Is IVF For You?
The road to fertility can be demanding. There are many stories among couples filled with frustration, confusion, heartache, and helplessness as they embark on the convoluted journey towards conception. With the numerous advancements in science and technology, not being able to conceive is now seen as a personal choice.
If you have been researching about the different methods, you might have stumbled across in vitro fertilisation also known as IVF and have a million questions about it. What really is IVF and are you a suitable candidate for it?
First, let's examine the basics. IVF is the fertilisation of ova and sperm outside of the body, in a lab. The environment creates the ideal circumstances for successful fertilisation and growth of healthy embryos. This is in no way a single procedure. It is a journey that incorporates weeks of preparation. Trying to have a baby is one of the most emotional experiences you will ever encounter. IVF does not make it any easier, but will increase your chances of conception.
You are a possible candidate for IVF if you are in overall good health. This procedure is effective in treating many different causes of infertility such as:
1. IVF is considered a highly effective treatment for infertility caused by PCOS.
2. Endometriosis. IVF can offer a way forward for patients who have been affected by endometrial scarring.
3. Tubal factor infertility. Having scarred, blocked, damaged or missing fallopian tubes, IVF is an excellent option, as the IVF process bypasses the fallopian tubes entirely. It's often a more effective (and less invasive) alternative to surgical solutions.
4. Male infertility due to a low sperm count or problems with quality can be addressed with this procedure.
5. Unhealthy eggs or sperm, or even the inability to carry a baby. With the aid of a surrogate, you can have a baby.
The journey to conception with IVF is usually a six-step process.
1. The procedure begins with a course of follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) to encourage your ovaries into producing more eggs. This is a series of injections that you give yourself at home. This medication is necessary to help women produce as many eggs as possible of the highest quality to increase the chances of fertilisation.
2. Once the eggs are mature enough, they will be retrieved in a minor outpatient procedure.
3. The collected eggs will be combined with your partner's sperm in the lab. After a period of 16 to 20 hours, the eggs are examined to determine whether fertilisation has taken place. The fertilised eggs are allowed to grow for up to six days in the lab before the transfer. This gives them a good head start and lets us keep an eye on their development.
4. During this time, hormones will be given to the patient to initiate the development of a healthy uterine lining prior to implantation.
5. On the day of the transfer, the highest quality embryo is selected and carefully placed into the uterus with the use of a catheter. This is a very simple and fast procedure which doesn't usually require sedation. Once your doctor places the embryo, you're officially pregnant, but actual implantation can take between one and five days. In this crucial time, you may be given more medication to support the embryo, and doctors will watch your progress closely.
6. Two weeks after transfer, a pregnancy test is performed to see if implantation was successful. The first 10 weeks of your pregnancy will be monitored and then your care will be handed over to your obstetrician until delivery.
Men are asked for a sample of their sperm which is washed and undergo a spinning process which separates the healthiest sperm from the sample.