have rare complications. The main risk during IVF is overstimulation of your ovaries - OHSS. Medium to severe OHSS happens in less than 1% of stimulation cycles, and doctors monitor your reaction closely to make sure you don't get OHSS. Symptoms include shortness of breath, gastric reflux, pain and vomiting. OHSS may improve on its own in mild cases; if it doesn't improve on its own, there is a way of treating that your doctor will recommend.

Most people feel good after the procedure, and severe symptoms are very rare. The most common side effects are fatigue and bloating during medication stimulation; some women feel very emotional during or after the IVF process.
A woman gives herself an IVF shot - get help

Afraid of IVF shots and mixing medication on your own?

As a part of the process, you self-administer medication injections, but most women tolerate it very well. If you are afraid of shots, we can help you find a nurse to help you with medication.

Any fertility treatment starts with an initial consultation and thorough evaluation of both partners

The goal of fertility assessment is to evaluate all possible reasons that may contribute to infertility. To start, the doctor or nurse will collect:
• a comprehensive medical,
• reproductive,  
• family history
• and perform an appropriate physical examination.

After that, your doctor would define what diagnostic tests would be needed to identify factors affecting infertility based on your individual history.

Request a fertility evaluation at the best clinic in your area.

How to prepare for IVF

Some changes, if applied 1 to 3 months before starting your IVF cycle, may positively affect your results:
• weekly acupuncture treatment is proven by studies1 to improve fertility. Book your acupuncture for fertility.
• lifestyle changes
• nutrition adjustments

See examples of changes that can help prepare for IVF and improve your IVF results (quality and quantity of eggs).

Bottom line

Infertility diagnosis can be emotionally overwhelming; Blooming Eve can help you navigate your fertility journey with our fertility support.

If you are ready to start, you can find a fertility clinic near you under your budget using our largest database of fertility clinics in the U.S.

What to look for while choosing a fertility clinic?

Fertility testing at home vs at a fertility clinic

How much does IVF cost in California

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