In-Vitro Fertilization: An Assisted Reproductive Technology
IVF is the process of fertilizing of eggs, extracted from the female body and using it for making embryos. The male sperm is also retrieved, then the egg and sperm are combined manually outside the body. The process of combining the eggs and sperm is done in a laboratory dish. The laboratory dish allows the sperm to fertilize the egg to make embryos. After the combination the best embryos are picked by the embryologist which is then transferred to the uterus. The rest embryos would be preserved at a very low temperature for future use. IVF is one of the most common sterility treatments available today. The treatment is so common that 1 in 50 babies are born using this treatment method.
Before going for the IVF treatment, some things you must know. Some of the important things you must know are as follows:
Time Consuming process
The process of IVF involves the extraction of eggs from women’s ovaries. The eggs are fertilized outside by the sperm retrieved from her partner or a donor. The process of fertilization occurs in a laboratory dish. The process is lengthy as it totally depends upon a woman’s egg producing cycles. For which she would have to take medications and drugs before the treatment. The woman would be sedated before the extraction of the eggs. Several blood tests would be taken to see the progress in development of eggs. After extraction the woman needs to come again to the clinic, so that the embryos are transferred. The total time required for the process in around 4-5 weeks.
The price of IVF treatment
The couple can end up spending around 3-5 lakhs for the procedure. However, the disclosed cycle cost may be lower than you would actually pay. The cost of the cycle includes the egg collection, scans, embryology and transfer of embryo. Other costs such as blood tests, drug medications and variations in technique will increase the cost depending upon the patient’s health and other conditions. Mostly all the women opt for sedation, for which they need to pay the HFEA fee.
Success rates of IVF
The success rates of IVF treatment depends upon the health and age of the women. The success rates are just an average extract which can give a misleading picture. The success rate also depends upon the woman’s egg quality or any gynecological problem. For extracting an accurate calculation of success rate, it is important to determine what exactly is being measured. Different clinics would have different success rates. So, comparing different clinic’s success rates is not recommended by the HFEA.
Infertility is common
Infertility is a common phenomenon. This happens to every 1 in 6 partners. The probability of infertility in men and women both are 40%, with 20% of the time resulting in both. Around 6% of the partners opt for IVF for helping them conceive a baby. However, there are other people who are fertile but opt for IVF such as same-sex partners, people carrying genetic disease and single women.
Frozen vs Fresh transplant
Normally people transplant fresh embryos chosen by the embryologist, created in the laboratory dish. The rest of the embryos are frozen at a very low temperature which is preserved for the future. Now recent studies have proposed that frozen eggs are as viable as fresh embryos. They recommend to use frozen embryos over the fresh ones. The rate of success using frozen embryos is higher than the fresh embryos. Frozen embryos if used from your partner, it would take a longer time for freezing and thawing. The frozen embryos are more stable and have a higher chance to survive.
The age of the woman is a vital factor which would affect the pregnancy chances through IVF. The earlier a woman performs the IVF the chances or success rates becomes higher. The success rate declines after the age of 35. This means if a woman is 40 years or above, it becomes much more difficult to get pregnant even through IVF. Over the time, both the number and quality of eggs produced in the ovaries declines. In case of men, the fertility of the sperm remains stable. It also declines over a time, in which fewer numbers of sperms are produced without decline in quality. It is always better to do the fertility treatment sooner rather than later.
Multiple pregnancy issues:
It is widely known that IVF has a higher chance of multiple pregnancy. Twins or Quadruplets are the results of IVF. This situation arises mainly due to a high dosage of fertility drugs and IUI. This causes because more than 2-3 embryos are implanted for increasing the chance of pregnancy. Some clinics works with the technology of single embryo transfer. In order to avoid multiple births only one embryo is implanted not to unnecessary return of more than one embryo.
More than 1 cycle treatment
After undergoing the IVF process there is only 35% chance that the women would get pregnant. For this there is a huge percentage chance of around 65% that she might not get pregnant. So a couple must know that they might have to perform the treatment more than once. The second treatment would be done with the preserved frozen embryos. The frozen embryos are then thawed and implanted again in the ovaries of the woman. Performing the treatment for the second time would give you a better chance of having a baby.
Other Techniques which are available
The couples are always wishing to increase their chance of success of getting pregnant. There are a number of other techniques which might be used to get a higher chance of getting pregnant. The techniques are namely embryoscope, the PGS and the ERA. The PGS is an advanced technique used for checking an embryo’s abnormalities. Then, one cell of the embryos is removed and examined for determining whether accurate amount of chromosomes is present before the new embryos are implanted in the uterus.