What is an In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?
IVF stands for In-Vitro Fertilization. It is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) that helps in embryo development and implantation in the female body to get pregnant. IVF uses a combination of medicines and surgical procedures to implant the eggs in the uterus and fertilize them.
IVF can be performed by using the couple’s eggs and taking the eggs or sperm from an anonymous donor. IVF is completed by taking the mature eggs from the ovaries fertilized by the sperm in the lab outside the female’s body. This is followed by transferring the fertilized eggs back to the uterus. This complete process takes around three weeks and is known as one cycle of IVF.
IVF is completed in multiple steps, and it can take several months to complete the entire process. In most cases, it works on the first shot only, but many people may need many rounds of the IVF cycle. However, it is the best method to increase one’s chance of pregnancy in any fertility issues. However, the crucial point is that IVF is expensive and time-consuming. Sometimes, when more than one embryo is transferred to the uterus, it can lead to more than one fetus.
Couples undertake IVF treatment to treat infertility and genetic problems. However, IVF is not the first step to treating infertility unless there is a complete blockage. It is used when other methods, including fertility drugs, surgery, and artificial insemination, have failed or in instances where women are above 40.
Furthermore, IVF can be performed in case of the below-mentioned health conditions:
- When there is some disturbance with the ovulation process, like it is absent or infrequent
- When the cause of infertility is not determined
- When the couple is at risk of passing a genetic disorder to the child
- When the issues are related to sperm size, shape, movement of sperm, and the concentration of sperm
How is In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) done?
IVF is performed in the following five ways:
- Birth Control Pills: Your gynecologist may prescribe birth control pills or estrogen to stop the development of ovarian cysts and manage your menstruation cycle. This will help maximize the eggs’ maturity in the female body
- Stimulating Ovaries: In this process,you will have to take injectable hormones injections which will help in maturing all the eggs ultimately. This may result in more than one egg or having many eggs
- Egg Retrieval: A thin needle will be inserted in both ovaries through the vaginal canal with the help of an ultrasound. This is done at the doctor’s office, where slight sedation might be given to the patients to ease the discomfort of the process
- Fertilization: This is done after the sperm is injected into the mature eggs. If the eggs are immature, sperm is mixed with the eggs in a controlled chamber, wherein once the eggs have matured, the sperm will be focused on the fertilization process
- Embryo Development: Once fertilization is complete, embryo development will take place in the next five to six days, and the gynecologist will monitor the same. Almost 50% of all fertilized embryos pass on to the blastocyst stage, suitable for transferring embryos to the uterus
- Embryo Transfer: Embryos are transferred to the woman’s womb after three-to-five of eggs fertilization. The doctor inserts a thin tube into the vagina containing embryos into the vagina and straight up into the womb. If the embryo sticks to the womb, pregnancy results
Is (IVF) painful?
IVF is not a painful process, as the injections in the IVF have thin needles and produce a mere sensation when injected into the body. However, many women may experience a specific type of pain or discomfort, such as cramps and abdominal pressure, during the entire IVF treatment.
How long does (IVF) take to get a female pregnant?
IVF is a five-stage process, and one cycle of IVF is completed after all five stages. The duration of completing this five-stage process is two months. After one cycle of IVF, the gynecologist advise doing a pregnancy test after nine days as during this tenure of nine days, the following things happen to the embryo:
- The blastocyst will come out of its shell and starts getting attached to the uterus
- Once the cyst is attached to the uterus, implantation begins and continues for some days
- Once the implantation is done, the fetus starts getting develop
- Human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) starts to enter the bloodstream
- Lastly, the levels of hCG are high enough in the blood to detect pregnancy using a blood test
Is (IVF) baby normal?
Yes, millions of babies have been born after using the IVF treatment and are as normal as a baby without IVF. Research says there is no difference between IVF and non-IVF babies in terms of normality at the time of birth.
What are the Expected Results of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?
Progesterone is the hormone that helps attach and establish the embryo to the uterus. Women are advised to take progesterone for 8 to 12 weeks even after becoming pregnant, as low progesterone during the early weeks of pregnancy may lead to miscarriage. Women who undergo IVF treatment must take regular hormonal pills for the progesterone hormone for the next 8 to 10 weeks after the first embryo gets transferred.
After 14 days of one cycle of IVF, women are advised to get it checked by the doctor and take the pregnancy test. About 12 to 14 days after the embryo transfer, the woman will return to the clinic for a pregnancy test. The doctor will perform a blood test or an ultrasound at regular intervals to monitor the stage of the eggs before retrieving them.
What are the risks associated with In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?
As the first step of IVF is injecting the hormones to produce multiple eggs in the female’s body against one egg, there can be potential risks associated with the IVF treatment. Below is the complete list of side effects associated with IVF:
- IVF increases the risks of getting pregnant with more than one fetus
- IVF can increase the risk of premature delivery
- Injecting hormones to induce the ovulation process can cause the women’s ovaries to become swollen; this is followed by abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- As many females taking IVF have crossed their biological stage of getting pregnant. Hence the chances of miscarriage are high
How Expensive is (IVF)?
IVF is expensive, and there is no insurance coverage for IVF or any other fertility treatment.
The complete cycle of IVF includes medicines, procedures, anesthesia, ultrasounds, blood tests, lab work, and embryo storage. The total cost of IVF varies from clinic to clinic and location to location. However, India’s average cost of one complete IVF cycle can range from 2.5 LPA to 4 LPA.
What is the Success Rate of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?
The success rate of IVF depends on numerous factors, such as the woman’s age, health status, and many more. Women under 35 years of age have higher chances of getting pregnant, and women above 44 years of age have a lesser chance of getting pregnant. On average, if the woman has taken IVF, there is 1 in 5 times the case of her getting pregnant. However, this is contingent on the woman’s age and biological clock. If the period woman is above 44 years, then the chance of getting pregnant is 1 out of 10 times, she takes the IVF cycle, and for a woman, it never works out.
Disclaimer: This blog has been written after performing in-depth secondary research related to the topic from various articles, blogs, and journals with expertise in writing for healthcare. The content on this page should not be considered a substitute for medical expertise. We advise you to book an appointment with the doctor if you have any doubts.