IVF – In Vitro Fertilization (Test Tube Baby)
IVF stands for in vitro fertilization. It refers to the process by which a woman’s eggs are collected and then fertilized outside her womb in the laboratory.
IVF is the most common type of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART), which essentially helps women with infertility problems become pregnant. Normally, a sperm fertilizes a woman's egg while it is still inside her body - this fertilized egg then attaches to the uterine lining and grows for nine months. With IVF, the sperm of your partner or donor is associated with your egg or another to create an embryo in a laboratory. This embryo is then implanted in your uterus, where it results in a successful pregnancy.
There are many steps to IVF and it takes several months to complete the entire process. It sometimes works the first time, but many people need more than one round of IVF to get pregnant. IVF definitely increases your chances of pregnancy if you have fertility problems.
So what happens during IVF?
In general, IVF has five steps if you decide to use your own eggs. the process only takes three steps if you choose to use donor eggs:
Step 1: Stimulation
During this phase - which is actually called super-ovulation, a woman starts taking fertility drugs to increase her egg production, according to the National Library of Medicine (NLM). In a typical cycle, a woman produces only one egg, but with these fertility drugs she produces several eggs.
During this phase doctor will also monitor your ultrasound progress and your estrogen level.
Step 2: Recovery of eggs
Once your eggs are ripe, they are recovered from your ovaries during a minor surgical procedure called follicular aspiration, according to the NLM. Although you do not feel pain during the procedure, there may be some cramps after, but, according to the NLM, it will disappear in the day.
Step 3: Insemination and fertilization
Once your eggs have been removed (and semen has been collected from your partner or donor), sperm and eggs are paired for insemination and fertilization.
In some cases, the sperm can be directly injected into an egg (this is called intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI) to increase the chances of fertilization.
Step 4: Embryo culture
Fertilized eggs grow as they divide - and once they divide, they are technically called embryos. IVF laboratory staff will routinely check embryos to ensure they are growing properly during this phase, to ensure that they are as viable as possible before being placed in the body of a woman.
Step 5: Embryo Transfer
Three to five days after egg retrieval and fertilization, the embryos are placed in the woman's womb - and the procedure is not as stressful as egg retrieval.
While the woman is still awake, her doctor inserts the embryos into the woman's uterus using a thin tube. About 12 to 14 days after the embryo transfer, a woman can return to the clinic for a pregnancy test to check if the embryo has been implanted.
To increase a woman's chances of getting pregnant, doctor usually place more than one egg in the woman's uterus at the same time, which can actually result in multiple births. If a woman has unused embryos, they can be frozen and implanted at a later date or donated.
What are the causes of infertility that IVF can treat?With regard to infertility, IVF may be an option if you or your partner have been diagnosed with:
2). Low sperm count
3). Problems with the uterus or fallopian tubes
4). Ovulation problems
5). Problems of antibodies harmful to sperm or eggs
6). The inability of sperm to penetrate or survive in cervical mucus
7). An unexplained fertility problem
What are the success rates of IVF?
The success rates of IVF depend on a number of factors, including the reason for infertility, the place of the procedure and your age. The CDC compiles national statistics for all assisted human reproduction technology (ART) procedures performed in the United States, including IVF, GIFT and ZIFT, although IVF is by far the most common; it represents 99% of the procedures.