For many fertility-challenged couples, in vitro fertilization is the only way to have biological children. This method of reproductive medicine has been used around the world for almost 40 years and has proved to be an effective treatment for infertility. IVF can help even in cases where natural conception is almost impossible. What is the procedure, how does in vitro fertilization work, and how do couples get prepared for it?
Preparation as the First Step of IVF
If you have decided to undergo the procedure, be ready to pass an extensive examination before getting into the IVF program. The results of the analysis and research will help find the cause of infertility and choose the right and effective treatment.
These are some of the diagnostic procedures that future parents need to undergo:
- Take a blood test for general analysis, biochemical and hormonal profiles, and coagulation. It is also necessary to determine the blood group and Rh factor;
- Check blood for viral hepatitis, syphilis, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV infection);
- Determine the levels of certain hormones in the bloodstream;
- Check the sperm;
- Take a fluorographic examination;
- Take laboratory tests for infections that can later affect the development of pregnancy;
- Make an electrocardiogram (ECG);
- According to the indications, hysteroscopy may be prescribed (the examination of the uterus from the inside with the help of special equipment).
How IVF Is Carried out
Once all the examinations are conducted, the doctor determines the type of IVF procedure to be carried out in a specific case. So how the method of ivf works step by step? The very procedure of in vitro fertilization can be divided into several stages.
- Stimulation of the ovulation – at this stage, a woman undergoes hormonal therapy. It is necessary for hormones not to accelerate the maturation of eggs and obtain several oocytes at once.
- Puncture of ovarian follicles – the manipulation is performed under general anesthesia. With the help of ultrasound, the location of mature follicles is determined and the follicular fluid is taken from them. Being taken from the female body, unripe eggs are placed in the nutrient environment for maturation.
- Fertilization of eggs – being taken from the follicular fluid, the eggs are transferred to a nutrient medium and placed in an incubator (temperature – 37 ° C; carbon dioxide concentration – 5%). The embryologist processes the sperm, and extracts a fraction of morphologically full-fledged active-motile spermatozoa. Together with the spermatozoa, the egg is placed into the test tube.
- Cultivation of embryos – it is necessary to wait 5 days for embryos to grow. Healthy embryos with a good fission rate are selected for insertion into the uterine cavity. How ivf works step by step video will give you more understanding of the method.
- Preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and preimplantation genetic screening (PGS) – the two manipulations are carried out at the stage of embryo selection. If future parents have genetic diseases, a geneticist performs diagnostics uncovering possible pathologies. The most common indication for PGD and PGS is the woman's age of more than 40 years.
- Transfer of embryos to the uterus – with a sterile catheter, the selected embryos are injected into the uterus of a future mother. Usually, more than one embryo is used.
- Cryopreservation – if several “good” embryos are formed, the doctor can offer cryopreservation. This allows to save the embryos in case the IVF attempt fails. It is also possible to freeze germ cells (spermatozoa or ovules) and keep them “for the future.”
- Hormonal support – two weeks after the transfer of embryos, a woman starts taking hormones for an embryo to develop normally.
- Diagnosis of pregnancy – in 12-14 days after the transplantation of embryos, it is possible to conclude whether the procedure has been successful. Results of hCG can give you an answer. The increased level of the hormone indicates the pregnancy. This is why in vitro fertilization method is good.
The effectiveness of the procedure depends on the physical condition of the female organism and reaches 30%.