Author Name: Dr. Simrit Mentor Name: Dr. Ritu Punhani on April 07, 2020
In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF) is a boon for childless couples. Every couple would want to have a child at some point of time in their life, however many are deprived of this joy mostly due to some medical reasons. In the past, there was no treatment for most of these couples who yearned for a child, but with the advent of cutting edge equipments and world-class technology, infertility specialists are now able to turn the dreams of most of such couples into a reality.
Infertility can occur in either of the couple and in some cases, the problem may be there in both. IVF is not the first option for treating infertility and patients move through a range of fertility treatments before reaching the IVF “station”, like fertility medications, intrauterine insemination, and so on. IVF is a delicate medical procedure and nowadays many couples turn to it when they are facing fertility issues. In fact, 1 in 7 couples will need some form of fertility assistance in their life.
IVF is a popular technique used for treating infertility today. It was a mystery when introduced first to the world way back in 1978, when babies produced by IVF were known as “test-tube babies” and the first ‘test tube baby’ was Louise Brown, born in England. Since then, the technique of IVF has undergone a major evolution and improved so much so over the years, that even the impossible has become possible.
IVF is very different from the natural and conventional methods of conception. Here the eggs and sperms are combined outside in a laboratory to form the embryos, which are later placed in the uterus. A successful pregnancy and a healthy baby is the biggest benefit of undertaking an IVF procedure. Ever since the firstborn IVF baby in 1978, more than 8 million babies have been born through it.
IVF helps many patients who would be otherwise unable to conceive like the ones with blocked and damaged tubes, older patients with low ovarian reserve, males with impaired sperm production and few other male infertility problems like retrograde ejaculation and erectile dysfunction. Patients with endometriosis, polycystic ovarian disease, ovulatory disturbances, premature ovarian insufficiency and unexplained infertility can also be benefitted with IVF. Fortunately, in most of the conditions mentioned above, patients can resort to IVF directly, with success rates being quite good in present times.
IVF has given a ray of hope to many childless couples enabling them to have their own biological child. Initially the field of reproductive medicine was initiated to help infertile couples, but now with better understanding of the process, it can now be extended to many others who desire help. Nowadays, women can reproduce whenever they decide to or want to and that is because of fertility preservation facility which is called as social egg freezing. Fertility preservation can also be used in all cancer patients before starting chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Of late it is also being used in couples with genetic disorders.
It can be used by surrogate or gestational carriers so a range of people can experience the parenthood like same-sex couples, single women and men and also females who are otherwise unable to carry a baby due to medical reasons. Another benefit of IVF could be that the unused embryos can be donated for research and also to other couples who need it.
To summarize the benefits of IVF are like it can work when the conventional treatments fail, we can use donated sperms and eggs when indicated, we can have control over timing of planning the pregnancy. The chances of having a healthy baby are increased by utilizing pre-implantation genetic testing(PGT) and it also increases the chances of conception and decreases the risk of miscarriage.IVF can be the first option for many couples in the battle of infertility and for whom traditional conception and pregnancy aren’t the options – like in patients with absent uterus, postmenopausal women, azoospermia patients, same-sex couples and women with infertility diagnoses that makes it impossible for the sperm and egg to meet naturally.
Although unfortunately still IVF is often viewed as the last stop on track of infertility. Due to its reduced cost, good success rates and easy availability, it has become accessible and affordable to almost all and should be taken as an early step to embark on the journey of parenthood.
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