Fertility treatments constitute of a wide range of medical interventions to help individuals and couples overcome infertility challenges. These include medication-assisted ovulation to advanced techniques like in vitro fertilization (IVF). Such treatments offer hope in achieving pregnancy. This article will offer an insight into the technique of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) which revolutionized the fertility treatment and helped millions of people in conceiving a child.
What is IVF?
As per Dr. Deepika who offers fertility treatment in Panchkula, IVF is an advanced medical process which aids in conception of a child. This procedure involves retrieving matured eggs from ovaries and fertilizing them with sperms in a laboratory. The fertilized eggs (embryos) are then transferred to uterus for implantation.
The couple undergoing IVF can take a call whether they want to use their own eggs and sperms for the procedure or of someone known’s or of an anonymous donor’s. Some couples can also opt for a gestational carrier who gets the couple’s embryo implanted in her uterus.
Although IVF is expensive and time-consuming process but it has done wonders for couples which face fertility issues and is the most effective assisted reproductive procedure. It is also beneficial in preventing genetic problems in fertilized embryo. Typically, one IVF cycle takes three weeks.
The step-by-step guide of IVF process is provided below:
1.Ovarian Stimulation: The IVF cycle begins with administration of fertility hormones to stimulate ovaries to produce multiple eggs. Multiple eggs are required to increase the fertilization chances. This process takes one or two weeks.
Several medications are used such as:
- Ovarian stimulation medicine: Injections containing follicle- stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH) or combination of both are prescribed. These stimulate the production of multiple eggs at a time.
- Oocyte maturation medicine: After 8 to 14 days, follicles are ready for egg retrieval. At this point, human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is used to help eggs mature.
- Premature ovulation prevention medicine: Medicines are given to prevent the premature release of developing eggs.
- Lining of uterus preparation medicine: Progesterone supplements are prescribed to at the time of egg retrieval or embryo transfer to make the uterus lining more favorable for implantation.
2.Egg Retrieval: The next step is retrieving the mature eggs within 34 to 36 hours from the final injection and before ovulation. The process involves the following steps:
- Sedation: The patient is sedated and given pain killer.
- Transvaginal ultrasound: Transvaginal ultrasound is done to identify follicles and guide a thin needle inserted into vagina to retrieve eggs.
- Abdominal ultrasound: If the ovaries are not accessible through transvaginal ultrasound, then the needle is guided through abdominal ultrasound.
- Egg retrieval: The multiple eggs are retrieved through the needle connected to a suction device. It takes 20-30 mins for the retrieval. You may experience cramping after the procedure.
- Egg incubated: Eggs are incubated after placing them in a nutritive liquid.
3.Sperm Retrieval: A semen sample of the partner’s or sperm donor’s sperm is provided on the morning of egg retrieval. Typical method of semen collection is masturbation. In some cases, testicular aspiration (surgical procedure) can be done to extract sperm directly from the testicle. The sperm is separated from the semen in the lab.
4.Fertilization: The next step is fertilizing the egg with the sperm. It can be done by:
- Conventional insemination: It is conventional method in which mature eggs and sperm are mixed and incubated overnight.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): Single healthy sperm is injected into mature egg directly.
5.Embryo transfer: The final step is placing the embryos into uterus for implantation after two to five days from egg retrieval. It involves the below steps:
- Sedative: Mild sedative is administered.
- Catheter insertion: A catheter is inserted into vagina through cervix and into uterus.
- Embryo attached to catheter: A syringe containing the embryos in some fluids are attached to the end of catheter.
- Embryo placement: Doctor places the embryos into uterus using the syringe.
If the process is successful, in six to ten days after egg retrieval, the embryo will be implanted into the lining and conception will take place.
If you are looking to explore and understand various fertility treatment options, you can book a consultation with Dr. Deepika, a leading gynecologist based in Panchkula.