In Vitro Fertilization – Who Needs IVF How to Prepare And Cost of the Procedure?

In Vitro Fertilization – Who Needs IVF How to Prepare And Cost of the Procedure?

Parenthood is a blessing. It really hurts when you desperately want a child but unable to become parents due to infertility issues. According to WHO, infertility can impact up to 15 percent of couples in their reproductive age.

Infertility is a global problem and every year, millions of infertile couple try various techniques to become proud parents of a child. One of those techniques prevalence for decades is the In Vitro Fertilization.

In Vitro Fertilization

IVF is referred to a kind of assistive reproductive technology in which eggs are retrieved from ovaries of a woman and then fertilized with the sperm in a lab. Then this fertilized egg also called as the embryo is implanted in the woman’s uterus where it nurtures and completes its full term. Typically, multiple eggs are retrieved to get the best embryo for implantation.

Usually, one cycle of IVF takes about two weeks to complete and depending on the case, more than one cycle can be required. IVF technique does not necessarily require wife’s egg or husband’s sperm for fertilization. Depending on case to case, donor eggs or sperm can be used for fertilization.

Even many people opt for donated embryos. The doctor may also implant the embryo in surrogate mother which is also known as the gestational carrier. This substitute woman will carry your baby to full term.

What is the success rate of IVF?

Success rates depend on various factors such as maternal age, reproductive history, cause of infertility and other health issues. A woman who already gone through a live birth has more chances of success as compared to a woman who hasn’t given birth before.

As per American Pregnancy Association, women aged below 35, has 41-43 percent chances of giving live birth through IVF. The rate further declines to 13-18 percent if the woman is aged above 40.

Who needs IVF?

In Vitro Fertilization is meant for those people who are facing fertility issues or unable to conceive naturally. Since IVF is a costly and invasive technique, couples typically try other fertility methods first before going for IVF. Infertility issues may include:

How to prepare for IVF?

If you have decided to go for IVF, especially with your own eggs or sperm, you will be first undergoing certain tests. These include:

  1. Ovarian reserve test – This analyzes the quality and quantity of your eggs by checking the follicle stimulating hormone through a blood test. The procedure is often accompanied by ultrasound.
  2. Semen analysis – This is also an important part of couple’s infertility diagnosis. If the doctor suspects male factor in not having children, he may order semen analysis right before an IVF treatment. This would check sperm count, shape, size and the total volume of ejaculation. If there are problems in sperm, a procedure called as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) would be performed. In this procedure, a single sperm is directly injected into the egg for fertilization. Sometimes ICSI is used along with IVF.
  3. Uterine examination – The doctor may also inspect your uterus using an ultrasound or scope. This would help the doctor know the health of the uterus and determine further course of action.

IVF treatment is a personal decision which involves numerous factors such as:

  • How many embryos would you like to transfer?
  • What will you do with additional embryos?
  • Will you be able to handle multiple pregnancies?
  • How will you cope up with physical and emotional issues?

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How is IVF performed?

Following steps are taken during an IVF procedure.

Ovarian Stimulation

This step is applicable if you are using your own egg for IVF. A woman typically produces one egg in every menstrual cycle, but IVF technique requires multiple eggs. So your ovaries will be stimulated by hormonal drugs (follicle stimulating hormone) to produce more eggs. During this whole procedure, you would be closely monitored through blood tests and ultrasound before retrieving eggs from your ovaries.

When the eggs are ready for retrieval, you will be given human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) injection to stimulate follicles for the maturity of the eggs.

Egg Retrieval

The matured eggs are collected through a surgical procedure performed under general anesthesia. You will also be given pain medication. The retrieval is typically done 34-36 hours after you get the last injection. The doctor would use transvaginal ultrasound to insert a fine needle that would go into the ovaries and retrieve the eggs from follicles. This procedure takes about 20 minutes.

Sperm retrieval

The donor or your male partner will have to provide a sample of their semen on the day of egg retrieval. Typically, masturbation is done to retrieve the sample or the sperm is directly retrieved from the testes via a needle (testicular aspiration).

Fertilization

Sperm collected will be mixed with the eggs in a glass dish for fertilization. If fertilization doesn’t occur, the doctor may use intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The fertilized eggs would be checked thoroughly under appropriate temperature and infection control. The doctor would also see whether they are properly dividing and developing. During this time, the embryo may also be scrutinized for any genetic conditions.

Embryo transfer

After 2-5 days of fertilization when the doctor sees that the embryos are well matured, 1-3 embryos will be selected and planted into the uterus. Implantation is done via a thin flexible tube known as a catheter which goes through your cervix into the uterus. If all goes well, the embryo will implant itself in the lining of the uterus within 6-10 days.

What to expect after the procedure?

After the procedure, you may experience breast tenderness, small amount of clear fluid, mild cramping and bloating. You might also be advised to avoid strenuous activities. If you are pregnant, the blood test will confirm that, if not, then you will get your periods soon.

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What are the complications associated with IVF?

Though IVF is generally safe, the risks or complications should be kept in mind. Your doctor would probably explain all the risks and side effects to you before the start of the treatment. The complications include:

Outlook

For many couples, going through in vitro fertilization can be a complicated decision, in terms of success rates and risks in mind. It can inflict physical and psychological pressure on your well-being. So before you make up your mind, sit down with your doctor and talk extensively about each and every aspect to determine the best options for you. Join support groups or seek counseling to help you in this.

Q & A

When should I start IVF treatment?

The prospective parents first need to consult a doctor and he would then advise them to try for 6 months naturally. If it doesn’t bear any results, then they can go for medical treatment right away.

Can my lifestyle affect the likelihood of getting pregnant?

Lifestyle can very much impact your fertility. Unhealthy body weight, drinking alcohol, smoking, and excess of coffee intake can all increase the chances of infertility.

Does IVF treatment mean I have to take leave from my work?

Today, with the advancement of technology, treating IVF requires minimal invasion. The treatment is often performed on an outpatient basis and you can go home on the same day. But it would be advised not to over-exert yourself.

What is the cost of IVF in India?

Compared to western countries, IVF treatment is less-expensive in India. Depending on the case, cost of IVF in India ranges anywhere in between Rs. 60,000 and Rs. 1.5 lakh for one or two attempts. However, if you have some other underlying condition which is causing infertility, you have to shell out more money.