What is IVF?
IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) is an infertility treatment in which an egg and sperm are combined together outside the body, in a specialized laboratory. The fertilized egg (embryo) is allowed to grow in a protected environment for some days before being transferred into the woman's uterus increasing the chances of a successful pregnancy.
Types of IVF
IVF literally means “the fertilization of eggs with the sperms in a glass,” which translates to fertilization outside the body in the laboratory. There are two types of IVF:
1- Stimulated cycle IVF
Stimulated cycle is the conventional process in which ovaries are stimulated to produce multiple mature eggs. Fertility drugs are used to stimulate the maturation of the eggs.
Advantages of Stimulated Cycle IVF
a- Higher success rates
b- Eggs can be stored for future use
c- Embryos can be screened for any deficiency
Disadvantages of Stimulated Cycle IVF
a- There is always a risk of Ovarian Hyper Stimulation Syndrome (OHSS)
b- Increased cost
c- Chances of multiple pregnancies
2- Natural Cycle IVF (NCIVF)
In a natural cycle IVF process, using fertility drugs does not stimulate the ovaries. When the ovulation is about to occur, one mature egg is collected. Now, this egg is artificially combined with the sperms in the laboratory.
Advantages of Natural Cycle IVF
a- Ovaries are not hyper simulated.
b- Only one egg is collected. Hence, there is no need of storing or disposing the extra eggs.
c- Since only one egg is available for fertilization, the chances of having multiple pregnancies are minimized.
Disadvantages of Natural Cycle IVF
a- Success rate is very low with natural cycle IVF.
b- The process of egg collection needs to be done again as there are no frozen eggs for future use.
Who goes for IVF?
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) can be used to overcome a range of fertility issues and for many couples, gives them the best chance of having a baby. Below are some of the situations when one couple should opt for an IVF treatment.
1- If the father faces problems of low sperm count and/or low sperm motility.
2- If the mother has problems in her fallopian tubes such as blockage, weak follicles, or a complicated uterus.
3- Low cervix response in the mother.
4- If either father/mother or both have some disease and they don’t want it to travel to their baby.
5- If a person is a single parent or same sex parent and want to fulfil their desire to become parents.
IVF Treatment Procedure
Normally, an egg and sperm are fertilized inside a woman's body. If the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the womb and continues to grow, a baby is born about 9 months later. This process is called natural or unassisted conception.
IVF is a form of assisted reproductive technology (ART). This means special medical techniques are used to help a woman become pregnant. It is most often tried when other, less expensive fertility techniques have failed.
Steps in IVF Treatment
1- The IVF doctor or IVF specialist first makes sure that the mother’s ovaries are producing multiple follicles by using drugs such as Gonadotropin given in the form of an injection.
2- A continuous monitoring is done using ultrasound and hormone testing. Excess fluid from the ovaries is wiped out in some cases to see the presence of the eggs.
3- Once the eggs become visible, ultrasound guided needles are used to retrieve them.
4- The fertilization of eggs with the sperms from the partner or donor takes place and the embryo is prepared in the laboratory.
5- Created Embryo is cultured and monitored for 3-5 days.
6- Sometimes more than one or two embryos are also cultured. But their survival depends upon the mother’s health. In such cases the excess embryos maybe put in to freezing for the next cycle, in case the need arises.
7- Transfer of embryo into the mother’s uterus happens afterward by sticking the embryo to the mother’s uterus.
8- Complete rest of up to seven days is suggested post this process so that the embryo could adjust to the new environment.
9- If the embryo remains stick to the wall for up to 25 days, the doctor declares pregnancy.
IVF is a very sensitive scientific technique. However, IVF has its own shortcomings. Some of them are as follows:
1- Risk of multiple births: An artificially cultured process sometimes leads to multiple creations of the embryos leading to multiple births.
2- Miscarriage: Chance of miscarriage is there even in IVF. However, percentage chance is same as the normal pregnancy.
3- Premature delivery: Sometimes babies are born before the delivery date. Also there is a chance of low weight babies.
4- Risk of Hyper Stimulation Syndrome: A medical condition affecting the ovaries might happen. However chances are lower than 0.2%.
Cost of IVF Treatment
The cost for IVF treatment in India varies fromINR 1,00,000 to 2,50,000.The cost for IVF treatment varies from clinic to clinic depending on the experience and the success rates of the doctor. You can use fair treatment cost calculator to calculate the cost of the IVF treatment across various cities in India.
Success Rate of IVF
IVF success Rate
Below 35 years
Above 40 years
10% – 15%
IVF Success Factors
Following factors determine the success of the IVF treatment:
1- Age is a decisive factor in the success of IVF treatment. Women over the age of 35 years have low egg reserve of mature and good quality eggs. Therefore, younger women have greater chances of success with an IVF treatment.
2- Always choose young egg donor with good quality of eggs. It increases the success rate of an IVF pregnancy.
3- Choose the best fertility clinic for IVF. Have a thorough research on the clinic regarding its success rate, its reviews, qualification and experience of doctors, training of staff, equipment used for IVF etc.
4- Healthy lifestyle increases chancesof success with the IVF treatment. Quit smoking and drinking at least 3 months before the procedure of IVF is started. Eat healthy and balanced diet.
5- Get to know about your partner infertility problems as well. Sometimes, male infertility is also a cause of concern.
IVF- Frequently Asked Questions
1- Is the egg retrieval process painful?
No pain is felt during the procedure of the eggs retrieval as you are under the impact of local anesthesia. When the effect of anesthesia wears off, you will feel little bit cramping in the ovaries or abdominal area, which will subside after 24 hours.
2- Can I have Intercourse after embryo transfer?
Doctor advises for pelvic rest for one week to two weeks after embryo transfer. The embryo needs time to attach to the wall of the uterus. Intercourse should be prohibited for 2 weeks.
3- Can I travel in car after embryo transfer?
Doctor advises complete bed rest for the next 24 hours after embryo transfer. It is completely safe to travel in the car for 3-4 hours after the treatment. But long drive should be avoided.
4- Is it common to have slight bleeding after embryo transfer?
It is completely normal to experience slight bleeding after embryo transfer. You can also experience bleeding 8- 10 days after embryo transfer. Don’t get frightened. Just keep track that it does not increase over the time.
5- When to take pregnancy test after embryo transfer?
It is suggested to wait for two weeks before taking a home pregnancy test. You can test after 10 days also but best time would be wait for two weeks and then take a test.
Also, get to know what the experts have to say about the success of the IVF treatment. Read this article: Expert Tips to Better Your Chances of Getting Pregnant With IVF Treatment. Also read about the IVF Procedure.
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