Understanding In Vitro Fertilization
According to a report from the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly 18% of the adult population will experience infertility at some point in their life. These people may be able to use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to conceive. IVF is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) technique that can help couples overcome infertility. Besides helping couples who are having difficulty conceiving, IVF can also be used to detect genetic problems. Furthermore, in vitro fertilization allows women without male partners to conceive using donor sperm. During the in vitro fertilization process, the embryologist places an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The goal is for the sperm to enter the egg and create a zygote. Following fertilization, once cell division begins, the zygote becomes an embryo. The embryo is transferred into the uterine cavity. Ideally, the embryo implants within the uterus, resulting in a live birth nine months later.
What Is an In Vitro Fertilization Cycle?
The IVF cycle takes approximately two weeks and involves using fertility medication to stimulate the ovaries. Fertility medication causes the ovaries to create multiple oocytes.
Once an oocyte matures, it is referred to as an ovum. The doctor retrieves the ovum from the ovarian follicles.
An ovum may be fertilized in the laboratory to create a zygote, or the eggs may be cryopreserved for fertilization at a later date.
If numerous embryos develop, those that are not being transferred can be cryopreserved.
Who Should Consider In Vitro Fertilization?
IVF is a highly effective assisted reproductive technology technique that can help people experiencing certain fertility issues.
Infertility issues that in vitro fertilization can help people overcome include:
- A low sperm count
- Poor quality sperm
- Fallopian tubes that are damaged or blocked
- Uterine fibroids
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
IVF can also be used to detect a genetic disease or disorder.
What To Expect During the In Vitro Fertilization Cycle
The Melbourne IVF cycle at Viera Fertility Clinic consists of five basic steps.
Since an ovary usually produces just one ovum per month, you receive a prescription for a fertility drug. You take this medication to stimulate both of your ovaries, so they will produce more eggs.
During this step, the fertility specialist performs routine transvaginal ultrasounds to examine your ovaries and determine when the oocytes are mature enough to retrieve. In addition, your blood is drawn, so the doctor can check your hormone levels.
2. Follicular Aspiration
To retrieve the ovum, the doctor performs minor surgery. To ensure you remain comfortable during this procedure, you are lightly sedated. This type of sedation is referred to as twilight anesthesia.
Once you are sedated, the doctor inserts a thin catheter through your vagina and into the uterus. While using ultrasound images as a guide, the specialist inserts the catheter into the ovary and the follicles that contain the eggs.
A suction device is connected to this catheter. The eggs are gently pulled out of each follicle. Your fertility specialist retrieves the eggs one at a time.
After egg retrieval, you may experience some cramping. However, this symptom typically subsides within 24 hours.
Although rare, a pelvic laparoscopy is sometimes necessary to retrieve eggs for IVF.
If you are unable to produce eggs, you can have in vitro fertilization using a donor’s eggs.
3. Fertilization and Insemination
The embryologist determines which eggs are of the highest quality. These eggs are placed in a laboratory dish with sperm.
Insemination refers to the mixing of egg and sperm.
The eggs and sperm are placed in an environmentally controlled chamber.
The traditional in vitro fertilization technique involves the sperm fertilizing the egg, which typically occurs a few hours after insemination takes place. However, most IVF treatments today are performed using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). The ICSI procedure involves the embryologist injecting one sperm directly into an egg.
4. Embryo Culture
Once the zygote divides, it is an embryo. The embryo is routinely monitored to ensure it is growing properly.
5. The Embryo Transfer
After approximately 3 to 5 days, your fertility specialist transfers the healthy embryos into the uterus. The number of embryos your doctor transfers depends on several factors. You and your doctor will discuss the number of viable embryos you have and how many will be transferred into your uterus before your IVF procedure.
The embryo transfer involves the insertion of a thin tube into your vagina, through the cervix and into your uterus. Once the embryos are released into the uterus, the embryologist checks to make sure that the embryos are no longer in the tube.
What Is Preimplantation Genetic Testing (PGT)?
With PGT, the embryologist screens the embryos for specific genetic disorders, allowing parents to decide which embryos to transfer.
If you are having difficulty conceiving, contact Viera Fertility Center in Melbourne, Florida, today at 321-751-4673 (HOPE). You can also use our online form by clicking here. Schedule your appointment today, so our fertility specialists can determine your candidacy for an assisted reproductive technology technique, including in vitro fertilization.