FAQs about IVF
IVF is a widely-used technique that has helped childless couples overcome complicated issues relating to infertility. Though it has grown in popularity, there are many questions that patients want to ask and know the answers for. Given below are some of the most frequently asked questions relating to IVF and their answers that will help you understand all you want to know about the procedure and which can be used when you having discussions with your fertility specialist.
IVF Procedure – What is it?
IVF is a popular method of assisted reproduction (ART – Assisted Reproductive Technology) in which the egg is fertilized with the sperm outside the womb under specialized laboratory conditions. Once the fertilization is complete and cell division starts successfully, the resulting embryo is transferred to the woman’s uterus. It is expected that this embryo will implant itself and develop into a healthy baby. This embryo can alternately be saved using freezing techniques for use in the future.
Today, IVF is the most popular form of ART. The fertilization procedure can use a woman’s eggs and her partner’s sperm. Alternatively, sperms or eggs from a third-party donor can also be used. It is also possible to make use of a surrogate to hold the child in the womb.
When does One Opt for IVF?
The IVF procedure basically bypasses the fallopian tubes in a woman and is therefore preferred by those that have issues such as blocked or absent fallopian tubes. Others conditions for which couples choose IVF method include male infertility, endometriosis and unexplained infertility. A physician can suggest this procedure after duly reviewing the patient’s medical history and also suggest the most suitable diagnostic methods and tests.
What are the Different Steps Involved in an IVF cycle?
An IVF cycle has five steps to it:
This involves an injection of medicines to help the stimulation and maturation of multiple follicles in the ovaries.
The mature egg is aspirated using a simple guided vaginal aspiration apparatus that uses a needle to pick up the egg.
The sperm is injected into a mature oocyte at different time intervals. The resultant embryos are kept in a culture for 3 to 5 days to grow.
Using a catheter, the embryos are transferred to a point close to the endometrial cavity in the uterus.
A pregnancy test is done on the patient after 11 days after the embryo transfer to detect relevant hormones.
What are the Selection Criteria for IVF treatment?
Any woman up to the age 50 can choose to undergo IVF. As far as AMH levels are concerned, we do not have a cut-off. As far as possible, we will try to make use of the patient’s eggs for IVF treatment. There have been instances when patients with AMH levels of less than 1 have had healthy babies using their own eggs. Though there is no strict cut-off for BMI, we take it into account when we have to suggest the safest course of treatment for the patient.
Which is better: Mild IVF or Natural?
This differs from the patient and the treatment is suggested by the fertility specialist soon after the initial consultation and internal 3D scan. This scan helps to reveal the condition of the ovaries and the egg reserve, the endometrial lining, and the blood flow to these parts. After looking into the medical history of the patient, the doctor suggests a treatment method that is most suited.
It is usual to suggest the Natural or the Natural Modified IVF method for older patients who have a low egg reserve. Though these women have fewer eggs, stimulating drugs are unlikely to produce more eggs because of advancing age. In such women, the best among the remaining eggs are collected. The Mild Stimulation IVF method works best for women that have a good egg reserve and gives the best outcomes.
What are the Choices Available for a woman whose Eggs do not cause her to get Pregnant?
In such cases, the woman can use the egg of a donor like thousands of others who have done this. Even if the woman’s eggs do not cause pregnancy, her uterus may still be capable to support a healthy pregnancy. For such women, the same IVF process is followed in which the donor’s egg instead of the woman’s egg is used. IVF Spring Fertility Center supports an egg donor agency from which the egg can be sourced. They can also be got from other external agencies.
Is it Possible to get Pregnant with Frozen Embryos?
The success with frozen embryos that are transferred to the uterus depends on three factors:
The quality of the frozen embryo is important. Only good-quality embryos are frozen for future use by us and survival rate is over 90 percent.
The age of the woman who eggs have been frozen is yet another factor. For those whose age is under 37 when the eggs were frozen, the chances with the frozen-thawed embryos are same as that with fresh embryos. With the advancement of age, the chances of pregnancy using frozen-thawed embryos decline, but still may work.
The third factor is the quality of the uterine lining. A healthy endometrial lining without fibroids or polyps increases the chance of pregnancy through embryo implantation.
Can IVF be used in male infertility cases?
IVF works best when the male has a normal sperm count. ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection) works in cases when the sperm count or motility factor is low. This procedure involves the injection of a single sperm into a mature egg using a thin glass needle. In cases where there is no sperm in the ejaculate, sperm is taken from the male using a testicular biopsy method called TESA.
What Extra Precautions are Required to be Taken in the Case of IVF Pregnancy?
A normal and healthy IVF pregnancy is just like the natural one. There are no additional precautions to be taken. However, patients are concerned because of the money that is involved. It is not true that taking bed rest during the pregnancy period will serve to improve the success rate. The advice to patients that have opted for IVF is the same as that for natural conception: it is a good idea to avoid stress, junk food, beverages such as coffee, tea, alcohol, cheese, raw fish, etc.
Can One Travel during and after the IVF Treatment?
Our outstation patients travel back to their homes the day after embryo transfer. Any type of travel is safe after the IVF treatment. Even sitting for long periods of time will not negatively affect the pregnancy. If opting for air travel, drinking plenty of water is advised as there can be dehydration which is not good.
What are the Factors that Influence the Success Rate of the IVF treatment?
There are many factors that influence the successful culmination of the IVF treatment. They include the health conditions of the patient and the type of infertility. A very important factor is the age of the woman. The chances are high when the woman is of a younger age. It has also been observed that about 50 percent of the couples use frozen embryos which provide an additional chance for pregnancy during subsequent embryo thaw-cycles.
Do the Chances of Giving Birth to twins (or multiple births) Increase in the Case of IVF?
Doctors, in the past, used to inject multiple embryos to improve the chances of implantation. This was because it was difficult to determine as to which embryo was viable. This sometimes resulted in multiple births. However, recent techniques such as extended blastocyst culture, CCS/PGs, etc., have made the older technique less necessary. Due to the potential health risks that are associated with multiple births, implantation of multiple embryos at a time is avoided. Viable embryos are frozen and stored for later use.
How Costly is IVF?
With advancements in methods in reproductive technology, cost of assisted reproductive techniques has come down in recent times. The price of IVF treatment depends on the health of the patient and the situations that may arise during the treatment. For any clarifications that you may need, please call IVF Spring Fertility Center for a phone consultation or for fixing an appointment to discuss the options that may be available to you.