Have you heard about the success of an IVF cycle? Even if the answer is yes, proceeding for an IVF is not an easy task. Many concerns hover in mind such as emotional, financial, social, familial and even personal opinions of your near & dear ones.
IVF is one of the latest technologies that have been successful in causing successful pregnancy in many women. The step towards IVF is inhibited by vague ideas about normal menstrual cycle and ovulation and their association with IVF. Unlike a regular menstrual cycle, the ovulation is suppressed in an IVF cycle. After the desired time, the mature eggs are retrieved and fertilized in the laboratory to produce embryos. It takes 3-4 days for successfully fertilized eggs to develop into embryos. The mature embryos are implanted in to the uterus for pregnancy. Once the embryo(s) is transferred back into the uterus, they develop into normal fetus.
Step-by-Step IVF cycle:
1. Scanning of Ovaries: At first when you visit your doctor, she would recommend an ultrasound scan. The scanning reveals the condition of the ovaries based on which the small growing follicles (antral follicles) are counted. Using Doppler method, the blood flow in the ovaries is checked to find out the fertility status. Proper blood flow ensures the chances of getting good quality eggs. Besides these other factors such as presence of any cyst, availability of follicles, the inner lining of the endometrium,or any physical abnormality that may affect embryo implantation process are also assessed. All these tests help to see that only good quality eggs are used to form an embryo successfully. About 5 ultrasound scans help to access the follicular growth throughout the IVF life cycle.
2. Medication: Oral fertility medications or injectable follicle stimulation hormones (Recombinant Follicle Stimulating Hormonesand Gonadotropins) help in follicular stimulation in the ovaries. This hastens up the maturation of more eggs than what usually happens in a normal cycle. At least 7-8 eggs must be produced with fertility medicines.
3. Maturation of Eggs: The timing of egg retrieval must be precise. After the follicles have reached the desired growth and the thickness of endometrium is satisfactory, an HCG hormone is injected. The hormone helps in maturation of eggs in the ovary and fosters ovulation in 3 days. The eggs are collected before ovulation begins.
4. Retrieval of Eggs: Prior to egg retrieval, the femaleis given mild dose of sedatives, so that she does not feel any painduringthe method of egg retrieval. Eggs are collected with a needleguided by anultrasound probe. After the procedure she can normally move about in 2-3 hours after the procedure and go home.
5. Fertilisation and embryo formation: After collection, the eggs are mixed with the desired sperm so that they get fertilised. If the sperms are not motile or less in number, the normal motile sperms are injected into the cytoplasm of the egg for improved chances of fertilisation. The embryosare put in an incubator for a minimum of 3 days to grow. Within 3-6 days after fertilization, embryos are evaluated for transfer.
6. Implantation of Embryo: After 3-6 days when an embryo has sufficiently matured, it can be transferred into the uterus. Unlike egg retrieval, this process is performed without sedation. The embryo inserted into the uterus via a thin, flexible catheter, through the opening in the cervix and implanted in the uterus.
7. Pregnancy: Fourteen days after embryo transfer, a blood test done to see if the implanation resulted into a positive pregnancy through IVF. If the test is positive, close monitoring of the mother for a few weeks allows to confirm the normal progress of pregnancy. The pregnancy scan confirms an intrauterine pregnancy and normal heartbeat of the fetus. Certain medications are recommended which she has to continue after the pregnancy is confirmed. Progesterone supplements are supposed to be taken in the first trimester.
IVF is a procedure for curing infertility. With the help of a leading fertility clinic like International Fertility Centre, the use IVF to become pregnant has been employed by many childless couples. The happiness in having a baby makes up for all the worries involved in going through the slightly strenuous procedure.