IVF is the most effective form of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) and involves a series of steps to treat infertility. In IVF, the egg is combined with the sperm outside the woman’s body preferably in a laboratory. To put it in simple words, it involves extraction of the eggs from the ovary, then fertilizing it with the sperm of the male partner in the laboratory resulting in the formation of embryos. Of these embryos the best ones are transferred back to the female partner’s body wherein it continues to grow for the remaining 9 months of pregnancy. Louise Brown was the first test tube baby born through IVF in 1978 in England. Nearly 5 million babies are born through IVF all over the world.
It is a time consuming, expensive and invasive procedure and is often employed when all the other methods of treatment have failed. IVF uses the couple’s own eggs and sperm but donor eggs and sperm may also be used if required with prior consent from the couple.
Ideal Candidate for IVF
Usually IVF is done after attempting all lesser invasive methods of treatment. Advised mostly in women above 40 or when couples experience any of the below mentioned problems.
- Fallopian Tube Block or Damage: posing threats for fertilization of eggs or movement of embryo to the uterus.
- Ovulation Disorders that results in fewer eggs availability for fertilization.
- Premature Ovarian Failure when the ovaries stop functioning by the age of 40 resulting in non-availability of eggs.
- Endometriosis i.e. growth of the uterine lining outside the uterus for example on the ovaries
- Uterine Fibroids that hampers the implantation of the embryo to the uterus.
- Tubal Ligation done wherein the fallopian tubes have been cut or sealed
- Problems with Sperm
- Risk of transmitting a genetic condition then embryos obtained through IVF can be screened for genetic disorders before transferring into the uterus.
- Treatments for cancer such as radiation or chemotherapy may impair your fertility. In such cases fertility can be preserved by storing embryos for later use.
Momsoon employs the latest state of the art technologies and procedures available today in the field of ART and has achieved remarkable success rates in IVF treatment. Let us have a look at the procedure involved:
Step 1: Controlled Ovarian Hyper Stimulation
Medication is administered to the female partner that stimulates the formation of multiple follicles and eggs. In a woman’s natural cycle only one egg is formed per month but as a result of stimulation multiple eggs are generated. Regular blood tests are carried out to monitor the hormone levels in addition to ultra sounds during this period.
Step 2: Retrieval of Eggs
The eggs are retrieved from each of the ovaries using a technique called follicular aspiration. This may cause little inconvenience like cramping for a couple of days. Donor eggs are used in case a woman is not able to produce eggs.
Step 3: Fertilization
The best quality eggs are selected and the sperm is placed next to it in a chamber that is environmentally controlled. Here the sperm enters or fertilizes the egg. In case our fertility specialist feels that the chances of the sperm to fertilize the egg are very low, they inject the sperm into the egg. This procedure is known as Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection or ICSI.
Step 4: Embryo Culture On fertilization, the egg divides repeatedly to form an embryo. The growth of this embryo is closely monitored in our laboratory. In cases where there is an associated risk of genetic disorders the embryos are screened within 3-4 days of fertilization
Step 5: Embryo Transfer This step involves transferring the best embryos into the womb 3-5 days after fertilization. Unused, healthy embryos are stored for future use if required.
You may be asked to restrain from any activities for the rest of the day, the embryos are implanted. But you may get back to normal work from the next day onwards. You would be put on a medication of progesterone pills or shots daily for a period of 8-10 weeks after the embryo transfer. This reduces the risk of miscarriage by ensuring that the embryos get implanted to the uterus easily. Pregnancy tests are carried out approximately 12-14 days after the procedure.
Risks These are some of the risks associated with the procedure
- IVF also carries the risk of multiple pregnancies when more than one embryo gets implanted into the uterus.
- Invasive and expensive procedure.