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What is IVF Treatment & How Does it Work?

What is IVF Treatment & How Does it Work?

IVF stands for in vitro fertilization. IVF is a procedure that many women seek to treat infertility. In most cases, couples try less invasive treatments like various fertility drugs, hormone therapy, or intrauterine insemination before turning to IVF.

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However, when a more intensive treatment is needed, patients look to IVF. This treatment is common for women with endometriosis, uterine fibroids, or fallopian tube damage. It is also a good option if your partner experiences impaired sperm production or function. Of course, IVF is used to treat other infertility conditions too, but these are just a few examples.

How Does IVF Work?

In vitro fertilization uses a combination of surgical procedures and medications to help with egg fertilization. The way the IVF process works is as follows:

  1. A woman begins taking medication that gets her eggs ready for fertilization.
  2. Once the eggs are prepared, a doctor removes the eggs from the woman’s body.
  3. The eggs are fertilized by sperm in the lab.
  4. The doctor transfers one or more of the fertilized eggs to the woman’s uterus.
  5. If the embryos successfully implant in the lining of your uterus, you’re pregnant!

As far as assisted reproductive technology goes, IVF is incredibly effective. That being said, it doesn’t always work the first time. Many couples must go through more than one round of IVF to get pregnant. The other downside is the IVF process can take some time. You usually have to take medication injections for a couple of weeks before eggs can be removed. In general, IVF cycles typically take around six weeks.


Intrauterine insemination is another common fertility treatment that is slightly less invasive than IVF. IUI is a non-surgical procedure in which a doctor inserts sperm directly into a woman’s uterus. The treatment ensures insemination during ovulation, which increases the chances of getting pregnant.

A lot of people seeking fertility treatments try IUI before moving on to IVF as IUI is less expensive than IVF treatments. However, IUI is also known to be less effective than IVF. The success rate between the two procedures is quite significant. For women under 35, IUI has a 16 percent success rate while IVF has a 40 percent success rate.

How Much Does IVF Cost?

The overall cost of treatment varies from clinic to clinic, but according to the National Conference of State Legislatures the average cost of one cycle of IVF is $12,000 to $17,000. Below is a list of what exactly you’re paying for in the overall cost of the IVF treatment:

  • Egg retrieval
  • Fertilization
  • Embryo transfer
  • Medication
  • Embryo testing
  • Freezing and thawing the embryos
  • Monitoring

This is not a comprehensive list but gives you an idea of some of the costs involved in the treatment.

Is IVF Covered by Insurance?

IVF coverage varies from state to state, as well as insurance providers. Only 16 states have laws in place that require insurers to cover infertility diagnosis and treatment. Of those 16, three of the states also have laws that specifically exclude the IVF treatment procedure from coverage. You can find more information on states that require infertility coverage on the National Conference of State Legislatures website.

In any case, whether your state requires coverage or not, you should have a conversation with your insurance provider to learn exactly what is and is not covered by insurance. Insurance will likely cover some of your treatment costs, but not all of them. For example, you might be covered for everything but medication and monitoring. Even though a majority of the treatment is covered, you’ll still be responsible for a few thousand dollars out of pocket. Be aware of what is and isn’t covered so you can budget correctly for the treatment.

What Fertility Treatment Is Right for You?

Deciding on a fertility treatment is a very personal decision and one that should not be rushed. Take the time to consider all of your options until you find a good fit. Your body may not need an invasive treatment like IVF to increase your chances of becoming pregnant.

Not sure what fertility treatment plan is right for you? Take the free Famlee fertility assessment.

The Famlee assessment is an at-home kit that includes two private telehealth calls, customized medication plans, and even an app for tracking your fertility cycles. You can start proactively searching for the right fertility treatment and begin exploring your options all from the comfort of your own home. If you’re ready to get started, then sign up for the free Famlee assessment today.

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