In Vetro Fertilization (IVF) is wonderful way many couples and individuals are fulfilling their desert to become parents. It is classified as one of the forms of assisted reproductive technology (ART). The procedure itself is simple, in a petri dish, an egg and sperm is combined. When the egg and sperm are combined, they are placed in the uterus with hope of fertilization. There are other forms of ART, which include gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT). Many individuals turn to IVF when they have failed to become pregnant by unprotected sexual intercourse and their hormonal levels may not be on their side. However, there are some other specific reasons why IVF may be used to treat infertility:
- Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes,
- Male infertility → decreased sperm count or decreased sperm motility,
- Ovulation disorders,
- Premature ovarian failure,
- Uterine fibroids,
- Women with no fallopian tubes (i.e. removal or surgery or scarring),
- Genetic disorders,
- Unexplained infertility in either men or women.
The procedure for IVF involves a few steps, nevertheless, it is imperative that they are performed accurately for success. Individuals who are considering the process must be made fully aware of the cost and the success rate of the procedure. The five steps in IVF are:
- Monitor and stimulate the development of healthy egg or eggs in the ovaries,
- Collect the eggs via extraction,
- Secure the sperm from the man via ejaculation or other means,
- Combine the egg and sperm in a laboratory setting and make sure that there is a secure environment for fertilization and early embryo growth,
- And transfer the embryo or embryos into the uterus.
In order to begin the process for IVF, there needs to be assurance that a woman has adequate egg count and that there is enough viable sperm in the man. The steps in depth are:
- Fertility medications may be prescribed to stimulate the eggs. The higher the number of eggs, the higher the likelihood of fertilization. Also some eggs do not develop or fertilize after they are retrieved. Hormonal levels are checked as well.
- The procedure of retrieval is through a minor surgery. Using an ultrasound machine, the professional guides a hollow needle through the pelvic cavity in order to remove the eggs. At this point medication will be provided to lessen any discomfort.
- Usually, the male is asked to produce the sperm themselves via masturbation, with their choice in the laboratory or at home.
- Sperm and eggs are combined and stored steadily to ensure fertilization in a laboratory environment. When cell division begins, then fertilization has happened.
- Embryos are transferred into the woman’s uterus, usually, between 3 to 5 days after egg retrieval and fertilization.
There are some side effects one should be made aware of:
- A woman may pass some blood-tinged or clear vaginal discharge,
- Mild cramping,
- Mild bloating,
- Breast tenderness,
- Heavy vaginal bleeding (dangerous),
- Pelvic pain (dangerous),
- Blood in the urine (dangerous),
- Fever over 100.5⁰F (dangerous).
If you experience any of these, see your physician right away. And if you are residing in Denver, before going through the procedure, you may stop by the Denver Holistic Center for more information. Moreover, there are risks of the IVF procedure itself:
- The retrieval process increases risk for bleeding, infection, damage to the bowel or bladder,;
- Chance of multiple pregnancy;
- Some psychological stressors and/or symptoms for the couple of individual, especially after failed attempts;
- IVF is an expensive process and the prices range variably from clinic to clinic and are easily in the tens of thousands of dollars.