My IVF Pregnancy Journey

Difference between an IVF pregnancy and a natural pregnancy

Before undergoing an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) treatment, infertile couples have several other options such as Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), surgery, or even surrogacy. If other options are not available for them, IVF might be the last option for infertile couple.

There are several key differences in an IVF pregnancy versus a natural pregnancy:

Normal Pregnancy IVF Pregnancy
Level of Awareness Most women who become pregnant naturally do not know that they are pregnant until a month or more into the pregnancy. In IVF Pregnancy, the awareness begins right after the embryo is transferred into her uterus. IVF patients may be dealing with a higher level of anxiety / sensitivity to early pregnancy symptoms than many women experience at this stage.
Reproductive Cycle No medication. In a normal cycle, a woman’s ovary grows and matures a single egg inside an egg follicle at a time. A woman takes medications for 7-10 days to stimulate both her ovaries to grow and mature multiple egg follicles.
Early Pregnancy / Pre-menstrual Symptoms Normally, you will feel any different until around 3 weeks. Some may notice the “implantation spotting” or feel early pregnancy symptoms such as fatigue, tender breasts, nausea, a heightened sense of smell, food aversions, and more frequent urination. 50 percent of women had some symptoms of pregnancy by the time they were 5 weeks pregnant. 70 percent of women had symptoms by 6 weeks. 90 percent of women had symptoms by 8 weeks. Because of the fertility medications during the ovarian stimulation phase, IVF patient may experience symptoms of early pregnancy. You may feel tired, nauseated, bloated, tenderness / soreness in breasts and moody. Although, these symptoms do not necessarily mean you are pregnant. Symptoms of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) can resemble the symptoms of early pregnancy. Therefore, if you experience severe cramping, bloating, or nausea, you should immediately contact your doctor.
Sperm collection method The traditional way of making love; male will have to ejaculate inside woman’s vagina. The male needs to refrain from any sexual activity for at least 2 days, but not more than 10 days before you collect your sample. The sperm is collected by masturbation.
Pregnancy Rate A healthy 30-year-old has only about a 20% chance each month to get pregnant naturally; by age 40, that drops to about 5%, according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. Almost a third of women ages 40 to 44 are infertile, compared with 22% of women ages 35 to 39 and 9% of women 25 to 29.
Using own eggs: Woman’s age Fresh embryos Thawed embryos
35–37 30.5% 30.4%
38–40 21% 25%
41-42 11.7% 20.7%
43-44 4.6% 14.6%
Using donor eggs: Fresh embryos Thawed embryos
All ages 55.2% 31.7%
Birth Defects About 6.6 percent of non-IVF children had birth defects. About 9 percent of IVF children had birth defects. Therefore, babies conceived through IVF were 1.25 times more likely to be born with abnormalities.
Cost No cost. Extremely costly. (see our IVF cost comparison here)
After Becoming Pregnant No difference. No difference.

There are no difference in normal pregnancy vs IVF pregnancy after becoming pregnant.

6 comments

  1. During the last time there a lot of information concerning the use of fresh and frozen biological material during the in vitro fertilization. It is said that it is much better to use fresh eggs and sperm during the IVF conduction. I read that one of the main reasons of failure IVF programs with the use of frozen biological material is rather poor quality of cells after their thawing. Experts explain it such way as IVF with cryopreserved eggs resulted in fewer live births. It’s much better to use fresh oocytes in order to reach successful pregnancy and live birth. During cells’ thawing their structure is damaged. In addition not many cells survive. Doctor can even not to see deformation of cells immediately. But in future it could lead to various diseases and abnormalities of child. Women needing to ensure they are well informed before considering egg freezing. My friend uses such service in Ukrainian clinic. She almost lost her house when she tried in Canada. As she said Ukraine became her second home. It was a great conditions there – legality, good price, all-inclusive package of services which she used. Clinic even gave her guarantee that she would leave the medical center only with a baby. I remember she told that she didn’t find such guarantee in any other clinic nor in Canada. Therefore she believed them and started the program. She got pregnant after the second in vitro fertilization. She gave birth in time and the baby is healthy and beautiful.

    1. We are in Calgary and we went through a failed IVF pregnancy. It seems they are leaving everything to hope and chance. I understand you can never control everything, but now it seems they are lacking in so many respects compared to international medical technologies. I am angry we spent the time and energy and money trusting them. I am at least expecting some condolences but I have my post miscarriage consultation tomorrow. Will update this blog afterwards. Thank you IVF mommy for starting this blog!

      1. Dear Elton,

        Oh my, so sorry to hear that. My condolences to you and your wife. It sounds like they are only doing it for “business” and not really cared about individual situation.

        My experience in Seoul was great. I think it is also because of the cultural difference. In my opinion, in Asian countries, hospital staffs / doctors tend to be more polite to patients / give extra care/service compared to the US staffs.

        Before doing any IVF procedure, I suggest you guys to visit the clinic first and consult with the doctor / staffs, see how well they treat you, how big is the clinic, how many patients are there when you visit, how clean / organized the facility is. We visited three clinics (one in Singapore, two in Seoul) – and these are already the ones that were recommended by our friends.

        I know it is such an emotional experience for all of us. Hope you guys will never give up and try again and hope it will be a whole different new and happy experience.

        1. Hello IVF Mommy! Here’s an update for our meeting.
          After our 2nd failed IVF attempt in Calgary, Canada, we had our meeting with Dr. Greene at our clinic. His explanation was exactly this, “that’s odd, everything seemed okay, and we did everything right, but not everyone gets pregnant you know.” Those are not very comforting words. And then we asked if there’s anything different we should do to improve our chances, and he said if we did it again, it would be the same procedure, same medications, nothing different. There’s no advice he could give us. Just I’m sorry. That’s $8000cad worth of words for IVF in Canada. We are not impressed with either this Doctor, or Canada. Btw, we are trying one more time in Seoul, Korea. Actually, it’s in progress as we speak (or type) but will keep this blog updated! Hope to watch an Olympic game while we’re here!

          1. Regarding previous reply, Dr. Green was our first doctor but he retired! He was replaced by another Doctor who did our consultation.

    2. Dear Olivia,

      > During cells’ thawing their structure is damaged.
      I think this was due to the thawing method/technology that they use is probably not as advanced?

      I do hear a lot of people go to Ukraine for IVF. What do you mean by a guarantee? Will you get your money back if the IVF fails? They must have “requirements” before they can give such guarantees. I mean, if I am a 50 year old woman and want to try IVF, will they still guarantee me? 😛

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