In vitro fertilization or IVF treatment is one of the most common methods of infertility treatment. IVF increases a couple’s chance of becoming pregnant. It is an assisted reproductive technology, where fertilisation occurs outside the body, therefore called “in vitro” or “test tube” babies. Therefore, it is a process of fertilization by extracting eggs and retrieving a sperm sample. The egg and sperm are then manually combined egg in a laboratory dish in order to facilitate this process. The resulting embryos are then inserted into the uterus.
One of the key assets of IVF is that it can overcome certain infertility issues. IVF can maximise the chance of fertilisation by assisting it. The advanced technology allows selection of the embryo with the most potential to make it to pregnancy. If you choose to go for an IVF, make sure the lab is state-of-the-art.
IVF is recommended to overcome the following issues of infertility or subfertility
- Issues with Fallopian Tube – damaged or blocked.
- Male infertility such as reduced sperm count or motility.
- Ovulation disorders such as premature ovarian failure.
- Certain genetic disorders.
- Unexplained infertility (Read our blog on ‘Unexplained Fertility’ to understand more)
There are several stages in IVF and these are as follows…
Stage 1: Ovulation Induction
For IVF, we need multiple eggs and to facilitate this, fertility medicines are prescribed in order to stimulate egg production. Ultrasound tests examine the ovaries to assess the response to medication. Blood tests might be suggested in some patients to check hormone levels.
Stage 2: Egg Retrieval
A minor surgical procedure is used to retrieve the eggs. This procedure uses ultrasound imaging in order to guide a hollow needle through the virgina or the pelvic cavity, to remove the eggs. This process is done under anaesthesia.
Stage 3: Sperm Collection
The sperm sample is collected from the husband, required for the fertilization.
Stage 4: Fertilisation
After securing a sperm sample, the most active sperm is selected and mixed with the egg in a special chamber. This sample is stored in an incubator to encourage fertilization. There are some patients who have a lower probability of fertilization. For such patients, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be used. Through this procedure, a single sperm is injected directly into the egg in an attempt to achieve fertilization. The eggs are monitored to confirm that fertilization and cell division are taking place. Once this occurs, the fertilized eggs are considered as embryos.
Stage 5: Embryo Transfer and Implantation
This is the final step of the process, the embryos are examined and the healthiest ones are selected for transfer. The embryos are usually transferred into the woman’s uterus after three to five days, following egg retrieval and egg fertilization. The embryos are transferred via a small plastic tube placed through the cervix into the uterine cavity.
After the embryo transfer process is completed, the patient can go home and carry on with usual daily activities. Working women, can go back to work from the next day. We do not advise bed rest as this does not increase success rates. Success rates for IVF for one cycle at MotherTobe are close to 50%. This essentially means that some couples may need more than one IVF treatment cycle to conceive.
Find out more about the procedure and clinics and choose carefully. We hope this information is helpful. For a more detailed discussion, Book Appointment here.