In-vitro-Fertilization (IVF) is a common infertility treatment. During this process or procedure, an IVF fertility doctor collects some eggs from the ovaries using a small needle and fertilizes them with the sperm of the male partner or a donor, depending upon the patient’s circumstances. It is done in a specialized lab under the doctor’s supervision. After fertilization is completed, the eggs finally develop into embryos. These embryos are then re-implanted into the woman’s uterus after a span of three to five days. This is a brief explanation of the IVF treatment. Let us elaborate it further to let you know IVF in detail which might help you in making your decisions.
The cycle which is a must before your IVF treatment is scheduled. You may be put on birth control pills which may seem backwards—when you’re trying to get pregnant and you wait for your period to start. The process is accelerated through the use of birth control pills. Before a treatment cycle has been shown to potentially improve your odds of success. Also, it may decrease your risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome and ovarian cysts.
If you don’t get your cycles on your own, your doctor may take yet another approach. In cases like this, he may prescribe progesterone in some form or another. This would bring on your period.
The ultrasound is to check the size of your ovaries. Your doctor will also look for ovarian cysts. If there are cysts, your doctor will decide how to deal with them. Sometimes your treatment can be delayed by the doctor for a week. It must be noted that most cysts can resolve by themselves over a short period of time. In other cases, your doctor may suck out the fluid or the cyst, with a needle.
If all the tests prove to be fine and if everything looks fine, treatment is.
Fertility medications are prescribed to stimulate egg production. The eggs must complete their growth and development before they can be retrieved.
This last growth is triggered by human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). Timing this shot is vital. If it’s given too early, the eggs will not have matured enough. If given too late, the eggs may be “too old” and won’t fertilize properly. Multiple eggs are desired because some eggs will not develop or fertilize after retrieval.
Blood test samples are taken to check hormone levels and a transvaginal ultrasound can be done to examine the progress of the ovaries.
About 34 to 36 hours after you receive the hCG shot, the egg retrieval will take place. a light sedative will be given to you to help you feel relaxed and pain-free.
Eggs are retrieved through a minor surgical procedure that uses ultrasound imaging to guide a hollow needle through the pelvic cavity to remove the eggs. Medication is provided to reduce and remove potential discomfort. After the retrieval procedure, you’ll be kept for a few hours to make sure all is well. Light spotting is common, as well as lower abdominal cramping, but most feel better in a day or so after the procedure.
The partner may provide a semen sample for backup earlier in the cycle, which can be frozen until the day of the retrieval. The male is asked to produce a sample of sperm, which is prepared for combining with the eggs. A semen sample may be collected from your partner which can be frozen until the day of the actual retrieval. Once the semen sample is ready, it’ll be put through a process of special washing, which separates the sperm from other components found in the semen. The embryo specialist will choose the best-looking and healthy looking sperm and will be placing about 10,000 sperm in each culture dish. After a period of 12 to 24 hours, they are inspected for signs that the fertilization has started.
If we exclude severe male infertility, the chances of oocytes fertilising is a high 70 percent
During the insemination process, the eggs and sperm are mixed together and stored in a laboratory dish to encourage fertilization. In cases where the chances of fertilization are lower, ICSI ( intracytoplasmic sperm injection ) may be used. This procedure is done by, injecting a sperm directly into the egg in an attempt to achieve fertilization. The eggs are then monitored closely to confirm their fertilization and after this process cell division finally takes place. The fertilized eggs are now considered as embryos once the division occurs.
The embryos are usually transferred into the woman’s uterus, after three to five days followed by the retrieval and fertilization of the egg. A tube is generally inserted into the patient’s uterus for transferring the embryos. This procedure is painless for most women, although some may experience mild cramping. If the procedure of transferring is successful, implantation generally occurs around 6 to 10 days after the egg retrieval.
About nine to 12 days after the embryo transfer, a pregnancy test is ordered. This is usually a serum pregnancy test (more blood work) and also will include progesterone levels testing. The test may be repeated every few days. If the test is positive, you may need to keep taking the progesterone supplementation for another several weeks. Your doctor will be following up with your occasional blood work and accompanied by ultrasounds to monitor the pregnancy and also be ready for miscarriages risks and ectopic pregnancies.
If the pregnancy test is still negative 12 to 14 days post-transfer, your doctor will ask you to stop taking the progesterone. Then, you’ll wait for your period to start. The next step will be decided by you, your partner, and your doctor. If this was your first cycle, another cycle may be recommended. Remember that chances of pregnancy and a successful IVF increases after you go through several cycles. A woman suffers mentally after a treatment cycle failure and the times are never easy. It’s heartbreaking but it’s important for strong women, however, to keep in mind that having one cycle fail doesn’t mean you won’t be successful if you try again.