What Does IVF Treatment Mean?
A natural process of conceiving takes place when female egg and male sperm are fertilized forming a zygote. This eventually gets implanted in the uterus and marks the beginning of pregnancy. If however due to certain reasons the fertilization fails, conception is terminated. Thus an in vitro i.e outside the body process of fertilization becomes the option for overcoming the shortage of reproducing. The female egg and sperm from the male are made to fertilize in a glass and the zygote then is implanted surgically in the mother’s uterus.
Causes Of Infertility:
Female shortcomings: These may include
- Irregular ovulation cycles owing to an imbalanced hormonal level
- Oocytes (eggs) of a weak/unhealthy genre
- Fallopian tube blockages
- Ovarian cysts and tumors
- Uterine fibroids which prevent implantation of zygote
- Male shortcomings: These include
- Decreased sperm count
- Inability of sperms to survive in the vaginal/cervical environment
- Reduced motility of sperm to travel upto the egg
- Poor penetration into the egg
Signs & Symptoms Of Infertility:
The only and perhaps the most emotionally devastating sign and symptom of infertility is the inability to reproduce. Pregnancy fails to occur either due to inability to fertilize or implantation or when both the processes are unsuccessful. Infertility has a more scarring effect on the mental status than on the physical trait of the individual/couple.
Infertility is never accompanied by any pain/infections/swelling or any other such particular sign/symptom which diseases regularly have, unless there is some underlying pathology causing infertility. In some rare cases, the cause of infertility may never be known.
Diagnostic Tests For IVF Treatment:
- Blood test: These are done to determine the hormonal levels in both men and women e.g estrogen and testosterone in females and males respectively. A follicle stimulating factor FSH blood sample test is also done in females in order to determine the size and level of production of eggs by the ovaries.
- Vaginal smears: This is done by using cotton swabs obtained from the vaginal tissues. These are then made into slide specimens and studied with respect to the vaginal flora and unhealthy micro-organisms.
- USG abdomen: This is the ultrasound of the abdomen to rule out any pathology of the uterus, study the position and status of the ovaries and vaginal health.
- Hysteroscopy: A long thin tube like structure is inserted into the uterus via the vagina and the entire uterine walls with the endometrium can be seen projected outside on a screen.
- Trans-vaginal ultrasound: It is done exclusively to determine the vaginal opening, vaginal length and study the vaginal walls.
- Screening for HIV/hepatitis: This is done generally to rule out these diseases and prevent them from being transmitted to the offspring.
Classification Of Fertility Treatment:
- Fertility drugs: These are drugs which promote ovulation, stimulate the ovaries for egg production according to the cycle. Drugs are also prescribed to men to increase their seminal fluid production and also the sperm count.
- Intrauterine insemination IUI: The seminal fluid is injected artificially directly into the fallopian tube. Here the egg directly released from the ovaries is available for the sperms. This method is adopted when the vaginal health and environment does not permit the travel of sperm uptil the fallopian tube.
- In vitro fertilization IVF: It is the process of induced fertilization outside the mother’s body in a test tube, after which the zygote is implanted into the female’s uterus and thus begins the gestational period.
- Intracystoplasmic sperm injection ICSI: In this procedure, seminal fluid is injected into the uterus. This semen may or may not be of the father, donor semen may also be used. It is the resort when it is the father is not fertile or the sperm count and motility is too low to penetrate the female egg.
- Gamete intrafallopian transfer GIFT: Ovaries are stimulate to produce eggs and one such healthy egg is placed in the fallopian tube alongwith sperm from male. The process of fertilization is allowed to take place in the tube and proceed to the uterus for implantation.
- Zygote intrafallopian transfer ZIFT: Fertilization usually fails due to tubal blockages. Thus in a novel approach, eggs from female and sperm from male can be extracted and fertilized in vitro. This zygote can then be placed in the fallopian tube to allow the natural process of pregnancy to take place.
Treatment Of Infertility Using IVF:
The in vitro fertilization approach is the last resort in the attainment of fertility when all the above described methods due to some reason fail. A host of tests are run prior to IVF to ensure the smooth and uncomplicated functioning of this procedure. IVF is done in 4 major steps which are completed almost in 4 to 6 weeks time. The steps are as follows:
- Stimulation of ovulation: This begins from the first day of the menstrual cycle. The infertility doctor often helps women in determining this. In this procedure, the follicles in the ovaries are stimulated to release eggs via medications in the form of injections containing follicle stimulating hormone FSH and luteinizing hormone LH. These injections can vary between 1-2 per menstrual cycle or 1-2 per day depending upon the level of infertility already existing. Hospital visits maybe required for timely injections, however females and their partners too can learn and complete the procedure by themselves at home. It may cause a little discomfort to the mother, however is relatively less painful.
- Retrieval of eggs: This is done under general anesthesia and the procedure lasts for about 30-40 minutes. The specialist uses ultrasound technology and carefully inserts a flexible long needle into the ovaries, one at a time to collect the eggs. The eggs as such are not seen, they are contained in the fluid which is collected. Averages of 10-15 eggs are collected.
- Fertilization: The sperm is kept ready already; it may be a fresh one or a donor/frozen one. As soon the egg is retrieved it is mixed with the sperm in a test tube, glass dish or petridish in an aqueous medium. The two soon find them as they would have in a human body and unite forming a zygote. This process may take 5-7 days of time.
- Implantation: Now since the zygote is ready, it is taken into the uterus of the mother for implantation and mark the beginning of pregnancy. The uterus may also be of a surrogate mother depending upon the choice of the couple. Implantation is done with the help of transvaginal ultrasound. A few blood tests are run after this to confirm the pregnancy.
Complications & risk factors associated with IVF treatment:
- Miscarriages often occur with IVF owing to partial acceptance of the artificially implanted zygote onto the uterus. Blood capillaries and endometrial tissues do not fully engrave the zygote within themselves.
- Premature birth/low weight babies may also be born with IVF
- Multiple babies upto 4 may be born. However only one of the four children has a good survival rate.
- Ectopic pregnancy, uterine/ovarian cancer may also result.
Success Rate of in India:
Roughly around 40.78 percent of young women below 38 years of age opting for IVF show successful results. Older women above 45 have fewer chances of success due to less and weaker release of eggs. The live birth rate is 89.78 percent is all the women going for this procedure, the survival rate of the babies being almost 90 percent.
Team MedcureIndia has always striven hard to achieve the goals of its clients and the dream of parenthood seen by couples facing infertility issues is also included. We recommend the best of fertility centers across the world to our clients seeking help with IVF, which not only will help in the family growth process but also will council and maintain their emotional integrity.