Bringing Science To Life!
IVF or In Vitro Fertilization is a medical procedure where the process of fertilization of the sperm and egg take place in a laboratory under a microscope. This is the technology that has proven to be the most effective method of assisted reproduction.
The term 'in vitro' literally means 'in a test tube, culture dish, or elsewhere outside a living organism' derived from the early biological experiments that involved cultivating tissues outside the organisms in beakers, test tubes or petri dishes. Similarly, any biological substance grown outside the living organism is termed as in vitro to distinguish it from in vivo procedure where the tissues grow normally inside the organism without any assistance.
There are five steps that sum up the procedure of IVF.
1. In the first step, medicines are administered to the female to stimulate follicle growth and maturation. This is started from the 2nd or 3rd day of the menstrual cycle. This method helps to grow several follicles simultaneously. These are regularly monitored by ultrasound and hormonal assays by doing scan every
2. The second step is the egg extraction process. This is done under anesthesia by means of a hollow needle that is passed through the pelvic cavity under scan guidance to extract the eggs. The retreived eggs are then placed in a special media in the laboratory and incubated until the sperm is injected to the oocytes. This process is called ICSI.
3. In the third step, the male partner is asked to present sperm samples.
4. In the fourth step, the sperm is injected into the egg by a process called intra cytoplasmic sperm injection.
5. In the final stage, after the egg is fertilized and the zygote is formed, it is cultured for three to five days and then can be considered for transfer to the uterus. Only one to three of the embryos are transferred at a time. If there are any remaining embryos they are frozen and stored for future use.
One cycle of IVF Treatment is completed in a span of four to six weeks. The success rate of IVF depends on the age of the woman. It has been found that the success rate of IVF Treatment is about fifty percent in women under the age of thirty-five. Women under the age of thirty have a sixty percent chance of conceiving after their very first cycle of IVF Treatment. With increasing age the success rate drops. Success also depends on many other factors like the cause of infertility, duration of infertility treatment and the treatment protocol used.
IVF is the most successful infertility treatment for almost all patients, including those with the following:
Fallopian tube damage
Fallopian tube block
Poor semen quality, low count and low motility
Advanced maternal age
Poor ovarian reserve
IVF is much more successful than intrauterine insemination (IUI), another commonly used fertility procedure. Unlike IUI, it can help treat almost any type of infertility problem. It can also provide access to genetic testing of embryos. Further, IVF has much more capability to prevent multiple births by the use of single embryo transfer (SET). It is also generally a faster way to get pregnant because success rates are higher.
IVF can also be beneficial for people wanting more than one child. Often additional frozen embryos that are not used to get the first pregnancy can be used in the future to attempt to have additional children.
Disadvantages are that it is a more demanding process than IUI and more expensive. IUI involves only mild ovarian stimulation, a small amount of monitoring and an office-based IUI.
IVF requires much stronger ovarian stimulation, frequent daily monitoring, an egg retrieval procedure with conscious sedation anesthesia, laboratory fertilization and embryo growth, usually cryopreservation (freezing) and storage of embryos, and embryo transfer followed by progesterone injections or suppositories.