In Vitro Fertilization or IVF is a process used to treat infertility where an egg is combined with sperm outside the body. After the eggs are fertilized outside the body, they are transferred in the woman’s uterus. Once the embryo implants in the woman’s uterus, normal course of pregnancy continues.
Today the term ‘In Vitro Fertilization’ or IVF has become very common, thanks to the remarkable success rate the IVF procedures have achieved world-wide. It was Physiologist Robert G Edwards who has pioneered the development of the IVF procedure. Louise Joy Brown, born in England in 1978, was the first baby born using the IVF technique. Over the years, the IVF procedure has become more and more refined and advanced. As per an estimate of 2012, 5 million children had been born worldwide using IVF and other infertility treatment methods.
Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART)
IVF is used when natural conception fails, and other less invasive fertility treatment options does not give intended results. Hence it is a form of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) where special medical techniques are used to help a woman get pregnant. It is in fact the most common option of ART.
When to choose IVF
It is the most effective treatment option for many types of infertility issues including the following:
It is also a primary choice of fertility treatment for woman over the age of 40 years.
IVF – The Procedure
IVF can be done using your own eggs and your partner’s sperm. Or IVF can be done using eggs, sperm or embryos from a known or anonymous donor. A number of screening tests are performed before your IVF cycle is started. An IVF cycle starts when ovulation drugs are given and lasts till embryo is transferred to the woman’s uterus. Sometimes, a couple might have to try multiple cycles of IVF to get desired results. Your ovulation is carefully monitored and stimulated by doctors and the eggs are taken out just before they emerge from the follicles in the ovaries. Timing plays a very important role in taking out the eggs. Your partner will be asked to donate the sperm the same day. A healthy sperm will be chosen for the procedure. The eggs and sperms are then mixed in a culture dish (in the laboratory) where fertilization takes place. The fertilized eggs are kept in observation for few days. When it reaches an advanced blastocyst stage (stage which is optimal to introduce inside the uterus), you will be called back to the hospital so that doctors can place the fertilized egg(s) into your uterus. Your fertility specialist will monitor your blood levels to assess the quality of the uterine lining. Pregnancy tests are usually performed after two weeks of embryo transfer. If the pregnancy is positive, you will be asked to get an ultrasound done after two weeks of the result.
Unused Fertilized Eggs or Embryos
Any embryos that are not used during the IVF cycle can be either frozen for later use if required or donated to needy couples or you have the choice to ask for destroying it.
IVF Success Rate
The success rate of IVF depends on certain factors like your age, body weight (BMI), and particular fertility problems. Extraordinary advances in clinical practice, laboratory techniques and technologies have made In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) a dependable treatment option.
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