The most well-known type of fertility treatment is IVF. This process involves fertilising an egg outside of the body, to be implanted into the womb. The first IVF baby was born in 1978. Since then, more than 8 million babies have been born as a result of this treatment .
IVF can be carried out with a woman’s own egg or a donated egg. In some cases, women have frozen their own eggs and go on to use them later through IVF.
The success of IVF varies from person to person, and is impacted by their individual situation and age. Generally, the older you are, the harder it gets. For women under 35 using their own egg, there’s a 3 in 10 chance that it will lead to a baby, whereas for women over 44, it’s 1 in 50.
These odds can be frustrating. One woman shared her journey going through four FET (Frozen Embryo Transfer) cycles. “It took nearly 18 months of experiencing one failiure after another to actually receive a real infertility diagnosis: unexplained fertility.”
Because the chances of having a baby through IVF are relatively slim, women often end up going through many rounds of expensive, physically-demanding treatment. This makes it an incredibly stressful process, for them and their partner.
IVF can be an isolating experience, too. In the words of Michelle Obama on her own struggle to conceive, “We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken. That’s one of the reasons why I think it’s important to talk. I think it’s the worst thing we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work, and how they don’t work.”