Should We Do An IVF Cycle?

While many couples have found success through IVF treatments it may not be the miracle solution you and your partner imagine. IVF is not a procedure that should be taken lightly.

On the contrary couples should carefully weigh up the risks and benefits of using this kind of intervention.

What is In vitro fertilization (IVF)?

IVF is a complex technique used to aid fertility with aim of achieving conception. The IVF cycle begins by suppressing the women’s natural ovulation process. In the second phase medication is used to over-stimulate the ovaries in order to produce multiple eggs. Once the eggs have matured they are retrieved from the ovaries and fertilized with sperm in a lab. The fertilised egg, known as an embryo is then reinserted into the women’s womb for normal development. IVF is a time consuming procedure with many phases. Have you and your partner started discussing the possibilities of pursuing IVF? Here are some important issues to consider:


IVF is extremely costly with most procedures averaging between R50,000 to R100,000 per cycle. Very often couples will need to do more than one cycle in order to conceive. While infertility is classified as a Prescribed Minimum Benefit condition not all medical aid schemes in South Africa provide cover. If your medical aid doesn’t cover treatment here are some other financing options.

Success rates

It is important to note that IVF treatments are not 100% successful. In fact success rates vary according to the age of the female. For women 35 and under success rates are typically recoded at 50%. However that number declines as women age.

Relational Conflict

Couples need to be completely open and honest about their desires and expectations without placing any obligation on their spouse to participate in the process. If both partners are not on the same page about their infertility treatment plan it can cause strife in the home. IVF in particular can lead to division because of the financial and physical demands placed on either spouse.

Pain Tolerance

For the woman IVF can be a painful process. While every female is different some may experience mild to moderate cramping or abdominal pain at different stages in the IVF cycle. Pain medication is generally prescribed in severe cases but women should be prepared to experience some discomfort during the procedure.

Mental and Emotional stress

It is not hard to imagine why people who undergo this process experience high levels of mental and emotional stress. Dealing with issues like medical expenses, physical pain and the fear of failure can take a toll on both partners. Before you embark on this journey it is important to prepare yourself for the stresses that are sure to come.

Risk of multiples

One of the biggest risks of IVF is multiple births. Couples who participate in the procedure have a 30% chance of conceiving multiples. Are you prepared to parent more than one
child? Do you have adequate support in the event that you should give birth to twins or triplets? These are important matters to settles before the time comes.

While IVF has allowed many couples to realize their dreams of starting a family there are no guarantees. Make sure that you discuss all your concerns with your medical practitioner
and your spouse before you start the process.

By Cindy Harker

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