If you wondering if you should try in vitro fertilization (IVF), this list of benefits and drawbacks of IVF may help you decide if this fertility treatment is right for you.
To learn more about in vitro fertilization, read IVF: The Wayward Stork–What to Expect, Who to Expect It From, and Surviving It All.
Remember that it doesn’t matter if you have your children through in vitro fertilization, adoption, a surrogate mother, or fostering…”It is not flesh and blood but the heart that makes us fathers and sons.” ~ Johann Schiller.
When listing the drawbacks of in vitro fertilization, I never once considered the possibility that I may not love my child – even if we have to use sperm donors and petri dishes! It really is the heart that creates love and family bonds; it doesn’t matter how familes are actually created.
And, here are some pros and cons of this type of fertility treatment…
Benefits of Trying In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) to Get Pregnant
The same genes
We’d need a sperm donor if we tried in vitro fertilization, but at least our child would be half ours, biologically speaking. It’d be so cool to see your own child grow up – though I know adopted parents love their kids as if they’d given birth to them! But still…the biological connection is a benefit of IVF (as compared to adoption).
The experience of getting and being pregnant
This is a weak benefit of in vitro fertilization for me…some women who cope with infertility mourn the fact that they’ll never get pregnant and do everything they can to have their own biological children. Me, I could take it or leave it. I’d like to get pregnant, but won’t be devastated if it never happens.
If you are reluctant to try IVF, read my updated thoughts on if you should try in vitro fertilization to get pregnant, inspired by the Parable of the Flood.
Drawbacks of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
What happens if, say, seven embryos are created and you don’t want seven babies? In Canada, there are laws governing how many embryos can be implanted at one time, and it varies by the woman’s age. But if you choose to implant two or three embryos, then you need to decide later what to do with the “extras.” This moral and ethical dilemma that can be a real drawback to in vitro fertilization — unless you know about embryo donation.
Cost of fertilty treatments
One IVF cycle could cost as much as $12,000-$15,000 for one month. My fertility doctor quoted a 50% chance of me getting pregnant (I’m pushing 40, so the odds are lower that I’ll get and stay pregnant). It’s incredibly expensive to pay for in vitro fertilization – and going into debt doesn’t work for us.
One of the biggest drawbacks of in vitro fertilization is the cost. Not just financially, but emotionally, socially, and relationally.
A baby conceived through IVF doesn’t have a better chance of implanting and staying healthy in the womb…and miscarriage rates are surprisingly high (not just for in vitro fertilization babies, but for all babies in general).
If you’re looking for research on IVF, read Does In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Work? What the Research Shows.
The risk of health problems because of the anesthetic or other IVF procedure is small…but still there. An intestine can be poked, an ovary or uterus damaged…there’s always a risk of problems with any medical procedure. Plus, I recently saw some research that shows that babies conceived through IVF have shorter lifespans.
Fertility and infertility drugs
In vitro fertilization requires that you go through a type of menopause for 21 days – you’re given a drug like Lupron, which stops the estrogen production in your body. Then, you’re given extra estrogen so you can go through super ovulation, and produce extra eggs. Since I only have four follicles on one side and three on the other, I’ll get extra drugs to encourage my body to produce extra eggs. Granted, this is a short-term thing (hopefully only one month) – but the side effects could include headaches, nausea, moodiness, irritability, insomnia, and health problems.
Needles and internal ultrasounds
An IVF cycle involves three needles a day for the last 10 days or so, and one needle a day for a week or so before that. Towards the end of the cycle, you have to go in for a 7:30 am check every second day, so the doctor can see if your eggs are mature.
To learn more about this fertility treatment, read How Much Does IVF Cost? From $900 to $19,000.
Are you trying in vitro fertilization (IVF) or other fertility treatments to get pregnant? I’d love to hear from you below! I can’t offer advice on the benefits and drawbacks of IVF, but it might help to share what you’re going through.