Studies show that a woman under the age of 35 has a 40% likelihood of conceiving through In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF). A woman around the age of 40 has about 15% possibility. With these success rates, IVF has proven to be a boon for many couples and might prove similar to you.
However, some questions are bound to bother you if you have only recently heard about IVF. Don’t worry! This article will answer them for your better understanding. Keep reading.
What is In Vitro Fertilisation?
IVF or In Vitro Fertilisation is an assistive reproductive technology that involves manually fertilising a sperm with eggs obtained from a woman’s ovaries. The egg fertilised in the process is called an embryo. It is later moved into the uterus of a woman to carry the baby.
The situation may not always occur with real partners. IVF can use donor eggs or sperm with your sperms or eggs for fertilisation. Just like sperms and eggs, a donated embryo might also be used. If required, another woman might carry the baby for you by acting as a surrogate or gestational carrier.
Why is In Vitro Fertilisation done?
Infertility can be caused if your partner is diagnosed with problems related to ovulation, low sperm count, endometriosis, poor egg quality, blocked/damaged fallopian tubes, or uterine fibroids. Some partners may have the problem genetically, while some may even have an unexplained infertility.
In any of such cases, the doctor suggests you regular infertility treatments. These treatments can be anything from fertility drugs to artificial insemination. Artificial insemination involves implanting the sperm directly into the woman’s uterus. In case these do not work, IVF is done. However, IVF is never considered the first resort because of being an expensive and invasive procedure against infertility.
IVF is also opted by couples who wish to alter the genetic makeup of their baby. The lab technician tests the embryos and removes any genetic disorders that might get transferred to the offspring.
What is the process for In Vitro Fertilisation?
The process of In Vitro Fertilisation involves five steps.
For increasing the chances of developing a proper embryo, multiple eggs are required. However, a woman’s body produces only one egg in a menstrual cycle. So, the doctors use fertility drugs to boost the production of eggs in the body. The process is regularly monitored via blood tests and ultrasounds so that the doctor knows when to retrieve the eggs. This whole process is called stimulation.
Next, the doctor retrieves the eggs using a needle that is guided into your vagina through the ovaries. This process is known as egg retrieval.
Further, the male partner gives a semen sample. The lab technician then mixes the sperms with the eggs to develop embryos. This is called insemination.
The fertilised eggs are tested to check if cell division and development is taking place. If yes, these are termed embryos and sent for testing of genetic conditions.
Finally, three to five days after fertilisation, the embryos are planted in the uterus of the woman. The procedure is called successful when the embryo implants itself to the uterine wall in the next six to ten days.
What are the potential complications and side effects of IVF?
Primary complications of the procedure include miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, multiple pregnancies, and infection, bleeding, or damage to the bladder.
Minor side effects include constipation, mild cramping and bloating, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, breast tenderness, and decreased urinary frequency.
For more details, ask us in the comments below. Better still, book a consultation with Dr Sheetal Agarwal for greater clarity.
How can you be prepared?
The first step to getting prepared for IVF is having a proper mindset. You need to keep in mind that IVF is a time-consuming process and might require multiple doctor visits.
You can improve the success rates of getting pregnant with IVF by keeping a check on your health. If you have diabetes or high blood pressure, try to get these under control. Avoid consumption of alcohol or tobacco, and make sure you maintain a healthy weight.
Before the procedure, men will have to undergo sperm testing to analyze the number, size, and shape of sperms in their given semen sample.
Also, the uterus in women will be properly diagnosed with the help of an ultrasound. If required, a scope might be inserted through the vagina into the uterus. This diagnosis helps the doctor ensure that the uterus is in good health. Also, ovarian reserve testing is done to analyze the quality and quantity of one’s eggs.
The procedure of In Vitro Fertilisation is performed after these tests and analysis.
Since multiple embryos may be implanted in the uterus, as a potential parent, you need to be aware that multiple pregnancies are possible. That means you might give birth to twins, triplets, or multiple babies.
The best way to be prepared is to have a detailed conversation with an experienced and trusted doctor. You should have a good connection with her that allows her to give you a proper explanation of the procedure, precautions, and risks.
In case you have any questions, Dr Sheetal Agarwal will help you with specific answers. She is an eminent gynaecologist with 24+ years of experience and is a pleasure to be treated under as per the feedback of her patients. Book a consultation now to clear all your doubts and queries.