Through the use of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF), over 4 million babies have been born to parents who may have not been able to conceive a child through any other means. The development and continued use of IVF has therefore provided couples dealing with infertility or other complicating factors a viable option through which they can give birth to a child that is a biological relative.
While the procedure itself has existed for several decades now, it is only in relatively recent years that IVF has experienced a significant degree of growth. In the United States, for example, more than 1 percent of the babies born are the result of the IVF procedure, with many doctors predicting that IVF’s growth will only continue at a significant rate over the years to come.
In 2016, many doctors specializing in IVF feel that there are a number of factors that will make the growth rate stronger than ever, with leading experts such as Dr. Raouf Farag and others pointing out that patients considering an IVF procedure will be able to benefit from an incredibly high standard of professional care along with significant medical advancements.
Dr. Farag, an obstetrician and gynecologist who is considered a leading expert on issues relating to infertility, cited a wide range of factors that have influenced the recent growth in demand for IVF procedures. The doctor, whose practice is located in Gosford on Australia’s Central Coast, provides comprehensive services and medical care that ensures patients are attended to throughout the entirety of their pregnancy.
An innovator in every sense of the word, Dr. Farag has been a driving force in improving the efficacy of IVF while also ensuring the comfort of patients throughout every stage of the procedure. According to several infertility experts, the recent growth in IVF can be attributed to a number of general factors in addition to some of the more highly specific factors that will be discussed in detail in the sections that follow. The general factors most frequently identified are as follows:
- An overall increase in population means an increase in the number of couples dealing with infertility
- Patients are more informed of their options and have greater access to detailed information regarding the IVF procedure
- Medical advancements and innovations have improved the effectiveness of the procedure and have improved patient comfort at every stage
Of course, these are simply some of the most general factors influencing the growth of IVF, and Dr. Farag and others have a much more nuanced view of the circumstances surrounding the continued growth of IVF. In order to best understand the reason for IVF’s recent surge in growth and the rationale behind future growth projections, an in-depth look at the many issues surrounding infertility along with an appreciation of recent innovations ought to be particularly helpful.
What Are the Causes of Infertility?
Most couples seeking IVF do so as the result of a variety of issues causing infertility or a great deal of difficulty in conceiving, and these issues may affect both men and women. Among men, low sperm count is often the motivating factor that leads couples to seek IVF, though there is a wider range of issues that can cause infertility in women, including blockages or damage to the Fallopian tubes or the lack of Fallopian tubes altogether. In addition to issues relating to the Fallopian tubes, endometriosis is also a common cause of infertility that ultimately leads patients to explore their options through the use of IVF.
There has also been some speculation that there may be an increasing variety of external causes that contribute to the rate of the infertility issues that may make it more difficult for certain couples to conceive. While these external causes have not been definitively confirmed as either directly or indirectly linked, there is some initial indication that there is at least the potential that a causal link will ultimately be established in the near future. The existence of IVF is critical and offers couples a viable option to rectify issues stemming from infertility.
Why Are More Patients Seeking IVF?
Even though IVF has been an established and common practice throughout the course of the last several decades, it is still the case that a great deal of progress has been made during that timeframe that has contributed to an increasing number of patients seeking IVF. In addition to the medical care advancements that have occurred over the years, IVF has also benefited from the simple fact that more and more patients are able to share their insight and experience with others who may be considering IVF.
It has long been established that IVF is a safe and effective procedure, and it is made even safer when the medical practitioner is involved from the very earliest stages right through the postnatal period. With this kind of comprehensive care and oversight, the safety of the procedure is enhanced to a significant degree and the patient can expect to enjoy a greater likelihood of achieving an entirely positive outcome from IVF.
One of the most often overlooked benefits of IVF is the fact that it often eliminates the need for a patient to undergo a surgical procedure that corrects Fallopian tube damage or blockage. In fact, the IVF procedure is believed to have reduced the need for this kind of surgery by half, which has obvious benefits for the patient and eliminates the possibility of enduring the complications possible during any surgical procedure.
How Have Doctors Like Dr. Farag Contributed to IVF’s Continued Growth?
There are always varied influences that contribute to growth in any industry, and it is certainly the case that a number of outside factors have played a significant role in the continued growth of IVF. One of the factors driving the growth of this procedure occurs within the medical field, as doctors such as Dr. Farag have done tremendous work in promoting IVF’s effectiveness by providing consistently exceptional care to patients under their supervision.
Through the innovations made by Dr. Farag and others, patients have now come to expect comprehensive care services that begin with the initial consultation and medical screenings and last all the way through to postnatal care. While IVF may indeed reduce the likelihood that a patient requires a surgical procedure, there are still instances in which it does become necessary and the majority of patients feel most comfortable working with the same doctor throughout all of the procedures deemed necessary. Dr. Farag, for example, is an infertility doctor whose practice offers the following services relating to IVF:
- Age-related infertility
- Embryo transfer
- Fibroid surgery (a minimally invasive procedure)
- Laparoscopic surgery (for both endometriosis and tubal disease)
- Natural Cycle IVF
- Ovulation induction
- Polycystic ovaries and laparoscopic drilling of ovaries
- Premature ovarian failure
With doctors like Dr. Farag offering such varied services, patients seeking IVF can turn to a single doctor to address the underlying issues causing infertility while also overseeing all stages of the pregnancy from the initial IVF procedure to birth and, ultimately, the postnatal stage. The ability of a single doctor or medical practice to provide such a wide range of IVF-related services has resulted in a greater sense of comfort and confidence experienced by patients undergoing IVF, particularly since there is a great deal of familiarity throughout the process and there is ample time for the patient and the caregiver to develop a strong sense of trust.
About the IVF Procedure
The IVF procedure has benefited from a number of important medical advances over the years, and doctors performing IVF have fine-tuned their specific practices to ensure the greatest possible level of success for the patients they treat. Generally speaking, the IVF procedure begins with an initial consultation along with a variety of medical screenings designed to guide the doctor in developing a specific course of treatment for each individual patient.
Once the treatment cycle begins, the patient is often given medications to promote the maturation of the ovarian follicles that contain the eggs, and the doctor will also order a variety of blood tests to ensure the patient’s hormone levels are optimal for the IVF procedure. Once the ovarian follicles have been deemed by the doctor to be sufficiently mature, the patient will receive an injection that serves as the precursor to the next phase: egg retrieval and fertilization.
The outpatient procedure involving egg retrieval and fertilization is relatively brief, but patients are often advised to simply focus on rest on the day of its completion. The patient’s counterpart also provides a sample at the same time, with both samples being sent to a laboratory for examination and, assuming the samples are deemed satisfactory, the IVF procedure is completed. The egg or eggs are tested to ensure they have been successfully fertilized and are then incubated before being utilized during the embryo transfer process.
Following the transfer (also known as the luteal phase), the patient will be provided with additional medications and will find out whether the IVF procedure was a success through the use of a pregnancy test administered approximately two weeks after the transfer. The doctor and patient will continue monitoring the pregnancy all the way through birth.
IVF Poised for Continued Growth
The high standard of care received by patients undergoing the IVF procedure has been an important contributing factor to the consistent growth this procedure has experienced over the years. With more and more patients seeking IVF and achieving a clearly successful outcome through an entirely comfortable experience, future patients dealing with infertility are much more likely to come into contact with people who can share their personal stories of success while using IVF.
This, along with the presence of doctors who are committed to providing comprehensive IVF services and detail-oriented medical care, ensures that IVF’s widespread use will only continue and is very likely to enjoy a much greater degree of future growth in the years that will follow. While the growth of IVF is predicted to be quite substantial in 2016, there are a number of factors that clearly indicate the procedure will only continue to grow at what appears to be an exponential rate well into 2017 and beyond.