In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a set of techniques designed to improve fertility, prevent genetic abnormalities, and assist in child conception. In terms of assisted reproductive technology (ART), IVF is the most successful method.
What is IVF?
During IVF, mature eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and fertilized in a laboratory with sperm. The fertilized egg, now known as an embryo, is implanted inside a woman’s uterus a few days after conception. When this embryo embeds itself in the uterine wall, it results in pregnancy. IVF cycles are completed usually within three weeks. However, it may sometimes take longer when these processes are divided into separate steps.
Why is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Recommended?
IVF is preferred for various reasons, such as infertility problems or when there are underlying health conditions. Some people may also try IVF if other fertility treatments have been unsuccessful, or if they're past a certain age. IVF is also an additional reproductive option for same-sex couples or individuals who want to become parents on their own.
Typically, IVF is done by people with:
- Damaged or blocked fallopian tubes
- Low sperm count
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Presence of uterine fibroids
- Uterine impairments in women
- Genetic disorders in one or both partners
Who can Perform In Vitro Fertilization?
IVF is generally performed by reproductive endocrinologists who specialize in fertility treatments.
What are the Different Steps in an IVF Treatment?
Here are the different steps involved in IVF:
Birth control pills or estrogen
Before starting an IVF treatment, the doctor prescribes hormonal treatments like birth control pills, estrogen, or progesterone. It helps maximize the number of mature eggs during the egg retrieval procedure.
A batch of eggs starts to mature each month during the natural cycle in a healthy person of reproductive age. Usually, only one egg develops to the point where it can ovulate. A woman administers injectable hormones throughout her IVF cycle to encourage the batch of eggs to mature all at once. This is done to ensure that she has multiple eggs instead of just one (as in a natural cycle).
A patient’s medical history, age, anti-mullerian hormonal level, and reaction to ovarian stimulation during prior IVF cycles, are all taken into account when determining the type, dosage, and frequency of drugs given during IVF. Other steps included in this are monitoring and administering a trigger shot.
Through a woman’s vagina, the doctor inserts a tiny needle into each of their ovaries to collect all the eggs using suction equipment that is attached to the needle. For this treatment, mild anaesthesia and medication are given to minimise discomfort.
The embryologist will attempt to fertilize all the mature eggs using intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI, after the egg retrieval operation. This implies that each developed egg will get a sperm injection for possible fertilization. The fertilized eggs then develop into an embryo.
The doctor carefully monitors the growth of the embryos over the next 5-6. Before it can be transferred to the uterus, the embryo must clear several trials. On the fifth or sixth day after fertilization, all embryos that are viable for transfer are frozen in preparation for upcoming transfers.
There are two types of embryo transfer: fresh embryo and frozen embryo transfer. Depending on the circumstances, a doctor helps the patient determine whether fresh or frozen embryos are ideal for them.
When the embryo embeds itself in the uterine lining, a pregnancy results. About 9 to 14 days following embryo transfer, the doctor performs a blood test to see if a woman is pregnant.
What are the risks of IVF?
Some of the risks associated with IVF include:
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Multiple births
- Premature delivery
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
IVF is a fertility treatment used by those who have underlying medical conditions, are beyond their reproductive age, or are facing infertility. If you are considering IVF, request an appointment at Apollo Fertility, Amritsar, by calling 1800-500-4424.
Some common side effects of IVF include: • Headaches • Nausea • Hot flashes • Vomiting • Enlargement of ovaries • Abdominal pain
Pregnancy conceived through IVF is not always regarded as high-risk. However, if one of the partners is at high risk due to certain medical issues, then the pregnancy will be regarded as high risk.
After embryo transfer, it takes 9 to 14 days to do a pregnancy test. Depending on the procedure or fertility clinic, the timing could change.
The majority of treatment facilities advise waiting for one full cycle between IVF treatments.
Yes, one can choose the sex of their child during IVF. The cells of an embryo can be examined, also known as embryonic testing, to determine if it contains male or female chromosomes, prior to being placed inside the uterus.