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In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a process of fertilization where an egg is combined with sperm outside the body, in vitro ("in glass"). The process involves monitoring and stimulating a woman's ovulatory process, removing an ovum or ova (egg or eggs) from the woman's ovaries and letting sperm fertilize them in a liquid in a laboratory. After the fertilized egg (zygote) undergoes embryo culture for 2–6 days, it is implanted in the same or another woman's uterus, with the intention of establishing a successful pregnancy.
Starting the IVF treatment process can be an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. Usually, IVF is pursued only after other fertility treatments have failed. You may have been trying to conceive for months or, more likely, for years and years.
But this is not always the case. Sometimes, IVF is the very first treatment tried.
Infertility issues for which IVF may be necessary include:
Parents may also choose IVF if they run the risk of passing a genetic disorder on to their offspring. A medical lab can test the embryos for genetic abnormalities. Then, a doctor only implants embryos without genetic defects.
Preliminary testing is significant in helping your doctor devise a personalised treatment plan best suited for your condition.
There are five steps involved in IVF:
A woman normally produces one egg during each menstrual cycle. However, IVF requires multiple eggs. Using multiple eggs increases the chances of developing a viable embryo. You’ll receive fertility drugs to increase the number of eggs your body produces. During this time, your doctor will perform regular blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor the production of eggs and to let your doctor know when to retrieve them.
Egg retrieval is known as follicular aspiration. It’s a surgical procedure performed with anesthesia. Your doctor will use an ultrasound wand to guide a needle through your vagina, into your ovary, and into an egg-containing follicle. The needle will suction eggs and fluid out of each follicle.
The male partner will now need to give a semen sample. A technician will mix the sperm with the eggs in a petri dish. If that doesn’t produce embryos, your doctor may decide to use ICSI.
Your doctor will monitor the fertilized eggs to ensure that they’re dividing and developing. The embryos may undergo testing for genetic conditions at this time.
When the embryos are big enough, they can be implanted. This normally occurs three to five days after fertilization. Implantation involves inserting a thin tube called a catheter inserted into your vagina, past your cervix, and into your uterus. Your doctor then releases the embryo into your uterus.
Pregnancy occurs when the embryo implants itself in the uterine wall. This can take 6 to 10 days. A blood test will determine if you’re pregnant.
Like all medications and medical procedures, IVF has some risks and possible side effects. These include:
IVF can also be difficult emotionally, both for the person having the procedures and for their partner and/or family. Many people doing IVF treatments struggle with depression and anxiety throughout the process.
Talking with people who’ve been through fertility struggles and IVF can be really helpful if you’re feeling overwhelmed or discouraged. Online and in-person communities are also good places to meet people who understand what you’re going through and can offer advice and support. Counselors and therapists can also be sources of comfort.
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is the most commonly implemented Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), and has helped thousands to realize their dreams of parenthood. The clearest advantage of IVF treatment is that it provides previously infertile couples the opportunity to conceive children of their own, but there are many additional IVF benefits. The doctors at the Fertility Institute can help you understand the procedure and decide if it is the right treatment for you. If you have been having trouble trying to conceive and would like to find a safe and effective treatment that can help you achieve your goal.
IVF can provide hope for patients facing many different causes of infertility. Women with damage or blockages in their fallopian tubes have very low chances of becoming pregnant without fertility treatment, but IVF can circumvent this issue.
Men who have a low sperm count or issues with sperm motility may have difficulty fertilizing their partner's eggs. Because the fertilization step takes place outside the body during IVF treatment, it provides a solution that bypasses the need for the male's sperm to navigate the woman's reproductive tract.
For couples who are concerned about passing on genetic disorders or chromosomal abnormalities to their children, IVF allows for Pre-implantation Genetic Screening (PGS). PGS tests the health of the fertilized embryo by sequencing the DNA to determine if an abnormal chromosome is present.
One cycle of IVF with one embryo transferred and one additional cycle of one frozen embryo transfer has the added effect of having the highest success rate with the lowest multiple birth rate of any ART treatment. IVF may not work for everyone, but the cycle can be repeated to ensure that the procedure is being performed under optimal conditions.
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