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In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In-vitro fertilization is a laboratory procedure in which eggs are fertilized by sperms outside of the body. The first IVF procedure was performed in 1978. The baby named "Louise Brown" was the first to be born using this method. When the IVF results are positive, the embryo is physically transferred into the uterus.

This procedure is used to treat infertility or genetic issues. Among these disorders are:

  • Fallopian tube damage, which makes it difficult for sperm to fertilize the egg

  • Endometriosis frequently impairs the function of the ovaries and the uterus linen.

  • Ovulation issues, particularly in the case of infrequent or absent ovulation

  • Abnormalities in sperm production due to sperm concentration, size, and shape

  • A genetic condition where the risk of passing a genetic disorder to the baby is high. The IVF technique helps in detecting genetic problems and implanting only embryos that do not have the genetic disorders.

  • In case of cancer treatment or chemotherapy, IVF is performed to preserve and freeze the eggs for later use.

What are the different steps of IVF?

IVF is performed in five steps:

  1. First step: The woman is given fertility medications to induce ovulation and the production of multiple eggs. Typically, ultrasound is used to examine the ovaries and eggs during this phase. To aid in the maturation process, an HCG injection will be administered. The eggs will be ready to be extracted 24 hours after the injection.

  2. Second step: Once the eggs are ready, they will be extracted using a hollow needle guided by ultrasound.

  3. Third step: During that day, the partner will be asked to produce two different sperm samples

  4. Fourth step: The eggs from the woman and the sperm from its partner will be placed in a single incubator where fertilization will take place. In some cases, where fertilization is taking too long or is inadequate, an ICSI (Intra Cytoplasm Sperm Injection) may be performed. A microscope will be used to monitor the process until cell division occurs. At this point, the fertilized eggs will be referred to as embryos.

  5. Fifth step: After 2 to 4 days of incubation, the embryos will be inserted through the cervix into the uterus. Before the procedure, make sure you and your doctor have a discussion about the number of embryos that should be transferred. During this process, some women experience mild abdominal cramps. After the procedure you will be asked to be under bed rest and supervised closely for pregnancy symptoms. An ultrasound will determine the implantation of the egg.

The success rate of IVF is determined by a number of factors, including the age of the woman undergoing the procedure. The younger she is, the greater her chances of success.

You should also be aware of the following side effects factors:

  • Some medications used during the procedure may cause headaches or hot flushes.

  • Pregnancy with multiple births, which increases the risk of premature birth or low birth weight.

  • Ovarian hyper stimulation syndrome, which occurs as a result of the injection of fertility drugs. This would result in swollen and painful ovaries, which would cause nausea, abdominal pains, and bloating.

  • The egg retrieval procedure may result in bleeding or infection.

  • Ectopic pregnancy occurs in 2% to 5% of IVF cases and can lead to complications and the termination of the pregnancy.

You will have to wait about 12 days after the procedure to perform a pregnancy test. If you are pregnant, your doctor will prescribe progesterone pills for you to take at least during the first trimester. An ultrasound will be performed to count the number of viable embryos. Sometimes there are more than four!

If the test comes back negative, you'll stop taking the progesterone and, more than likely, you'll get your period after one week.

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