Today invitro fertilisation (IVF) is practically a household word. Not long ago, it was a mysterious procedure for infertility that produced what were then known as “test tube babies” Louise Brown, born in England 1978, was the first such baby to be conceived outside her mother’s womb.
Unlike the simpler process of intra uterine insemination, in which sperm is placed in the uterus and conception proceeds otherwise normally – IVF involves combining eggs and sperm outside the body in a laboratory. Once an embryo or embryos form, they are then placed in the uterus.
Indications for IVF
It can become an option if you or your partner has been diagnosed with
- Low sperm count
- Problems in uterus or fallopian tubes
- Problems with ovulation
- Unexplained infertility
- What can I Expect from IVF
The first step in IVF involves injecting hormones so you produce multiple eggs each month instead of only one. You will then be tested to determine whether you are ready for egg retrieval
Prior to the retrieval procedure, you will be given injection of a medication that ripens the developing eggs and starts the process of the ovulation. Timing is important; the eggs must be retrieved just before they emerge from the follicle in the ovaries. If the eggs are taken out too early or too late they won’t develop normally. Your doctor will do ultrasound to be sure the eggs are at the right stage of development before retrieving them
During the egg retrieval, your doctor will locate follicle in the ovary with the ultrasound and remove the eggs with hollow needle. The procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes.
Immediately after the retrieval, your egg will be mixed in the laboratory with the husband sperm, which he will have donated on the same day.
The fertilised eggs are kept in the clinic under observation to ensure optimal growth.
Once the embryos are ready, you will return to the IVF facility so doctors can transfer one or more into your uterus. This procedure is quicker and easier than the retrieval of the egg. To increase the chances of pregnancy, most IVF expert recommend transferring 3 or 4 at a time.
However this means you could have a multiple pregnancy. A pregnancy would be performed 2 weeks after transfer.
IVF is one of the most successful advancement in the field of medicine.
As a treatment option for infertility, IVF or invitrofertilisation is not without its fair share of myths. Many people view IVF treatment as an expensive treatment that only celebrities and business people can afford. Some even believe that IVF treatment always results in Twins and Triplets.
MYTHS: IVF is the solution for all infertility problems
FACT: IVF is one of the treatment options for infertility. There are other options like ovulation induction with medications, intrauterine insemination.
MYTHS: IVF is only the last option.
FACT: It can sometimes be the first treatment option as in women with bilateral blockage of tubes, severe male infertility and advanced age.
MYTHS: IVF is only for affluent people.
FACT: Though IVF is relatively expensive, the cost of IVF has not increased massively over the years. It is less expensive than major procedures such as heart surgery, renal transplant or even joint replacement.
MYTHS: IVF is limited to a younger population only
FACT: IVF technology can be used even in the older ladies using donor eggs from younger females.
MYTH: IVF is successful in all cases.
FACT: IVF can be successful in up to 40% of cases. Success depends on a number of cases. Success depends on a number of other factors like age of female, cause of infertility, centre of expertise, biological and hormonal reasons etc.
MYTHS: IVF requires admission in the hospital
FACT: It does not require over night admission. It is, by and large an outpatient treatment. Only the eggs collection procedure requires day care admission.
MYTHS: IVF always results in multiple pregnancies like twins or triplets
FACT: Not true, the chances of multiple pregnancies can be reduced by reducing the number of embryos transferred, especially in the younger women
MYTHS: IVF babies have a higher risk of birth defects and malformation.
FACT: There is no sufficient higher risk of birth defect than spontaneously conceived pregnancies. The risk in both IVF and spontaneous conception is about one in fifteen 1:15
MYTHS: IVF is covered by insurance (HMO/NHIS)
FACT: It is not covered by either HMO or NHIS insurance scheme. It is important to conform to your HMO before commencing IVF.
MYTH: IVF is dangerous.
FACT: IVF it not dangerous. Infact it is a safe treatment. Only 1-2% of patients may become unwell because of severe ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome. This can be minimized with close monitoring.
MYTH: Bed rest is essential to get pregnant after IVF
FACT: A woman should not undergo excessive physical or mental stress after the procedure strict bed rest is not associated with increased pregnancy rate.