Infertility treatment
In vitro fertilization-IVF

What is In vitro fertilization (IVF)

IVF means fertilization outside of the body and it is the most effective assisted reproduction technique. It is often used when a woman's fallopian tubes are blocked or when a man produces too few sperm. Doctors prescribe a drug to the woman, which causes the ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Once mature, the eggs are removed from the woman and they are put in a dish in the lab along with the man's sperm for fertilization. After 3 to 5 days, healthy embryos are implanted in the woman's uterus.

How often is ivf successful?

Many factors do influence the success of IVF treatment:

  • Age of the partners
  • Infertility cause
  • Fertility clinic
  • Whether the egg is fresh or frozen
  • Whether the embryo is fresh or frozen

The global average success rate for IVF treatment varies between 30-40% overall.

Success rate in Greece: 50% overall

IVF can be expensive and time-consuming, but it has allowed many couples to have children that otherwise would not have been conceived. The most common complication of IVF is multiple fetuses, a problem that can be prevented or minimized in several different ways.

Is there an age limit to access an IVF treatment?

Yes. The upper age limit is the recipient's 50th birthday. However, the final decision is made by the medical team.

How long does the ivf procedure take?

Stage 1: Stimulation of the ovaries: About 12 days
Stage 2: Embryo Culture 3-5 days
Final stage: Embryo Transfer 1-2 days

The whole IVF procedure takes about 2- 3 weeks.

Can I fly back home straight after treatment?

After the treatment is completed, patients can fly back home immediately. Travelling won´t have any adverse effect on the embryo transfer nor the ensuing pregnancy.

How long does it take to get started with IVF?

From the point of their initial consultation with their chosen fertility physician, patients usually start an IVF cycle within weeks. The doctor will determine the appropriate time frame for each fertility treatment, but each individual patient or couple decides when it is right for them to begin.

The initial consult and diagnostic evaluation usually takes a week up to a couple of months (depending on the patient’s menstrual cycle, logistical and financial details such as travel schedule, availability, insurance requirements, etc.)

After reviewing all diagnostic testing results, the next step is to focus on logistical details such as reviewing the calendar, obtaining IVF medications and learning how to mix and administer them.

How much does IVF cost?

The IVF process with own eggs costs in Greece as low as 3,000-3,600 EUR. Using donated eggs is more expensive, around 5,000-6,000 EUR. See more on our IVF list of doctors

What are the options if a woman’s own eggs are not producing a pregnancy?

The ability to use a donor egg has enabled thousands of women to become pregnant when they otherwise might not have had this opportunity. While a woman’s eggs may not be viable, very often the uterus is completely healthy and capable of supporting a pregnancy. In these cases, egg donation with IVF has high success rates. This procedure follows the same protocol as IVF, except the intended parents select a donor and use the donor's egg to create the embryo.

Are there risks to having a baby through IVF?

While some research suggests a slightly higher incidence of birth defects in IVF-conceived children compared with the general population (4 - 5% vs. 3%), it is possible that this increase is due to factors other than IVF treatment itself.

Research indicates that IVF-conceived children are on par with the general population in academic achievement as well as with regards to behavioral and psychological health. More studies are under way to further investigate this important issue.

Do fertility hormones pose long term health risks?

Compared with the general population, women who have never conceived appear to have a slightly increased risk of ovarian cancer (about 1.6 times the rate). Because it is thought that many of these women have also used fertility medications, it has been hypothesized that a link might exist between fertility medications and this particular cancer. A number of studies have been conducted since 1992 when this concern was first raised. None have found an association between fertility medications and higher risk of ovarian cancer or between IVF treatment itself and higher risk of ovarian cancer. Preliminary results from an ongoing National Institutes of Health study likewise suggest no association between fertility medications and ovarian, uterine or breast cancer.

It is possible that this association is due not to the use of fertility medication, but to the fact that this population of women has never undergone childbirth. Findings from the National Institutes of Health and others suggest that pregnancy or some component of the childbearing process may in fact protect directly against ovarian cancer. 

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