Where to Start with IVF – Overview
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is an excellent and effective way to conceive for infertile couples. People all over the world celebrate IVF day on the 25th of July every year, which is the celebration of the birth of Louise Joy Brown in 1978, the first baby born using the IVF method.
Today, IVF is one of the most common and successful ways to conceive for couples with fertility and potency problems all over the world.
What is IVF?
IVF is a medical procedure designed to help with infertility issues and assist in the successful conception of a child. Initially, the woman has been prescribed fertility medications that stimulate the ovaries to cause several eggs to mature simultaneously.
The patient is carefully monitored throughout this stage with blood tests and ultrasound scans.
Once the eggs reach maturity, they are carefully retrieved from the ovaries after administering light anesthesia to the woman, using a fine needle with ultrasound assistance.
The retrieved eggs are then carefully fertilized with sperm that is already cleaned and washed, in a culture medium in a lab.
The fertilized eggs usually develop into embryos within 3 to 5 days. These embryos are then carefully transferred back into the woman’s uterus or womb for planting.
The success of conception and pregnancy depends on the embryo attaching itself successfully to the endometrium or uterus lining. Doctors can also freeze and store the mature eggs or the embryo for use in the future.
The entire IVF procedure may take anywhere between 4 to 7 weeks to show results.
How Successful is IVF?
The success rate of IVF procedures usually depends on factors, such as age, duration and cause of infertility, eggs and sperm quality along with other health issues that the patient may have.
A big factor is age as the success rate for women under 35 years is higher. This success rate tends to rapidly decrease as the age progresses, and goes down drastically after a woman has reached 40 years of age. The reason is that the quality and quantity of eggs during this age become incredibly low.
Besides this, there are several other health problems, like PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), diabetes, etc. that can affect conception.
Studies have shown that obesity decreases the chances of success and it is strongly recommended to follow a nutritional diet and exercise regularly to improve the chances of conception.
A woman may also suffer from infertility case they suffer from complications from PCOS, which usually affects the hormone levels in the body and affect the monthly reproductive cycle. This condition can also be remedied with a healthy diet, regular exercise and certain medications.
In case the sperm motility is slow, the doctor may recommend the ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) procedure which can directly inject the sperm cells, into the egg using a long fine needle to assist in fertilization.
Besides this, laser-assisted hatching is also used. This procedure helps to create a small gap in the outer shell of the embryo to make it easier to implant the embryo. Thus, numerous challenges have been overcome to ensure a higher success rate for IVF treatments worldwide.
The success rate of an IVF procedure will also depend on the clinic you choose. If the clinic has the proper equipment and expertise, the success rate of IVF treatment is higher. You can enhance the success rate of an IVF procedure even more by maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
Are there Any Side Effects of IVF?
IVF procedure is generally very safe, but there is potential for some side effects.
For instance, there may be hormonal imbalance which can lead to mood swings, irritability, hot flashes, depression, breast tenderness, nausea, and bruising at the injection sites. Slight cramps or abdominal pain may be experienced after egg retrieval.
In rare cases, the patient may experience ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) which can cause nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and severe stomach ache.
Today, thanks to improvements in treatment procedures, most patients experience no real pain throughout the entirety of the IVF procedure. There may be instances of bloating initially, but this also subsides quickly.
Overall, the potential risk is easily overcome by the immense fruits of a successful IVF procedure. Make sure to choose a fertility clinic that can prove it has the best-equipped facilities and the most experienced fertility specialists on board.