Technology has advanced so far beyond what we can imagine – everything is within reach of humanity’s hands, from food, light, air, and even starting life. Scientific developments have made it possible for people, particularly hopeful couples, to conceive and finally create their own families.
One option that is available as a fertility treatment is in-vitro fertilization (IVF). In Australia alone, the IVF success rate has increased by 18% in the past decade, with 16 310 babies conceived and born through the treatment. IVF gives a chance to women, especially those who have had difficulty getting pregnant, to have a child of their own.
As IVF has been around for quite some time, you might have a basic idea of what happens during the treatment: you unite the egg cell and the sperm cell outside of the mother’s body and on a petri dish. Here are the things you specifically need to know about IVF and how the process of having one goes:
First, What is In-Vitro Fertilization?
In-vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the forms of assisted reproductive treatment (ART). The eggs from the mother are fertilized with sperm from the father or another male donor. IVF is often employed as a treatment for women who experience infertility.
Several clinics in AUS provide ART services, one of which is Perth fertility clinic, Fertility North. IVF is commonly used to address the following issues:
- Challenges in line with fertility among older women
- Women having blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
- Women dealing with endometriosis
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, IVF in Australia has fortunately not been affected, with treatments and procedures continuing. Moreover, the success rate of IVF procedures has significantly improved, despite reducing the number of embryos transferred.
How Is In-Vitro Fertilization Done?
IVF is a step-by-step procedure, and one cycle coincides with one woman’s menstrual cycle who wants to avail of such treatment. The steps are as follows:
Step 1: Undergo some blood tests.
At the onset of your menstrual cycle, you will inform your chosen fertility clinic that your period has already started. You should immediately have a blood test that morning. If your period begins in the afternoon or later in the evening, the next day will be considered day one of your menstrual cycle.
Step 2: Stimulating of egg production through superovulation
In this initial step, the woman is given fertility medicine to boost her egg production. Regularly, a woman produces one egg per month. These fertility drugs wire the brain to signal to the ovaries to produce eggs. This lasts until the eggs are to a specific standard size and may take eight days or for others longer.
Step 3: Egg retrieval
Once the eggs mature, the doctor will retrieve the eggs from the woman’s body through a minor follicular aspiration surgery. The doctor will do this with the woman under light anesthesia. The procedure uses ultrasound imaging as a guide, wherein the doctor inserts a needle through the vagina and into the ovary and follicles to retrieve the eggs.
Step 4: Embryo development
After the eggs are retrieved, the sperm are placed together with the best-determined quality eggs. This mixing of the sperm and egg is commonly known as insemination. The eggs and sperm are then stored in a controlled chamber, wherein the egg fertilization process commences. They are kept in this chamber in the laboratory for 2 to 5 days until the embryos develop.
If the doctor perceives a low chance for fertilization, the sperm may be directly injected into the egg.
Step 5: Embryo Transfer
Once the eggs are fertilized, and there is a development with the embryos, the doctor will transfer one embryo (at times two) into the uterine cavity. When several good-quality embryos develop, they will be kept frozen for later use in embryo transfer processes.
Step 6: Pregnancy Test
After the doctor transfers the embryo into the ovary, there will be a two-week wait before the expectant mother can administer a pregnancy test. Unlike the usual tests done with a kit, the woman assisted by her doctor will do pregnancy testing through a blood test.
Are There Any Contraindications to IVF Treatments?
As of recent studies, there are no known absolute contraindications to IVF treatments. However, it is advised that it should not be performed on women who have a high risk of morbidity and mortality in pregnancy if the procedure turns out to be successful.
Other known risks, albeit should not raise any worries for women who would want to undergo the procedure, are due to possible side effects such as:
- Bruising on the injection site
- Nausea and occasional vomiting after the procedure
- Allergic reactions on the injection site such as itching or reddening of the skin
- Fatigue and abrupt mood swings
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
Although the success of artificial treatments for infertility such as IVF is not guaranteed as women’s bodies react differently to such procedures, it is essential not to lose hope and be informed of the available options. Do not be afraid to ask as many questions, and to ask for clarity from your local professional healthcare providers.