Fertility Belgium

What is it?

In Vitro is Latin and literally means ‘in glass'. So In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) actually means ‘fertilisation in glass', or freely translated: ‘fertilisation outside the body.' IVF is used when natural fertilisation turns out not to be possible. One or more eggs are brought together with sperm outside the body to achieve fertilisation. If this is successful, the fertilised eggs (embryos) are placed back in the womb and a pregnancy may result.

Brief history

The first IVF baby was born on 25 July 1978, the famous Louise Brown. Since then, IVF has become more and more prevalent in our society, despite initial resistance, sometimes fierce, from all kinds of conservative groups. Luckily IVF is understood and accepted by a very wide section of society today. And although IVF is subject to very strict laws and ethics in Belgium, there is even - and rightly so - a system of health insurance cover for IVF.

Chances of success?

Many people are unaware of the fact that the chance of pregnancy for a perfectly fertile couple within a normal cycle is only 20%. Over time, however, these people do conceive relatively quickly, because there is a new chance of doing so every month.

IVF can offer a solution to couples who do remain childless. This technique is also used more and more often. Because more than one embryo is put back into the womb in most cases, the chance of pregnancy after a first round of IVF treatment is even slightly higher than with ordinary, natural fertilisation (about 30%-40%). Of course this does not mean that every couple is certain to conceive immediately. If a first attempt is unsuccessful, the treatment can be repeated for several successive cycles. This means that the ultimate chance of a successful pregnancy with IVF over four cycles increases to about 80%. If more suitable embryos are obtained during IVF fertilisation than can be placed in the womb, these can also be stored (cryopreservation). This increases the chances of a successful pregnancy even further without needing repeated stimulations and/or oocyte retrievals.

However, we should certainly add here that further complications can occur in the crucial first weeks of a pregnancy. This is why our patients receive intensive, expert monitoring during that period, because this is a difficult time for them emotionally with feelings of fear as well as joy.