In Vitro Fertilization

1 What is an In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?

A type of assistive reproductive technology or ART is called In vitro fertilization (IVF). This is done by getting eggs from the ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm.

The embryo is the name of the fertilized egg. This embryo can be transferred to a woman’s uterus or frozen for storage.

IVF can be used:

  • your eggs and donor sperm
  • your eggs and your partner’s sperm
  • donor eggs and your partner’s sperm
  • donor eggs and donor sperms
  • donated embryos

A surrogate woman can carry the baby for you by implanting the embryos.

The live birth rate for women under the age of 35 undergoing IVF is 41 to 43 percent according to the American Pregnancy Association.

The rate also falls to 13 to 18 percent for women 40 years old and above.

2 Reasons for Procedure

Here are the most common reasons to undergo an In vitro fertilization (IVF).

IVF is mostly used for people with infertility conditions who want to have a baby. This procedure is invasive and at the same time expensive.

Since this is expensive, some of the couples try other fertility treatments first such as intrauterine insemination or fertility drugs.

Intrauterine insemination is when a doctor transfers sperm directly into a woman’s uterus.

Infertility conditions in which IVF might be essential include:

3 Potential Risks

The risks of complications associated with In vitro fertilization (IVF) include:

  • miscarriage
  • multiple pregnancies leading to premature birth and low birth weight
  • infection, bleeding and damage to the bowels or bladder but very rare
  • ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) which a rare condition when there is an excessive fluid in the chest and abdomen
  • ectopic pregnancy
  • ovarian cancer
  • birth defects

4 Preparing for your Procedure

In preparing for your In vitro fertilization (IVF), you must follow your doctor’s orders. 

There is information online regarding U.S. clinics’ individual pregnancy and live birth rates provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology.

Consult your doctor first about the costs related with each step of the procedure.

You and your partner will have to undergo certain screenings such as:

Semen analysis – this is done before the start of an IVF treatment cycle.

Ovarian reserve testing – your doctor will test the concentration of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), antimullerian hormone, and estrogen in your blood to check the quality and quantity of the eggs.

Uterine cavity exam – this procedure might involve ultrasound (to create pictures of the uterine cavity) and Sonohysterography (fluid is injected through the cervix into your uterus), or hysteroscopy by inserting a hysteroscope through your cervix and vagina to the uterus.

Mock embryo transfer – to check the depth of your uterine cavity.

Infectious disease screening – you and your partner will have to be screened if you have any infectious diseases.

5 What to Expect

Read on to learn more about what to expect from your In vitro fertilization (IVF).

The steps involved in IVF include:

Stimulation - your doctor will give you fertility drugs to increase the number of eggs that your body produces because using multiple eggs will increase the chances of developing an embryo, this will be done along with ultrasounds and blood tests to monitor and check the development of the production of eggs.

Egg retrieval – this is also known as follicular aspiration which is done with a general anesthesia. An ultrasound wand will be used by your doctor to guide the needle through your vagina into the ovary and then into the follicle. He will then suction all the fluid and eggs out of each follicle.

Insemination – your partner will have to give a semen sample to your doctor. He will give mix it along with the eggs in a petri dish.

Embryo culture – to ensure that the eggs are dividing and developing, your doctor will monitor the fertilized eggs. He may also recommend genetic testing for the embryos.

Transfer – your doctor will have to wait for the embryos to grow. They can now be implanted once they are large enough. Mostly, this will happen within three to five days after the fertilization.

Your doctor will insert a catheter into your vagina and cervix into your uterus, he will then release the embryo in your uterus.

When the embryo implants itself in the uterine wall, pregnancy occurs. Mostly this will take up to ten days. Your doctor will conduct a blood test to check if you are now pregnant.

6 Procedure Results

If you do not understand your In vitro fertilization (IVF) results, consult with your doctor.

Your doctor will conduct a blood test to check if you are pregnant after two weeks of egg retrieval. If you are pregnant he will refer you to a pregnancy specialist for prenatal care.

If you are not pregnant you will likely to have menstruation after a week. Your doctor will recommend on how to improve the chances of you being pregnant if you still want to try another cycle.

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