What is IVF?
IVF or “in vitro (in glass) fertilization” is a procedure where human sperm and egg are brought together and they are made to fertilize artificially outside the body. Once the egg and sperm have fertilized and embryo has begun to form, it is placed back to mother’s uterus. The first successful birth through IVF procedure was in 1978. As of 2012, it was estimated that around 5 million children had been born worldwide using IVF and other assisted reproductive techniques.
Number of days required for an IVF treatment
The length of treatment varies with every patient. It largely depends on the success of each stage of treatment and how the body reacts to the hormonal and other medications. The overall process takes around a month or more. It takes around three to five weeks of constant monitoring.
Factors affecting the success rate
Age is the leading cause of infertility and age of the mother is a critical factor in deciding the IVF treatment and chances of it being successful. Reproductive history also is an important factor in deciding the success rate along with the biomarkers such as Antral Follicle Count, Anti Mullerian Hormone and Semen quality. IVF has been successful in infertility treatment due to causes which include low sperm count, irregular menstrual cycle, weaker sperm count and blocked fallopian tubes
Preparation for Egg Retrieval
IVF comprises of a multi-step process which is called ‘cycle.’ It begins with diagnosis and then actual line of treatment is decided. Primarily, it begins with administrations of medicine for suppressing the ovarian function. It involves daily injections and regular clinical visits for testing. It prepared the female’s body for later accelerated egg production which is done by hormone injections. Regular tests are needed to decide optimum time for egg retrieval. Testing may involve blood test or ultrasound. Patients can learn to inject themselves but would require a visit for testing. The time frame is maximum up to two weeks.
Process of ripening is done with the help of medications. Egg retrieval is performed as an outpatient process and must occur within 36 hours of medication. The eggs are retrieved with a needle in mild or full anesthesia. After recovery patient is discharged until the embryo has reached blastocyst stage i.e. when it is ready for transfer.
The sperm is collected on the same day as egg retrieval and IVF also is performed the same day. Majority of times, the egg and sperm combine naturally after sperm is introduced to the egg. It may also require intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), a process where a single sperm is chosen and is introduced directly into the egg via injection to assist in fertilization.
The embryo is transferred to the uterus usually 3-5 days after the egg has been retrieved. It is transferred via a tube through vagina into the cervix and uterus. As a process 2-3 embryos are transferred, the number of which is ascertained as per mother’s age among other factors. After the transfers, patient usually requires bed rest for a few hours.
After the procedure, patients are advised to get the left over healthy embryos freezed. Embryo freezing is a process, wherein embryos can be stored and can be used for future procedures, saving both time and money. Pregnancy testing begins after two weeks and is done twice within the first month.
The process can be strenuous on mother’s body and the ovaries maybe enlarged. Mothers should avoid physical activities. Patients can safely return to their home after a successful transfer.
- Because of transfer of multiple embryos in a single IVF procedure, there is a risk of multiple pregnancies
- There is 2-5% risk of ectopic pregnancy i.e. when the embryo attaches to the fallopian tubes
- Success rate varies greatly from patient to patient and are dependent on a number of factors, age of the women playing a major role in it
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Will I have twins or triplets?
There is a chance however, the number of embryos transferred is limited as per age and condition to help prevent that occurrence.
What is the probability of getting pregnant at different ages?
Live birth rates as per a published report of 2012 shows the following data
Age <35: 46.7%
Age 35-37: 37.8%
Age 38-40: 29.7%
Age 41-42: 19.8%
Age >45: 8.60%
How many visits are generally required for an IVF cycle to be carried out?
You may have to visit the clinic 8-10 times over a period 4 weeks.
For how many days do I have to stay at the hospital?
Since, IVF is a day care process, you are not required to stay overnight at a clinic.
Is there any maximum age for performing an IVF procedure?
There is no defined guidelines as such. However, different clinic may have different parameters.
What is the cost of performing an IVF in case the current cycle fails?
The cost of each cycle remains the same. However, if you have opted to get your unused embryos freezed, the cost may reduce up to half.
Can I select the sex of the child?
Pre-natal sex determination is banned and is illegal in India
Are the medications and investigations included in the price?
No, it varies greatly from patient to patient. The clinic will counsel you before the treatment about the related cost and its offerings.
Can I give my preferences while I chose a donor?
Yes, you can give your requirement and preference for the donor in terms of his physical characteristic, health, race, ethnicity, education and family background.
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