What is IVF?

In vitro fertilization involves mature eggs taken from the ovaries and fertilized with sperm in an IVF laboratory, which if fertilized results in embryos. Then, a procedure is performed to put one or more embryos in a uterus, which is where the embryo grows. The successful completion of a single IVF cycle might take somewhere around 10-14 days. As per individual situations and cases, these steps are broken into several sub-processes to improve the chances of pregnancy and to correct the problems related to the uterus and this might take longer.
Being one of the miracle treatments available to humankind, IVF is the only type of fertility treatment that is categorized as a form of assisted reproductive technology that involves direct manipulation of eggs or embryos and sperm.
IVF can be done using the couples’ eggs and sperm. It might include using eggs, sperm, or embryos of a known or unknown source. In some cases, a gestational carrier–an individual to whom an embryo is transferred to the uterus– could be utilized. This is decided after a proper discussion with the couple based on the problem and the possibility. Permissions and consent are taken before starting the procedure.

 

How to prepare for IVF?

Before IVF, do things that aim to get the body and mind ready for the process. For this, getting correct information from your doctor is more important than relying on information shared on the internet; do not hesitate to ask the doctor any questions about your fertility. Follow a healthy lifestyle by eating a healthy diet and exercising that does not strain your body and refrain from taking substances that are unhealthy, cigarettes, alcohol, etc.

Reduce stress with techniques such as Yoga, Meditation, Deep Breathing, and getting help and support from counseling and support groups. As with any medical treatment, financial planning is also necessary. Last but not least, efforts should be made to keep the channels of communication with your partner wide and open, and the purpose of maintaining schedules regarding medication and appointments should always be kept in mind.

What is the success rate of IVF procedure?

Being a complicated process, the success rate of the IVF procedure is dependent on several critical factors, including:

  • Age of the female taking up the procedure
  • Cause of infertility
  • Quality of the embryo, sperm & egg.

NOTE: It is typically noticed that Younger women have better and higher success rates with IVF.

Also Check – IVF Failure Reasons

Understanding the IVF process

The in vitro fertilization (IVF) process is complicated and carried out at multiple stages. Below are the key stages of the process, broken down for clear understanding.

Initial Consultation & Evaluation

The IVF process initially involves a preliminary appointment and assessment. The couple attends a fertility specialist appointment, where the specialist examines them thoroughly. This process involves a complete hormonal and genetic screening to determine each person’s fertility and the underlying factors.

Ovarian Stimulation

During the IVF process, the female is advised to have hormonal drugs to induce her ovaries to develop multiple fertile eggs. After a few days, additional tests like blood tests and ultrasounds are done to check that the eggs are growing regularly.

Egg Retrieval (Oocyte Aspiration)

Once the female reaches a point where her eggs are fertile and developed, they are removed through surgery. The fertile eggs are then retrieved from the ovaries using an ultrasound-controlled thin needle.

Sperm Collection & Preparation

Following this, the male partner is asked to give a semen sample, and the sperm is processed and utilized to fertilize the eggs by IVF or ICSI technique. If the husband does not have sperms in the semen, a testicular biopsy is performed to retrieve the sperms.

Fertilization

The eggs that were retrieved and the sperms that were prepared beforehand are then infused together for fertilization, following which the implementation of successful embryos takes place.

Embryo Culture & Development

Following this, the embryos are cultured in a unique incubator for a few days, undergoing further cell division and development.

Embryo Grading

Embryos are categorized based on the grade and the number of cells that each has developed. Optimal embryo growth is essential for making the IVF process effective.

Embryo Transfer

Out of the fertilized eggs, the healthy and of most excellent quality are transferred to the female’s womb. A thin catheter is utilized to transfer the embryos directly into the uterus of the woman.

Pregnancy Test & Follow-Up

Several days after the embryo transfer, ideally after 10-14 days, a check-up through a blood test is done to confirm pregnancy. If successful, regular monitoring helps ensure that pregnancy is carried out correctly and healthy progression is achieved.

Who can undergo IVF treatment?

IVF or  in vitro fertilization is frequently advised or is beneficial for individuals and couples dealing with a range of infertility problems, such as:

  • Tubal Factor Infertility: A complication where an egg and a sperm cannot meet due to blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, which is a tubal factor in infertility.
  • Male Factor Infertility: In a situation of low sperm count, low motility, or other sperm-related problems that indicate male factor infertility.
  • Ovulatory disorders: Ovulation that is irregular or nonexistent.
  • Endometriosis: A disorder in which the tissue growing outside the uterus resembles the lining of the uterus.
  • Unexplained Infertility: A situation where, despite careful examination, no particular reason for infertility could be found.
  • Genetic Disorders: To make sure the embryos are free of genetic abnormalities, couples who run the risk of passing on genetic disorders may undergo IVF in conjunction with preimplantation genetic testing (PGT).
  • Single Parents or Same-Sex Couples: Individuals or couples that require donor eggs or sperm to conceive.

After procedure symptoms of IVF

The advice given to you by your doctor before the entire process briefs you on the kind of activities you are allowed to undertake after a successful embryo transfer. However, one may still experience a feeling of fullness or pain; vigorous activities or intercourse may be uncomfortable. It would help if you spoke with your doctor about when you can stop feeling these aftereffects.

Typical Side Effects Of IVF

  • Discharge of a small amount of blood within a few days after the procedure. This majorly happens due to cervix swabbing before embryo transfer.
  • Breast discomfort or pain from hormonal changes such as high estrogen levels.
  • Mild bloating.
  • Mild cramping

What are the risks associated with IVF?

While IVF is a miraculous procedure that offers significant hope among individuals and couples for a successful pregnancy, it also presents a handful of challenges and risks that are worth considering:

  • Emotional and Physical Stress: The process can be demanding and emotionally tiring.
  • Increased chances of Multiple Pregnancies: IVF increases the likelihood of twins or higher-order multiples, which carry higher risks for both mother and babies.
  • Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS): A potential side effect of hormonal stimulation, causing swollen and painful ovaries.

Conclusion

IVF originally became a significant breakthrough in reproductive medicine, as it offered a definite chance for those who have problems with childbearing. ICSI and other technological developments, coupled with tremendous improvement in low-tech support, make the IVF journey possible for hundreds of thousands of people globally to achieve parenthood. With the progression of technology and the constant development of new research, the future of IVF leans more in a positive direction for those willing to build their families.

What is IVF - FAQs

What is IVF treatment?

IVF (in vitro fertilization) is a fertility treatment where eggs and sperm are combined outside the body in a laboratory. It is used by couples or individuals who face difficulties conceiving naturally.

Who needs IVF treatment?

IVF is recommended for couples dealing with infertility due to various factors, such as blocked fallopian tubes, male factor infertility, endometriosis, or unexplained infertility.

Is IVF painful?

The IVF process itself is not typically painful. However, discomfort may occur during procedures like egg retrieval or embryo transfer.

How many injections are required for IVF treatment?

The number of injections varies based on individual needs. However, Typical ovarian stimulation requires daily injections for about 10–14 days to promote multiple egg development and growth.