In vitro fertilization or more commonly known as IVF is a fertility treatment carried out to achieve pregnancy. The process involves the extraction of eggs and fertilizing them by the highest quality sperms in a laboratory dish. The fertilized embryo is transferred into the uterus for implantation.
IVF has been a successful fertility treatment for patients with infertility issues. It has given hope to many couples who have been unsuccessful in achieving pregnancy on their own or through multiple treatments. The IVF method may be expensive for many people and they go for the less costly options such as IUI first. However, IVF is the fertility treatment with a high chance of pregnancy in case of patients who have lost hope to have a child of their own.
Who May Benefit from IVF Treatment?
Women having blocked fallopian tubes have very few or zero chances of getting pregnant naturally as the sperms cannot pass through them. IVF procedure can be really helpful in such cases as the fertilized egg will be transferred into the uterus directly without having to pass through the tubes.
IVF procedure is also very useful in cases of male infertility. Decreased sperm count and motility can interfere with a woman’s chances if getting pregnant naturally because the sperm is not capable of travelling all through the reproductive canal to fertilize the egg successfully.
Women having ovulation disorders also face difficulties in getting pregnant as the ovaries are incapable of producing or maturing eggs in each cycle. Uterine fibroids also inhibit the chances of a successful pregnancy. In all such cases, IVF can be a successful treatment method.
IVF is also an option for women who have had their fallopian tubes removed. This may become a barrier for pregnancy and that is when such a treatment will be needed. Genetic disorder is also a problem for conceiving which is why people opt for IVF. Moreover, there may be many unexplained infertility reasons which suggest the use of IVF procedure as it increases the chances of a successful pregnancy.
What Steps are Involved in IVF Procedure?
IVF treatment is a complex method of fertilizing an egg with sperm artificially. The main steps can guide you well about the whole procedure.
Step 1 – Women are prescribed with fertility medications to stimulate their ovaries for egg production. More eggs are required for increased chances of achieving a pregnancy successfully. Some eggs will not be fertilized as not all eggs develop fully for fertilization to occur. Transvaginal ultrasounds are done to examine how eggs are developing so thy may be retrieved for IVF. Also, blood tests are done to check hormone levels throughout the cycle.
Step 2 – A surgical procedure is carried out to retrieve eggs with the help of a hollow needle.
Step 3 – The male provides the sperm sample to be prepared for the fertilization of eggs.
Step 4 – The process of insemination takes place when the prepared eggs and sperm are mixed in a laboratory dish for fertilization to occur. Another process known as ICSI is carried out in cases where the probability of fertilization is very low. In such cases, a sperm is injected into the egg for fertilization. This increases the chances of fertilization even more as the most capable sperm is injected into the egg. The fertilization is monitored for cell division and then the resulting fertilized egg is called an embryo.
Step 5 – The resulting fertilized egg is transferred into a woman’s uterus after 4 or 5 days of the process. This is done through a catheter which is painless for most women. Implantation is the next process carried out by the body on its own after transferring the embryo into the uterus. This takes place after 6 or 10 days.
What are the Side Effects of IVF Procedure?
IVF is usually a painless procedure although some women may experience some cramping. Women can also resume normal activities after the procedure as most of them will not affect your conception. There may be some side effects of the procedure which are usually are of no concern.
Discharge after IVF
Discharge is common after the IVF procedure as there may be clear fluid passing after the process. This is because of the insertion of needle and catheter into the uterus through a woman’s vagina. This is very similar in case of the discharge after IUI process which involves less complexities but is still an artificial fertility procedure.
Women may also experience mild cramping after the IVF procedure as the uterus may take some time to adjust the fertilized egg into the lining. The egg embeds into the uterine lining in every naturally occuring pregnancy which may also cause cramping and even some light spotting.
Bloating and Constipation
Bloating and constipation are both symptoms of a successful pregnancy and even IVF or IUI can cause these. So, there is no need for worry as this can be a happy sign that you have successfully conceived.
Here comes another side effect of every pregnancy and same goes for IVF resulting conception. The breasts get tender and sensitive to touch as the hormone levels fluctuate as soon as pregnancy is achieved. This is a natural process and pregnancy brings a havoc of hormones throughout the phase.
This may be a serious cause of concern as there should not be any bleeding in case of a successful conception. You should visit your doctor in emergency to avoid any chance of miscarriage. Even blood in the urine should be taken seriously as this may be a sign of danger.
This is also a side effect that should immediately be reported to your doctor to avoid any complications. Pelvic pain can hurt and can be a sign of danger so you should not wait and see your doctor as soon as you notice it.
Side Effects of Fertility Medications
Fertility medications are not an easy journey for some women to go through as they may cause some really annoying side effects. These effects may include headaches, mood swings, hot flashes, abdominal bloating, abdominal pain, and hyper stimulation of ovaries.
Risks of IVF Treatment
Medical procedures may always be associated with risks. The risks of side effects may include nausea, decreased urinary frequency, difficulty breathing, dizziness, bloating, severe stomach pain, excess weight gain within 3 to 5 days.
More serious risks when IVF procedure is carried out include damage to the bowel or bladder with needle insertion, increased chances of multiple pregnancies, and an increased risk of miscarriage with higher maternal age. Another common side effect of IVF is the psychological stress couples go throughout the process. IVF is an expensive treatment and since most plans do not cover the costs for such treatments, it may make your even more stressed.
Success Rate of IVF Procedure
The success rates of IVF procedure depends on a number of factors including maternal age, infertility cause, and lifestyle factors. The rate of live births also decreases significantly with declining age of women. IVF has become very common as it brings hope for couples. It has been successful in many cases of unexplained infertility and is therefore worth a try.