In vitro fertilization or IVF is a fairly popular, assisted reproductive technology used by infertile couples to conceive. It is usually considered by couples when they have not conceived naturally.
The doubts regarding fertility are normally raised when the couple has not conceived after a whole year of unprotected sex.
Most couples seem to consider in Vitro Fertilization as the first option of treatment. Medically it should be the last resort after everything else has been given a chance.
Almost 40% of the infertile couples have a male problem, thus IVF should be considered only after every other possibility has been ruled out or treated.
The procedure involves the woman being injected with hormones. This results in the production of up to 20 ovules in the same cycle while during the regular cycle only one or two are produced.
These ovules or eggs are then extracted and fertilized with sperms, in a Petri dish under controlled conditions. Once the eggs are fertilized, a few embryos may be frozen and a few will be implanted in the uterus of the woman.
The woman is expected to rest for a couple of days and give the embryos a fair chance to implant themselves on the uterine wall. It is now entirely the capability of the woman’s body to accept and nurture these embryos. The frozen embryos can be used for the next cycle if the procedure is not successful.
IVF is a complicated and delicate procedure. It does carry with it a few inherent risks for the woman who has to agree about undergoing the procedure. It could start with the very first step, where the woman is given hormones for egg production.
There have been cases where the kidney and liver have been damaged because of these fertilization hormones. Allergies and local reactions are other possible side effects.
Even when the ovules are extracted or the embryos transferred, chances of local damage are always there. Lastly there is always the risk of ectopic or multiple pregnancies.
IVF is an expensive procedure and like naturally pregnancies does not have a 100% success rate. The success rates decreases with the increase in the age of the woman.
A younger woman has a higher rate of success about 37% and someone in her forties is looking at 13% success rate.
Chances of miscarriage during pregnancy are the same with those in natural pregnancies. The chances for an ectopic pregnancy to occur are of 3-5%.
IVF has given hope to many infertile couples who may otherwise have not had a chance of bringing their children into this world. It is a revolutionary process in continuous evolution and maybe one day will be the safest solution for growing world infertility.