Couples who are struggling with infertility find their lives very difficult. First of all, their own issues of not getting pregnant, then the pressure of family and friends on top of it is really troubling. Continuous bombardment of questions thrown at you by all sorts of people asking you of your pregnancy status makes your life a living hell. And if someone else breaks news of their pregnancy or baby birth, you feel sadder for yourself than being happy for them.
Thankfully, the advancement in medical technologies has made it possible for people to have their child in spite of the issues. In fact, fertility treatment has helped millions of couples in getting pregnant. There are several treatment methods for fertility which are implemented. Out of these various methods, IVF has been the most effective and most used. If you are struggling with a similar problem, IVF can help you. But before starting any treatment, you should know about it thoroughly and understand about it. This blog aims at giving information about IVF, how it is implemented and the results of the treatment.
What Is IVF?
All the reproductive methods that are used to treat some infertility condition and help in conceiving a baby are called Assistive Reproductive Technologies (ART). IVF or In Vitro Fertilization is a type of ART that is done to help a woman conceive a child. In IVF, some eggs are retrieved from the woman’s ovaries and similarly, the sperms are retrieved from the male partner. The eggs and sperms are then fertilized in a vitro or dish in a lab to form embryos. The embryos are then transferred to the woman’s uterus or frozen for storage for later usage.
Not always the male and female partners are able to provide their contribution to the IVF. Due to some disease or medical issues, one or both the partners are not able to give their eggs or sperms respectively. In such a case, a donor counterpart is used to develop embryos. The doctor can also implant embryos in a surrogate or gestational carrier. A surrogate mother is the one who carries the baby for you.
In Which Cases Is In Vitro Fertilization Performed?
IVF is a medical procedure that helps couples who are trying to have a baby for a long time but have been unsuccessful. IVF is an invasive procedure which means a small surgery is needed to retrieve eggs from the female and sometimes for taking sperms from the male (in cases where the male is suffering from oligospermia or azoospermia; the condition of low or no sperm) and also the procedure is expensive too. Due to these reasons, the couples hold themselves back from starting IVF.
Before IVF is started, the fertility specialist may suggest you take fertility drugs and hormone injections to boost fertility. As part of the same treatment or as a different one, IUI or intrauterine insemination can also be implemented by the doctor where the sperms are directly transferred into a woman’s uterus.
There are some infertility issues where IVF is really effective and is generally recommended such as:
- Reduced fertility in women of age more than 37 years
- Reduced ovarian reserve or function
- Damaged or blocked fallopian tubes
- Uterine fibroids
- Low or no sperm count in the male
- Presence of sperms with low motility or bad morphology (shape)
- Some unexplained infertility problem
Sometimes it may happen that there is a genetic disorder with the partners. With the help of medical science, it is also possible to transfer embryos that are healthy and free from any genetic disorder. A medical test in the lab can test the embryo for genetic abnormalities. The doctor then, after confirming that the embryos are healthy, transfers the embryos into the woman’s uterus.
Preparation For IVF
Before IVF treatment is started, a number of tests are performed on both the male and female partner to check whether IVF will be successful or not. The woman is tested for her ovarian reserve. A blood sample is taken and tested for FSH or Follicle Stimulating Hormone level. The test is done to check the quality and quantity of the eggs in the woman’s body.
Uterus examination is also necessary. It can be done by either of the two ways – an ultrasound to take the image of the uterus to study it or the doctor may insert a scope into the vagina to view the uterus. This type of test can be a laparoscopy or hysteroscopy. Such tests are done to check the health and structure of the uterus and thus help the doctor to determine the most suitable time and way to implant the embryos into the uterus.
Similarly, males are also tested for various conditions. Usually, a semen sample is taken which I analyzed in the lab for various sperm characteristics like the count of sperm, size and shape of the sperm and their motility or moving capability. If the sperms are analyzed to be weak or damaged, another procedure called the ICSI may be suggested. In ICSI or intracytoplasmic sperm injection, the sperms are directly inserted into the egg.
How Is IVF Performed?
IVF is not a single day procedure. It takes time to test the partners and perform IVF. There are 5 major steps in the IVF procedure. They are as follows.
In a normal state of affairs, a woman produces one egg each month or precisely in each menstrual cycle. But IVF cannot be implemented with only one egg. Multiple eggs means multiple embryos and thus the chances of conceiving a child increase. To do so, the fertility is boosted with the help of fertility drugs and hormone injections. This is called stimulation. During the stimulation period, the doctor monitors the woman regularly with the help of blood tests and ultrasounds, keeping an eye on the production of eggs in the body. This helps to manage the whole process and to determine when to retrieve the eggs.
In the egg retrieval process, the doctor first uses ultrasound to identify the ovaries which, after being stimulated, have clusters of follicles. The doctor guides a needle attached to a catheter gently through the vagina to the ovaries. With the help of light suction, eggs and fluid are sucked out of the follicles. They are then collected in a test tube and handed off to the embryologist.
When the egg retrieval process is complete, the needle is removed from the body. The doctor will then examine the vaginal walls and ovaries for any scarring or bleeding tissues. If there is some bleeding, which is not very common, the doctor will use a cauterizing agent to suppress the bleeding.
The male partner is now needed to give a sample of his semen. The lab technician will then mix the sperms with the eggs in a petri dish to develop them into embryos. If this method doesn’t work, ICSI can be used in which sperms are directly injected into the eggs.
The fertilized eggs thus produced are then kept in culture with continuous observation. The embryologist ensures that the eggs are dividing and fertilizing to form multi-cellular structures. The embryos can then also be tested for their health including genetic disorders.
Normally after 3-4 days, the embryos are big enough to be transferred into the uterus. The developed embryos are screened and tested for being healthy. The healthy embryos are then released into the uterus using a catheter. Pregnancy is successful when the embryo implants itself to the uterine wall. This can take 6 to 10 days.
How Should You Proceed To Take An IVF Treatment?
Deciding to go for IVF is a difficult decision. It is a physically, emotionally and financially stressing process for you. Then also IVF is very effective yet it also has failures. The success rate of IVF is around 40 to 50% for women under the age of 35. For women older than 35 years, the success rate drops down to around 20 to 25%. Speak with your doctor appropriately without holding anything back. The doctor will be able to determine the best options for you.
How Can Aveya IVF Help You In IVF?
Aveya IVF is a renowned medical expert in IVF and fertility treatments. Our doctors are well qualified to handle infertility cases and help the couples out of this painful situation. We are committed to serve patients and it gives us happiness to spread happiness in your lives.