In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) is a form of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART). It is simply defined as a process whereby the eggs of a woman are fertilized under certain standard conditions, before being placed back inside her uterus to aid in getting her pregnant. A first step of IVF occurs in a period of three weeks. There are other steps, which take several weeks, making the whole process last for quite a few months. If you are having issues getting pregnant, IVF greatly increases your chances of getting pregnant.
What Causes of Infertility Can IVF Treat?
IVF isn’t always the first line of treatment for couples trying to have a baby. It may be your recommended line of treatment if other lines of treatment didn’t remedy your situation. In Vitro fertilization can also be recommended if the result from diagnosis shows that you or your partner has either of the following;
- Low Sperm Count
- Ovulation Issues
- Poor Quality of Egg
- Issues with the Uterus or Fallopian Tube
- Failure of the sperm to penetrate stay alive in the cervical mucus
- Antibody issue that results in the harm of the sperm or eggs
- A Genetic Disease from the paternal or maternal side
- An unexplained fertility difficulty
What Can I Expect From IVF?
The first stage of the IVF process is basically medication. You would be given fertility medications or injections. These medications or injections are to be taken for a number of months and they help your ovaries create more than a few eggs that are both ripe and set for
fertilization. This is what is referred to as Ovulation Induction. During this stage, it is essential that your doctor keeps track of egg production and measures your hormone levels, so you may get regular ultrasound scans and blood tests. It’s all part of the procedure.
When your ovaries have produced an adequate amount of mature eggs, your doctor then proceeds to take out the eggs from your body. This process is known as Egg Retrieval. Your IVF facility will give you a set of specific instructions to adhere by on the night before and on the very day of the procedure. During this process, it is of essence that you are relaxed, so you will be administered certain medications to help with this. Your eggs would then be retrieved by the doctor and transferred to the Lab where it is mixed with sperm cells from your partner or donor. The eggs and sperm are then stored and observed in a well regulated environment. It is during this phase that fertilization occurs. In a situation whereby the motility of the sperm is low, they may be directly injected into the eggs to stimulate fertilization. At about the time when the cells in the fertilized eggs divide to form embryos, those at the lab monitor the progress.
At exactly 3-5 days after the eggs are retrieved from your body, you would visit the clinic and your doctor will then proceed to carry out the embryo transfer procedure. Embryo Transfer is simply the process of placing one or more embryos into the uterus. This procedure is carried out in your Doctor’s office. It is highly advised that after this process, you take out time to rest for a day or more. For the first 8-10 weeks after the embryo transfer, you will be administered certain medications or shots of a hormone known as progesterone. The progesterone hormone is essential for the survival of the embryo in your uterus.
What are My Chances of Having a Baby with IVF?
The great news is that In Vitro Fertilization is generally successful especially for women under the age of 35. However it is important to note that the success of any IVF procedure is dependent on a number of factors, some of which you have little or no control over and some of which can be enhanced by making healthy lifestyle changes. Below are what factors into you giving birth;
- Maternal Age: This is known to a large extent to determine your chances of actually getting pregnant. Younger women have higher chances of getting pregnant using their own eggs during IVF. This is why women aged 41 and above are oftentimes advised to consider making use of donor eggs during IVF to enhance their likelihood of getting pregnant.
- Lifestyle Factors: Women who are of the habit of smoking usually have fewer eggs retrieved from their body during IVF and are more prone to having miscarriages. The chance for a successful IVF is lowered by 50% for women who smoke. Other lifestyle factors like use of recreational drugs, excessive caffeine intake, obesity, alcohol use and certain medications are known to reduce the chances for women to get pregnant.
- Cause of Infertility: This is another key factor which has an effect on your chances of getting pregnant. Results from a recent study demonstrated that women who have severe cases of endometriosis are less likely to get pregnant when compared with those of whom the cause of their infertility is unexplained.
What are the Side Effects of IVF?
Just like how surgical procedures or the medicines on our shelves at home have attendant side effects, IVF is no exception. Below are the side effects:
- Mild Cramping
- Allergic Reaction to Medications
- Mood Swings
- Bruising from Shots
You can speak with your doctor about these possible side effects or about any concerns you may have. If having accessed your options and you are of the opinion that IVF is what you think you will go for, contact your doctor and discuss more about your options.