In today’s day and age, in vitro fertilization (IVF) has grown to be a household term. Since the first “test tube baby” was conceived in 1978, IVF has produced more than  3 million offspring. While about 10 percent of women in the U.S. from age 15 to 44 find it difficult to get or stay pregnant, only 5% of them consider IVF. After all, it is a complex and expensive procedure that needs proper deliberation before taking.

To give you an idea, here are some of the most important facts about IVF that you need to ponder on:

  1. It’s usually not the only option.
If you have been testing if you are pregnant but to no avail, you might think that there’s no way you can ever get pregnant but through an IVF. However, there actually a couple of options for you to try.

For your doctor to prescribe IVF as the best or only option for you to get pregnant will depend on various factors, which may require a comprehensive diagnostic workup. Your healthcare provider will also initially collect a thorough medical and sexual history from you and your partner to find out what factors are contributing to your infertility. From there, you will be provided with several other options, such as fertility meds, artificial insemination, or ultimately, IVF.

  1. It is a lengthy process.
The IVF procedure does not happen overnight. It involves weeks to months’ worth of work from the patient, doctor, and the entire healthcare team. Basically, the process starts with the woman taking daily injections over a period of time, usually about nine to 11 days, to help her body produce multiple eggs. Constant monitoring through ultrasound and checking of estrogen levels are also done during this time.

After this period, the mature eggs are then retrieved from the ovaries, fertilized with the partner’s sperm in a lab, and implanted back in the woman’s uterus. The entire cycle usually takes about two weeks to complete.

  1. It can cost a fortune.
On average, an IVF procedure can cost about $13,000 to $15,000 per cycle, which will depend on several factors as well. For instance, couples whose fertility problems are age-related may have to shell out more since they need more medication, comprehensive chromosome embryo screening, and more cycle requirements.

  1. Younger women are more likely to succeed.
In IVF, the younger you are, the better your chances of success. While many view IVF as an option only applicable for older women, this is not actually the case. In fact, women under 35 years old have a 40 percent chance of getting pregnant, and this decreases by 10 percent every few years. 

  1. Your lifestyle affects your chances.
Your odds of getting pregnant can also depend on your lifestyle choices. From your weight to your diet and exercise routine, it is important to make healthy decisions for an IVF procedure to be successful. According to Wendy Chang, M.D., who is a scientific director from the Southern California Reproductive Center, a diet rich in protein and nutritious vegetables greatly improves embryo quality. This goes to both man and woman who want to commit to IVF.

Drinking alcohol and bad sleeping habits can lower one’s chances of pregnancy, so it’s best to steer clear from such vices and opt for healthier options. Consult with your doctor prior to the IVF process so he or she can advise you on how to achieve a healthy pregnancy and eventually a live birth.

  1. There are no guarantees.
Once you give IVF a try, you have to know that it may or may not achieve a positive result. However, if you don’t get pregnant on the first IVF cycle, it might be worth giving it a few more shots. Some women have even achieved success only by the sixth cycle.

Indeed, there are pros and cons to every procedure, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by your options. However, it pays to be educated so you can really figure out what’s best for you and your partner when it comes to achieving pregnancy.