In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a type of assistive reproductive technology (ART) used to help with fertility or prevent genetic problems and assist with the conception of a child. During IVF, eggs from woman's ovaries are retrieved and fertilized with sperm. This fertilized egg is identified as an embryo. Next, the embryo or embryos could be frozen for storage or transferred to a woman's uterus. One full cycle of IVF usually takes about three weeks.
The procedure can be carried out using:
Your eggs and your partner's sperm
your eggs and donor sperm
donor eggs and your partner's sperm
donor eggs and donor sperm
Schedule your visit to a fertility doctor and specialists to understand how IVF works, the potential risks, and whether it is satisfactory for you.
Need For IVF
IVF is a treatment that helps people with infertility that wants to have a baby. It is expensive and invasive, so generally, couples try other fertility treatments first. IVF is also the choice for option for infertility in women over age 40. In addition, if you have certain pre-existing health conditions, IVF is an excellent option to go for.
For example, IVF may remain an option if you or your partner has:
Fallopian tube damage or blockage.
Previous tubal sterilization or removal.
Impaired sperm production or function.
There is a risk of passing a genetic disorder to a child
Cancer or other health conditions and you want to preserve the fertility
Reduced ovarian function
Don't have a functional uterus
Pregnancy poses a severe health risk for women
How to Prepare for In Vitro Fertilization?
At the beginning of IVF, women will first undergo ovarian reserve testing. The doctor will collect a blood sample and test it for the level of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH). The results of this test will determine the size and quality of your eggs.
After examining your ultrasound, the doctor may also insert a scope through your vagina and into your uterus. These tests will reveal the health of your uterus and assist the doctor in determining the best way to implant the embryos.
Men will also have to undergo sperm testing. The sperm will be analyzed in the lab for the number, size, and shape of the sperm.
However, many decisions will have to be taken while choosing to have IVF. There are various factors to consider.
You will have to decide about any unused embryos
You will choose how many embryos do you wish to transfer? As more embryos are transferred, there is a higher risk of multiple pregnancies.
You should also be prepared about the possibility of having twins, triplets, or a higher-order multiple pregnancy.
Be prepared about the financial, physical, and emotional stresses associated with IVF
How Is In Vitro Fertilization Performed?
There are five steps involved in IVF:
Multiple eggs increase the chances of developing a viable embryo. Normally, a woman produces one egg during each menstrual cycle. To double the number of eggs to be used in IVF, you'll receive fertility drugs. The doctors will periodically perform routine blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor the production of eggs and to allow your doctor to know when to retrieve them.
Egg retrieval is called follicular aspiration. This is a surgical procedure performed with anesthesia. The doctor will use an ultrasound wand to lead a needle through your vagina into your ovary, and into an egg-containing follicle. The needle will be plied to suction eggs and fluid out of each follicle.
Using the male partner semen, a technician will mix the sperm with the eggs in a petri dish to produce embryos.
The fertilized eggs will directly be monitored to ensure that they're dividing and developing. The embryos also undergo testing for genetic conditions at this time.
When the doctors think that the embryos are big enough to be implanted, they are inserted using a thin tube called a catheter into your vagina, past your cervix, and into your uterus. This procedure generally occurs in three to five days after fertilization. The embryo is then released into the uterus.
Pregnancy begins when the embryo implants itself in the uterine wall. This usually takes 6 to 10 days. A blood test is conducted to determine if you are pregnant.
Complications Associated with In Vitro Fertilization
As with any medical procedure, there are certain risks associated with IVF. These Complications include:
multiple pregnancies, which can increase the risk of low birth weight and premature birth
miscarriage (pregnancy loss)
ectopic pregnancy (when the eggs are implanted outside the uterus)
ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) (a rare condition constituting an excess of fluid in the abdomen and chest)
infection, bleeding, or damage to the bowels or bladder (rare)
After the procedure
The women can resume their daily activities after the embryo transfer. As the ovaries are still enlarged, you may be advised by the doctor to prevent any vigorous exercise.
Typical side effects include:
As the embryo is transferred by swabbing of the cervix, you could pass a slight amount of clear or bloody fluid shortly after the procedure
Breast tenderness due to high estrogen levels
Contact your doctor if you develop moderate or severe pain after the embryo transfer. The doctor will examine you of any complications, such as bleeding, infection, twisting of an ovary (ovarian torsion), and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
Usually, after 12 days to two weeks after egg retrieval, the doctor will analyze a sample of your blood to detect whether you're pregnant. The doctor will refer you to an obstetrician or other pregnancy specialist for prenatal care if you are pregnant.
However, if you're not pregnant, you will be asked to stop consuming progesterone, and you will likely get your period within a week.
If you still want to take another chance at another cycle of in vitro fertilization (IVF), your doctor might suggest steps you can take to improve your chances of getting pregnant through IVF.