Will I need IVF to conceive?

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is the leading cause of infertility among women of childbearing age, and many women with PCOS struggle with getting pregnant. For these women, this raises the (very good) question of, “What will help me get pregnant?”

It’s not uncommon for women with this condition to have a harder time getting pregnant. Despite this fact, there are ways to improve the odds that a woman with PCOS will conceive. One of the better-known infertility treatments is in vitro fertilization (IVF). This is most often used by women who have tried surgical and medical intervention already, but haven’t been able to successfully conceive.

What is IVF?

In IVF, a medical team collects mature eggs from the woman’s ovaries and fertilizes them with sperm in a laboratory. The team then implants the fertilized eggs back in the woman’s uterus. This process is called a cycle, and usually takes about two weeks.

Why do women with PCOS use IVF?

Many women with PCOS don’t ovulate, which means that if they want to get pregnant, they have to try various fertility treatments in order to release an egg. These include insulin-sensitizing medications, hormones administered to women through injections, and ovarian drilling, among others. If these methods don’t work, doctors may suggest IVF, which can be expensive, but is often quite effective.

Should I use IVF?

Since IVF is often used after other methods don’t work, your provider might want you to try less invasive, less time-consuming procedures like IUI first. However, if you have tried all of these, IVF might be a good option for you at this point, so make sure to ask your healthcare provider to explain how IVF relates to you and your fertility.

  • Mayo Clinic Staff. “In vitro fertilization (IVF).” MayoClinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, Jun 16 2016. Web.
  • “Treatments for Infertility Resulting from PCOS.” NIH. US Department of Health and Human Services, May 23 2013. Web.
  • “What is infertility?” CDC. US Department of Health and Human Services, Apr 14 2016. Web.
  • “Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) fact sheet.” WomensHealth. Office of Women’s Health, US Department of Health and Human Services, Dec 23 2014. Web.
  • “Polycystic Ovary Syndrome.” MedlinePlus. US National Library of Medicine, Jun 17 2016. Web.
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