Millions of people in the world wish about having a child. Some are successful in this way and some are unsuccessful despite trying so hard. Infertility is a struggle for many couples, and in vitro fertilization (IVF) can be an option. To undergo IVF treatment, you need a partner that has enough sperm production or an egg donor. The first step is the stimulation of ovulation with medication that will cause your body to produce more eggs than usual. The next steps are ova retrieval and fertilization, which both happen on the same day. After these two steps, it’s all about waiting for pregnancy test results! In this article, we will look at infertility and in vitro fertilization.
What is Infertility?
Infertility is a medical condition that affects about 7.3 million women in the United States alone, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Infertility means not being able to get pregnant after one year of trying. Sometimes people can get pregnant after proper treatment and it may take several years.
It can be emotionally draining for many people trying and failing several times, they can even lose their hope. Which is why there are several treatments available if you want to have children but aren’t successful at getting pregnant on your own. Many people are mistaken thinking that once you get pregnant you can have a child again without problems. Even after the first or second pregnancy people can face infertility and not know why they can have another child.
One treatment option is in vitro fertilization or IVF, where eggs get removed from the woman’s ovaries and mixed with sperm in a lab dish. The resulting embryo (s) gets transferred into her uterus through the cervix – someone can do this surgically or non-surgically depending on the patient’s choice and doctor.
What is In Vitro Fertilization and how it works?
One of the fertility options is assisted conception – the way to help the egg and sperm come together with the use of medical techniques. Assisted conception includes three variations of treatment:
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a fertility treatment used to help people conceive who cannot do otherwise. Essentially, IVF involves stimulating a woman’s ovaries to produce multiple eggs and retrieving those eggs from the body for fertilization with sperm in a lab. You can then return the fertilized egg or embryos to the uterus.
Sometimes, IVF helps when a woman cannot produce viable eggs. In other cases, it’s used when she has problems carrying a pregnancy to term. It can also get used for men with fertility problems. IVF works well if someone follows the right steps, including:
- Stimulate ovaries to produce eggs
- Retrieve eggs from ovaries
- Combine eggs with sperm in a lab to fertilize them
- Develop embryos in the lab
- Transfer embryos into your uterus, if necessary
- Wait for implantation and pregnancy
- Have prenatal genetic testing done on the fetus, if appropriate
Stages of IVF
IVF treatment follows three stages, including stimulation, egg retrieval, and fertilization.
The stimulation phase involves the patient taking fertility drugs for 10-14 days that stimulate their ovaries to produce multiple eggs instead of just one. The patient’s ovaries will get monitored via ultrasound and blood tests to see how many eggs are maturing.
When the eggs are mature, the doctor extracts them by inserting a long needle through the vaginal wall into each ovary, which may cause mild discomfort for some women. The number of eggs that get fertilized depends on the patient’s age and causes of infertility. Generally, you’ll have about 10-15 eggs in one cycle instead of one.
2. The Embryo Transfer
This phase happens 48 hours after the egg retrieval. A lab embryologist places two to six embryos into a catheter and inserts them through the cervix and into the uterus while monitoring the patient on an ultrasound screen. The catheter gently deposits the embryos into the uterus. This procedure takes about five minutes and is often painless. Around two weeks later, a pregnancy test can determine if fertilization occurred.
3. Prepare the Uterus for Implantation
The third step involves five to seven days of progesterone shots to prepare the uterus for implantation. Progesterone is vital because if the uterine lining does not thicken, there may be difficulties sustaining a pregnancy. This would require an additional IVF cycle with progesterone supplements.
What Do You Need to Know Before Doing IVF?
Before undergoing IVF, there are important things to know. For example, infertility is a medical condition in which a couple cannot conceive after one year of unprotected sexual intercourse. Many factors can cause infertility, including environmental factors, genetic factors, medical conditions, or injury affecting reproductive organs.
Health professionals diagnose infertility in about 15% of couples worldwide. Infertility can affect men and women of all ages. However, the risk of developing infertility increases as a woman gets older. Depending on the severity of infertility, there are many options available to couples. Infertility can get treated with drugs, surgery, or assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Some women may overcome infertility through intrauterine insemination (IUI), where the specialist places sperm directly into the uterus.
Infertility may be a difficult and emotional time for many people, especially those who hope to have children. Luckily, there are several treatments available, including in vitro fertilization (IVF). IVF can be expensive, but it’s worth the cost if you want to start your family. And don’t give up if the IVF treatment was unsuccessful, with the consultation of your doctor you can try several times. If you’re considering infertility treatment or know someone that might benefit from our services, we invite you to explore everything we offer on our website!
Risks and side effects of In Vitro Fertilization
In general, fertility treatments and particularly, IVF are very safe and not painful. However, any medical procedure may carry some risks and side effects. Mainly side effects can be linked to hormonal therapy that is necessary for ovulation stimulation. It is the responsibility of the fertility specialist to inform the patient about all possible concerns. Here are some side effects of the IVF treatment women may experience:
- Allergic reaction to medications
- Soreness or bruising after injection
- Abdominal pain
- Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome
- Pelvic infection
- Hot flashes
- Multiple pregnancies
If you want to create a family and feel the parenthood, then dealing with side effects of IVF treatment completely worth it.