Home > What is In Vitro Fertilization

By Priyeta Das, Embryologist on January 2, 2020

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF): What is it and Who should opt for it

Infertility, often looked upon as a social stigma in our country and being hushed about, is something that bothers a lot of couples. If you and your partner are trying to conceive but have not been successful yet, you are not alone. The Indian Society of Assisted Reproduction estimates that nearly 10-14% of Indian couples have trouble conceiving. Fertility struggles are really where the results are complicated, unpredictable and are definitely not a straight- forward path. In such cases, I hope to shed some light on one of the major fertility treatments available in our centres and thus, help you understand your options better.

What is IVF?

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process of fertilizing the oocytes retrieved from the ovaries with spermatozoa outside the body in controlled conditions inside the laboratory. Then the fertilized egg(s) or embryo(s) are transferred to the uterus. The procedure can be done either using your own oocytes and your partner’s spermatozoa, or it can use gametes or embryos from a donor.

What exactly happens inside the lab?

You decide to bring a new life into this world with the help of IVF and therefore, visit your gynaecologist. Your doctor puts you on a treatment regimen where he/she prescribes you various medications so that multiple eggs can mature simultaneously unlike your regular menstrual cycle where one egg is ovulated every month. Then, on the day of the procedure, your eggs are collected in a surgical procedure while you are mildly sedated so that you do not feel any discomfort during the procedure.

After your eggs have been collected, the sperm sample is collected from your partner and then processed in a special manner to extract the best possible pool of spermatozoa to fertilize your eggs. Then the sperm is injected into the oocyte through a technique called Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) and then it is carefully monitored for the next five days under an extremely controlled environment so that the whichever embryos have formed during this time has the greatest chance of starting a new life successfully.

The embryos are then transferred into your uterus. This is where the anticipation heightens because it is two weekslong waits to know if the embryos have successfully implanted and if pregnancy has been achieved.

A couples’ chance of conceiving and giving birth to a child depends on various factors such as:

  • Maternal age > 35 years
  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  • Block in either one or both the fallopian tubes
  • Uterine fibroids
  • Compromised sperm quality
  • Varicocele
  • History of genetic disorders
  • Lifestyle factors
  • Environmental and occupational hazards
  • Unexplained fertility
  • Embryo status

Before opting for IVF, there are several other treatment methods available failing which IVF is offered to the couple as the last resort. It is performed after several other treatment cycles, such as the use of certain drugs to enhance the number of eggs and planning the intercourse accordingly. Or trying a couple of number of intrauterine insemination cycles in which spermatozoa are directly transferred into the uterus.

When should IVF be the primary course of treatment?

  • Reduced chances of pregnancy with IUI
  • Damage to the fallopian tubes
  • Moderate to severe endometriosis
  • Pelvic adhesions
  • Severe male factor infertility
  • Advanced maternal age
  • Poor ovarian reserve
  • Fertility preservation before commencing chemotherapy or radiation therapy

The choice of IUI or IVF should be made by each patient in consultation with their fertility specialist. That way you are more likely to get a balanced opinion.

What are the risks associated with IVF?

  • Multiple births
  • Premature delivery and low birth weight
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
  • Miscarriage
  • Egg-retrieval procedure complications
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Cancer
  • Stress

IVF is known to be more successful than any other infertility treatment available. IVF can now also provide access to the genetic status of the embryos formed. Moreover, you also have the choice of selecting the number of embryos to be transferred in one attempt. If you have surplus embryos formed, you also have the option of freezing them so that if you wish to conceive another child with the help of an IVF cycle, at a later stage, you would not have to go through the entire process all over again.

The decision to opt for fertility treatment or not is a grueling choice made after complete consultation with a fertility expert. Yes, IVF is a tough row to hoe. It requires time and patience and it surely is a difficult path to tread on. But all that you go through during IVF treatment, is truly worth the pain and effort when you hear the first cry of your own creation. That moment will always remain priceless.

At Indira IVF and fertility center, our fertility experts are keen to help and resolve all your queries related to infertility or IVF. You can book your appointment for a free consultation now.

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Talk to the best team of fertility experts in the country today for all your pregnancy and fertility-related queries.

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