IVF is the union of an egg and sperm in artificial conditions in a laboratory. The union of an egg and sperm results in the formation of an embryo. The embryo is transferred to the uterus which if accepted results in a pregnancy. This process of IVF is done in conjunction with fertility drugs along with monitoring of hormone levels through blood tests and follicle scans with ultrasound.
With a nearly 20-year history, in vitro fertilization, or IVF, is not a new concept, but its components are very complex. In general, IVF refers to assisted reproduction, during which a man’s sperm is combined with a woman’s egg outside of the body.
In a lab setting, the fertilization process is overseen by professionals. Once an embryo is achieved, it can then be transferred into a woman’s uterus, where subsequent development can occur naturally.
Although many factors can influence the ultimate outcome of IVF, the process has resulted in numerous successes. In fact, in the United States alone, IVF has been the source of more than 45,000 babies. Parents could be comforted to know that babies conceived through IVF are no more likely to suffer birth defects than children conceived naturally.
In vitro fertilization is a way to bypass negative issues related to normal conception. The female body might be incapable of fostering fertilization because it does not allow sperm to reach the egg. If mucus levels are too low, for example, sperm cannot survive. The same is true for mucus levels that are too high. In some cases, the body will actually fight against the sperm cells with antibodies. IVF eliminates sperm’s exposure to such hostile environments.
In other scenarios, the egg might be unable to find its way into the uterus, or it may have difficultly implanting in the uterine lining. One example is a blocked fallopian tube which prevents the egg from properly leaving the ovary. IVF can move the egg’s fertilization and development beyond some of the trickier phases of fertilization so that later development can occur.
Our team is dedicated in helping you achieve your goal of taking a baby home. At your initial consultation we evaluate you completely to decide which mode of treatment is best suitable for you. A detailed medical and surgical (past and present) history of the couple is taken. This is followed by medical examination and infertility evaluation. We request a semen analysis as part of baseline investigation and evaluate the tubes if necessary in the female partner as part of our preliminary investigation. Baseline hormonal profile (FSH, LH, Thyroid profile, Prolactin, etc.) is also evaluated, if required.
The outcome of the examination and investigation decides the best course of action and nature of the procedure to be undertaken. There are various fertility enhancing procedures that may help you to achieve a pregnancy and a decision is taken after the initial assessment.
An IVF cycle begins with ovarian stimulation wherein a woman begins fertility medications to encourage the development of eggs within her ovaries. The aim of ovarian stimulation is to be able to retrieve multiple eggs so that a substantial number of good quality embryos are available for transfer. During ovarian stimulation, the patient is monitored with the help of ultrasound and hormone testing. Once the growing follicles attain the required size, ovulation is induced and ultrasound guided ‘egg retrieval’ is performed 36 hours after hCG administration.
Egg retrieval is a minor surgical procedure that can be performed as a day care procedure. It generally takes about half an hour and requires general anaesthesia. With the help of a vaginal ultrasound a needle is directed through the vagina and into the ovarian follicles. From here, the eggs are easily retrieved. No cuts or stitches are given during the procedure.