In Vitro Fertilization – The Procedure and the Risks Involved

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In Vitro Fertilization or IVF is an assisted reproductive technology (ART). The process involves fertilization by extracting an egg from the woman, retrieving a sperm sample from the partner and then combining the egg and the sperm manually in a laboratory dish. One or more embryos are then transferred to the uterus.

Uses of IVF

The artificial reproduction method is used to treat infertility if:

  • There is a damaged or blocked fallopian tube
  • There is decreased sperm count or sperm motility problem
  • The woman has an ovulation problem, uterine fibroids or premature ovarian failure
  • The woman has had her fallopian tubes removed
  • Someone has a genetic disorder
  • There are cases of unexplained fertility

In Vitro Fertilization procedure

Know the steps involved in IVF before you book the affordable surgery packages online. The steps that are involved in the IVF and the embryo transfer process are:

  • The first step involves prescribing fertility medications to stimulate the production of eggs. Multiple eggs are produced because some of the eggs may not fertilize or develop after they are retrieved. Blood test samples are taken to test the levels of the hormone. A transvaginal ultrasound is used in order to examine the ovaries.
  • A minor surgical procedure is done to retrieve the eggs. The process uses ultrasound imaging and it guides a hollow needle through the pelvic cavity in order to remove the eggs. The woman is provided with medication to reduce any discomfort
  • The male is then asked to produce a sample of his sperm. This is then prepared to combine with the eggs.
  • The next step is the process of insemination. In this step, the sperm and the eggs are mixed together to encourage fertilization. They are kept in a laboratory dish. Intracytoplasmic sperm injection or ICSI is used when the probability of fertilization is low. In this method, a single sperm is injected directly into the egg in order for it to fertilize. The eggs are then monitored to check if fertilization and cell division are taking place. When this occurs, the fertilized eggs are now called an embryo.
  • After three to five days of the egg retrieval and fertilization process, the embryo is transferred into the woman’s uterus with the help of a small tube called the catheter. The catheter is inserted into the uterus through which the embryos are transferred. The process is painless, however, some may complain of mild cramping. If the process is successful, then the implantation occurs after six to ten days of retrieving the egg.

Risks associated with IVF

There are some potential risks of doing an IVF. The more severe symptoms that are caused because of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) are:

  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Decreased frequency of urination
  • Faintness
  • Stomach pain and bloating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Weight gain in three to five days

These symptoms should not be ignored and one should consult the doctor immediately.

Additional risks of doing an IVF are:

  • Egg retrieval can lead to bleeding, damage to the bowel or the bladder or an infection
  • Increase in chances of multiple pregnancies. Multiples also increase the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight of the children
  • The risk of ectopic pregnancy is higher. Here the fertilized egg gets implanted outside the uterus
  • IVF needs one to be committed physically, financially and emotionally and cases of psychological stress is common in couples who choose this method

Conclusion

The success rate of IVF procedure depends on the reproductive history, cause of infertility, maternal age and the lifestyle factors of the couple.