IVF Explained, Step-By-Step, By A Fertility Specialist
The joy of becoming parents is incomparable and a dream that most individuals would like to achieve at some point in their lives.
However, with changing times, erratic lifestyles, late marriages, getting busy shaping careers, etc. couples face different infertility issues.
According to The Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction, infertility currently affects about 10 to 14 percent of the Indian population, with higher rates in urban areas where one out of six couple is impacted.
While there can be multiple reasons for infertility including clinical and genetics, infertility has impacted both men and women equally.
Breath And Beats caught up with Dr. Aviva Pinto Rodrigues, MD (OBG), Fertility Consultant, Nova IVF Fertility, Bangalore to help a common person understand about the IVF treatment procedure.
IVF – In Vitro Fertilization
In Vitro Fertilization is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) commonly referred to as IVF.
IVF treatments as the best form of assisted reproduction has paved way for many couples towards a blissful parenthood.
It is the process of fertilization, by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and then manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish by highly trained professionals.
The embryo is then transferred to the uterus once it has been formed. Pregnancy occurs if the embryo implants in the lining of the uterus.
Below mentioned are the basic steps and processes of IVF:
Step 1: Induced ovulation
Medicines, called fertility drugs, are given to the woman to stimulate the growth of follicles in the ovaries that contain oocytes.
The patient will need to take regular transvaginal ultrasounds to examine the ovaries and blood tests to check hormone levels.
Step 2: Egg retrieval
Egg retrieval is done with the help of a minor surgical procedure called follicular aspiration.
Using ultrasound images as a guide, the doctor inserts a thin needle, attached to a transvaginal ultrasound probe through the vagina and into the ovary and (follicles) containing the eggs.
The needle is attached to a suction device, which extracts the eggs and fluid out of each follicle, one at a time.
This procedure is repeated for the other ovary as more eggs are retrieved. The patient might experience some cramping after the procedure, but it is expected to go away within a day.
Step 3: Insemination and Fertilization
The combining of the sperm and egg is called insemination.
The eggs and sperm are then stored in an environmentally controlled container for fertilization.
The sperm most often fertilizes an egg a few hours after the insemination is done.
For the sperms that have lower motility, they are injected with an intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) directly into the eggs.
This is done to hasten and promote the process of fertilization.
Many fertility clinics or hospitals routinely carry out ICSI on the eggs, even if things appear to be normal.
Step 4: Embryo culture
Post the insemination, the fertilized egg divides, it forms an embryo.
The laboratory staff or doctor will regularly monitor the embryo to make sure it is growing properly.
Within about 5 days of insemination, a normal embryo has several cells that actively divide.
Couples who have a high risk of passing a genetic (hereditary) disorder to the child, may consider pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD).
The procedure is undertaken about 3 to 4 days after fertilization. Pregnancy happens if any of the embryos attach to the lining of the uterus.
Step 5: Embryo transfer
The embryos are positioned into the womans womb 3 to 5 days after egg retrieval, insemination and fertilization.
The procedure is done in the doctors office while the woman is awake. The doctor inserts a thin tube (catheter) containing the embryos into the womans vagina, through the cervix, and up into the womb.
If an embryo implants in the lining of the womb and grows, it results in pregnancy.
How Successful is IVF?
The success of the process depends on a number of factors. This includes the reproductive history, maternal age, health, the cause of infertility, and other lifestyle factors.
Women under age 35 have the highest success rate in getting pregnant.
The IVF process has a considerably lower success rate for women over the age of 45. This implies that patients may have to try and go through the cycle again and again.
How to choose an infertility clinic?
It is imperative to opt for a reputed hospital that can provide safety, and follows all the safety protocols to avoid Covid-19 infections.
It is crucial to make a mindful choice and taking all aspects into consideration.
No compromise must be made on the hygiene and safety standards.
Role of technology is important, especially in the laboratories which is the backbone of any good fertility hospital. Therefore a state of the art laboratory and cutting edge technology can make significant impact in IVF treatments.
The IVF Cost in India normally ranges between 1 to 1.75 Lakh per cycle. This includes all surgical and diagnostic procedures, test, and treatments.
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