In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a type of assisted reproductive technology. It involves taking eggs from a woman’s ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm. This fertilized egg is called an embryo. The embryo can then be frozen for storage or transferred to a woman’s uterus.
IVF helps infertility patients who want to have a baby. Infertility issues for which IVF may be necessary include decreased fertility in women over 40, blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, decreased ovarian function, male infertility such as endometriosis, uterine fibroids, low sperm count or abnormalities in sperm shape, and unexplained infertility.
Parents may opt for IVF if they are at risk of passing a genetic disorder on to their children. In the medical laboratory, genetic abnormalities of embryos can be detected. In this way, embryos that do not have genetic defects can be transferred to have a healthy baby.
TESTS TO BE DONE BEFORE IVF TREATMENT
Before starting IVF, women first undergo an ovarian reserve test. This includes taking a blood sample and testing it for follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) level. The results of this test give information about the size and quality of your eggs.
In IVF treatment, your uterus is also examined. It may involve ultrasound, which uses high-frequency sound waves to view your uterus. This process reveals the health of your uterus and helps the doctor determine the best way to place the embryos.
Men should also have a sperm test. This test involves giving a semen sample that the lab will analyze for the number, size, and shape of the sperm. A procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be necessary if the sperm are weak or damaged. In the ICSI procedure, the sperm is injected directly into the egg. ICSI can be part of the IVF process.
HOW IS A IVF MADE?
There are five steps involved in IVF: stimulation, egg collection, fertilization, embryo culture, and transfer.
Every woman normally produces one egg during each menstrual cycle. However, IVF requires more than one egg. Using more than one egg increases the chances of developing a viable embryo. You may need to take fertility drugs to increase the number of eggs your body produces. During this time, your doctor will do regular blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor egg production and learn about when to retrieve them.
Egg retrieval is known as follicular aspiration. It is a surgical procedure performed with anesthesia. This procedure uses an ultrasound wand to guide a needle through your vagina, into your ovary, and into a follicle containing an egg. The needle collects the eggs and fluid from each follicle.
Sperm is taken from the father-to-be. It is combined with sperm and eggs in a laboratory environment. The fertilized egg is followed. The resulting embryos can be tested for genetic conditions.
Once the embryos are large enough, they can be implanted. This normally happens three to five days after fertilization. Implantation involves inserting a thin tube, called a catheter, into your vagina, past your cervix and into your uterus.
Pregnancy occurs when the embryo implants itself into the uterine wall. This can take 6 to 10 days. A blood test determines whether you are pregnant.
The process after this stage proceeds in the same way as natural pregnancy. In order to get more detailed information about IVF treatment, it is necessary to get support from a doctor who is an expert in the field.