Who Is a Good Candidate for IVF and ICSI?

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There are many options to consider if you want to start your own family. Some treatments are more effective than others or may be better suited for some patients, though. That’s why we carefully consider all options for your fertility care at The Fertility Institute. The team at our Louisiana fertility clinics in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Metairie, and Mandeville will be more than happy to answer any and all questions that you may have. One of the most common questions our patients have is about who are the best candidates for IVF, or in vitro fertilization, one of the most popular fertility treatments. This is what you should know.

What is in vitro fertilization (IVF)?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most well-known and popular options for assisted reproduction.

IVF involves the careful removal of mature eggs from the ovaries so that they can be inseminated in a controlled lab setting. Following successful fertilization, the fertilized eggs are placed into the uterus in order for the embryo to develop fully and be carried to term.

This is only a basic version of the whole treatment process. You can learn more in the following video or in our earlier guides to the different steps of IVF: the egg retrieval, insemination, and embryo stages. You will also receive a much more detailed and personalized overview of each step of the IVF process during an initial fertility consultation.

Who are the best candidates for IVF?

As with any fertility treatment approach, there is no ideal, perfect candidate. Each person's body will react differently to treatment and has its own personal health history. Before you start any treatment, you'll undergo a variety of fertility tests to determine if IVF is the best choice for you and your partner.

That being said, there are a few factors that tend to determine the effectiveness of IVF treatment. They include the following.

1. Previous fertility challenges

As expected, ideal candidates for IVF are those who have had issues with natural conception for up to a year. For example, women who have suffered from infertility because of endometriosis or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) are often good candidates for care.

Men with a low sperm count or motility may also benefit from IVF.

2. Age

In general, the best candidates for IVF are women in their 20s to mid-30s who have not been able to conceive naturally. A mother's health and the viability of her eggs tends to be better in those age groups, thus leading to better IVF outcomes. As women approach or pass the age of 40, though, IVF becomes more of a risky proposition. We discuss some other alternatives in these cases later in this post.

Likewise, men experience fertility challenges as they age. A semen analysis can help you decide on the appropriate fertility approach.

3. General health

Typically, the best IVF candidates are in overall good health. Since there are multiple stages for IVF, it’s also important to consider various potential side effects and complications that can occur at each stage.

Just as importantly, candidates should have realistic expectations about the IVF process and what it entails. You can learn more about the expectations and stresses that occur during IVF in an earlier post.

4. Miscarriage history

Unfortunately, if a woman has experienced a miscarriage (or multiple miscarriages) in the past, traditional IVF may not be an ideal option. With this treatment, there is a chance of another miscarriage especially if they've occurred in the past.

What are some alternatives to IVF?

Not everyone is a good candidate for IVF. Even so, there are many other assisted reproduction options that you can consider.

For example, women who are older or those with non-viable eggs may consider using an egg donor. The same is true with sperm donors in cases of non-viable sperm. In addition, if a woman is not healthy enough to carry a baby to term on her own, a surrogate carrier can carry the child to term. Another option to consider is genetic testing of the sperm and/or egg, which helps prevent potential birth defects or disorders.

Finally, if you have pelvic or uterine issues that are complicating your IVF success rates, some surgical procedures can help. You can learn more about this in the following video.

We invite patients across Louisiana and our neighboring states to visit our fertility clinic. During your consultation at The Fertility Institute, we will be more than happy to go over all of these options in much greater detail. With our team, you'll be able to make a well-informed and empowered choice about your fertility treatment needs.

Learn more about IVF

If you would like to learn more about in vitro fertilization (IVF) and your many other assisted reproduction options, contact The Fertility Institute today. Our entire team looks forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve your dreams of starting a family.


Originally posted: April 11, 2014 and June 3, 2014.