Everything you need to know about in vitro fertilization
Not every woman can get pregnant easily. Sometimes you have to be really naked, and sacrifice a lot to enjoy parenting. If natural fertilization is impossible for various reasons, in vitro fertilization is one solution. In the article you will learn what it is about and what it involves.
In vitro fertilization – what is it?
In vitro fertilization is a type of assistive reproductive technology. It consists in taking eggs from a woman’s ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm. The fertilized egg becomes an embryo. The embryo can then either be frozen or transferred to the woman’s uterus where the pregnancy and the baby will develop.
Depending on the situation, IVF may benefit from:
- eggs and semen of future parents;
- eggs and sperm from another donor;
- one “ingredient” from the prospective parent and another from the donor;
- donated embryos to be implanted into the uterus.
You can also use a surrogate, i.e. the embryo can be implanted into another woman if there is a fear that the pregnant woman will not report.
How is the IVF treatment effective?
The success rate varies and depends on a number of factors. The same is true for a natural pregnancy. Although everything is fine, it is not always possible to get pregnant quickly.
According to studies, the live birth rate in women under the age of 35 is around 40-45%. The older the woman, the less chance of success, and when the woman is over 40, the chance of success is 20%. Therefore, if you have been trying for a long time and nothing comes out, it is worth considering IVF as early as possible so that the chances do not decrease even more.
In vitro fertilization – indications
This method helps people with infertility who want to have a baby. However, it is sometimes a long way and, unfortunately, a way to go. There are several reimbursement systems, but it also depends on the city. This method is invasive, so couples usually initially focus on pharmacological treatment.
Problems that may indicate a decision to IVF include:
reduced fertility in women over 40;
low ovarian activity;
blocked, damaged, removed fallopian tubes;
male infertility – low sperm mobility or their small number, abnormalities in their structure;
unexplained infertility – many attempts fail.
In vitro fertilization may also be recommended by a doctor if there is a high risk of passing on a hereditary disease to the baby. The medical laboratory can test the embryos for genetic anomalies. If everything is fine, the doctor will implant the embryo.
Preparation for in vitro fertilization
Before fertilization begins, a woman first undergoes an ovarian reserve test. This includes taking a blood sample and testing its follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. The results of this test will provide your doctor with information about the size and quality of your eggs.
The examination also covers the uterus, examining it with a vaginal ultrasound. These tests will show the condition of the uterus and help the doctor determine the appropriate method of embryo implantation.
Men will have to undergo a semen test. This includes collecting a semen sample that the laboratory analyzes for sperm count, size and shape. If your sperm is weak or damaged, a procedure called intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be needed. During ICSI, the doctor injects sperm directly into the egg. This treatment can be part of in vitro fertilization.
Choosing IVF is a very personal decision. There are several factors to consider. E.g:
What to do with “extra” embryos?
As a rule, a doctor will implant several embryos, because not all of them “adopt”, ie nest. It is also a higher risk of having multiple pregnancies. Most doctors implant two embryos. If more good embryos develop, you can freeze them for future use.
What do you think about the possibility of having twins, triplets or a higher order multiple pregnancy?
You have to think about what if you have a multiple pregnancy. While you may think you may have more than one child after having problems getting pregnant, it is worth thinking about it. Analyze your housing, financial and other conditions. Will someone be able to help you look after a larger group?
In vitro fertilization – course, stages
In vitro fertilization involves five stages:
- egg retrieval
- embryo growth
Women produce one egg during each menstrual cycle. However, in vitro fertilization requires “having” many eggs. It also increases the chance of a viable embryo developing. The woman will be given hormonal drugs that increase the production of eggs in the cycle. During this time, she will be tested regularly with ultrasound, blood tests to monitor egg production.
Collection of eggs
The collection of eggs is known as aspiration. It is a surgical procedure performed under anesthesia. Your doctor will use an ultrasonic wand to guide the needle through the vagina, into the ovary, and into the follicle containing the egg. The needle sucks the eggs and fluid out of each follicle.
The partner will now need to take a semen sample. The semen is mixed with the woman’s eggs in a petri dish. If that doesn’t produce an embryo, your doctor may decide to use ICSI.
Your doctor will monitor fertilized eggs to make sure they divide and develop. During this time, the embryos can undergo genetic testing to see if there are any mutations that are responsible for the disease.
When the embryos are large enough, they can be implanted. This usually happens three to five days after conception. Implantation is about inserting a thin tube (catheter) into the vagina, outside the cervix and into the uterus. The doctor then releases the embryo into the uterus.
Pregnancy occurs when the embryo is implanted into the wall of the uterus. This may take 6 to 10 days. A blood test will determine if you are pregnant.