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In vitro fertilisation (IVF)
07 Mar 2022
In vitro fertilisation (IVF) image

What is in vitro fertilisation?

IVF stands for in vitro fertilization and is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART). “Fertilisation” means the sperm has mated to and entered the egg, In vitro means outside of the body. As the name implies, it is a method of fertilization that takes place outside of the human body. So in vitro fertilization is a set of techniques to help the conception of a child, to help with fertility, or to prevent genetic abnormalities.

The fertilization of a women’s egg happens inside her body. A baby is born roughly 9 months after the fertilized egg attaches to the uterine lining and continues to grow. The other name for this process is natural or unassisted conception. Hence it is simply the merging of a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm in a laboratory dish is IVF.

Why is IVF used?

IVF aids people who are trying to conceive a child but are unable to do so due to infertility. Because IVF is costly and invasive, many couples try other reproductive therapies at first. So taking fertility medications or undergoing intrauterine insemination are two examples of IVF, a doctor injects sperm straight into a woman’s uterus during this operation.

IVF is mainly helpful for people with:

  • Sperm count or sperm motility: Male infertility problems including decreased sperm count or sperm motility.
  • Women with ovulation disorders:  If ovulation is infrequent or absent, fewer eggs are available for fertilisation
  • Premature ovarian failure
  • Uterine fibroids: Fibroids in the uterus. Fibroids are uterine tumours that are benign. Women between their 30s and 40s are more likely to have them. Fibroids can restrict the fertilised egg from implanting.
  • Women who have had their fallopian tubes removed
  • Genetic disorder: Individuals who are not capable of fertilisation due to genetic disorders
  • Other infertility problems

Your doctor can explain how IVF works, the complications involved, and whether this kind of infertility treatment is right for you.

What are the 5 stages of IVF?

Stimulation 

Fertility drugs are medicines to a woman to help her produce more eggs.

A woman normally produces one egg per month. Fertility medications instruct the ovaries to generate several eggs.

So the woman will have regular transvaginal ultrasounds to assess her ovaries and blood tests to check her hormone levels throughout this stage.

Egg retrieval 

Follicular aspiration is the process of egg removal. Moreover, the woman will be given painkillers. So that she does not experience any discomfort during the process. A small needle is inserted through the vaginal wall into the ovary and sacs (follicles) storing the eggs, using ultrasound pictures as a guide. The needle is attached to a suction device that extracts the eggs and fluid from each follicle one by one.

After the surgery, there may be some cramping, but it should go away within a day.

Insemination and fertilisation

The best quality eggs combine with man’s sperm. Insemination is the process of combining sperm and egg.

The eggs and sperm are then kept in a climate-controlled compartment. A few hours after insemination, the sperm usually enters (fertilizes) an egg.

If the doctor believes there is a poor likelihood of fertilization, then sperm injection straight into the egg takes place. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection is the term for this (ICSI).

Even if everything appears to be normal, many fertility clinics perform ICSI on some of the eggs.

Embryo culture

An embryo formation happens when a fertilized egg divides. The embryo monitoring by laboratory personnel ensures that it is growing properly. A typical embryo has many cells that are actively dividing after roughly 5 days.

The duration of this surgery is usually three to five days following conception. Each embryo is sampled for a single cell or cells, which are then screened for specific genetic diseases.

Embryo transfer

The checking of the uterus then takes place with ultrasound during an embryo transfer. The embryo implantation occurs after that. The woman goes to the clinic ten days later for a blood test to see if she’s pregnant.

How long does it take to get pregnant with IVF?

IVF takes roughly two months to complete. As per studies with their first IVF egg retrieval and subsequent embryo transfer(s), women younger than 35 will get pregnant and have a baby roughly half of the time.

Are IVF babies normal?

The vast majority of studies to date have found that infant growth in IVF-conceived offspring is normal. Premature birth, which is more common in repeated pregnancies, is the leading cause of newborn developmental issues like the formation of twins, etc.

Bottom line

Choosing whether or not to attempt in vitro fertilization, as well as how to proceed after the initial attempt fails, is a difficult decision. 

This procedure can have a financial, physical, and emotional toll. Consult your doctor to learn more about your options and whether in vitro fertilization is the best decision for you and your family.

For more help and support, contact us on 1800 889 2559.

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