IVF or in vitro fertilisation is a series of treatment processes that prevent genetic issues and help a female conceive a baby. In this process, fertility experts collect matured eggs from a female’s ovaries and fertilise the same with sperm in the laboratory. After the fertilisation, they transfer the fertilised egg/eggs (embryos) in the female’s uterus. A complete IVF cycle lasts for three weeks and leads a female to give birth to a child if everything is okay. As a couple willing to be parents of a child, you should be aware of each aspect or point before you opt for it. Keep reading the post.
What is IVF?
IVF is the abbreviated form of in vitro fertilisation and a type of ART (assisted reproductive technology) services. It is the most effective infertility treatment and a series of treatment procedures. In this treatment, gynaecologists/obstetricians use the eggs and sperm of a couple or a donor.
Steps or procedures involved IVF treatment
You should be aware of all the processes or steps involved in the treatment procedure. Here is the list of the involved steps/procedures:
- Ovary stimulation/Medication
- Egg retrieval
- Embryo culture/Egg fertilisation with sperm in the lab
- Embryo transfer (transfer of fertilised eggs
- Pregnancy test
When should you opt for IVF?
In all ART treatment options, IVF is a more effective treatment. It is an expensive and long procedure, containing more than one cycle. Your doctor will advise you to opt it when your:
- Female partner has a blocked or damaged fallopian tube
- Wife has endometriosis, ovulation disorders, or uterine fibroids
- Male partner has low sperm production and function
- Partner and you have unexplained infertility
- Spouse and you have genetic disorders
Like other treatments, IVF treatments include some mild to serious risks. The risks could be any one of the following:
- Multiple births
- Low birth weight or premature delivery/birth
- Ectopic pregnancy
- Birth defects
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome
- Egg-retrieval procedure complications
Success rates of IVF treatment
IVF treatment doesn’t guarantee a couple to have a child. However, it is an effective and most useful treatment and gives hope to childless couples. Its success rate is different for different couples. The success rate is higher if females are under 35 and goes down if they are above 35. Here is a rough idea on success of IVF treatment as per a US study conducted in 2018:
- Females under 35 – 31%
- Females aged 35 to 37 – 24%
- Women aged 38 to 40 – 16%
- Women aged 41 to 44 – 8%
- Females above 45 – 3%
What affects IVF treatment success?
IVF success is associated with numerous factors. And age is the primary factor. Here is more on what affects the success ratio of IVF treatment:
- Maternal age
- Embryo status
- Reproductive history
- Infertility causes
IVF Treatment cost
IVF Cost or the cost of IVF treatment differs from one city to another and one clinic/hospital to another within a city across the world. You can know an estimated cost after talking to a respective doctor or clinic. However, the actual IVF treatment cost will be different from the estimated one. Here is a list of factors that affect the cost of IVF treatment:
- Age of the patient
- Cost of donor sperm/eggs
- Donor embryo cost if a female has poor quality eggs
- Number of the required cycles/treatments
- TESA (Testicular Sperm Aspiration) rate
- Need for Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI)
- Whether you need Embryo freezing
- Treatment protocol
In India, your IVF treatment cost may be anything between 1 to 5 lakh.
Preparation for IVF treatment/How should you prepare yourself
Before starting to work on your IVF treatment, the doctor will ask you to be prepared. And for this, your fertility specialist may advise both of you for the following things/points:
- Semen analysis
- Ovarian reserve testing
- Uterine examination
- Mock embryo transfer
- Screening for infectious diseases
Number of eggs/embryo transfer
The number of eggs transferred links to a female’s age and the number of retrieved eggs. Due to high age, the implantation in the old females is low. So, the doctor needs to transfer more embryos. This number is lower if the doctor is assured of the quality of donor eggs and the embryos have no genetic issues.
What about extra embryos?
Fertility specialists can freeze extra embryos and keep them safe for several years. Maximum of the frozen embryos is of good quality, and the doctor can help you use it later.
Are multiple pregnancies possible with IVF?
Yes, you (females)can have multiple pregnancies if the doctor transfers more embryos to your uterus. Multiple pregnancies pose a higher risk to your health. However, your doctor can help you give to fewer babies with the use of the foetal reduction. It can be a major decision for you and can affect you emotionally, physically, and ethically.
Number of the required IVF cycles
According to a 2012 report of the New England Journal of Medicine, 9 cycles are a lot. Usually, 2 to 3 cycles of IVF treatment is normal for a female. The number of IVF treatment cycles increases with your age. You can expect having a baby with a single cycle if you are younger. After 35, the number of IVF cycles may go beyond 3.
What can you expect from your IVF treatment?
As a human being, you and your spouse have good expectations from your IVF treatment. Here are what you can expect:
- Blood tests
- Egg retrieval and fertilisation with sperm
- Embryo transfer
- Pregnancy test
- Successful pregnancy
- Birth of a healthy child
IVF is an effective infertility and assisted reproductive treatment. It is a complex method and includes a series of cycles. The write-up has included everything, from what IVF is to number of cycles and your expectations, you should know before opting it.