What is IVF
Every month tens of thousand's of couple's use the internet to seek more information about IVF. Here, you will find information about the process of IVF and referal's to other sounrces of information.
Baby making is a serious billion dollar industry. In the midst of that however, there are confused people like yourself who are reaching the point of desperation. It's an absolutely traumatic for childless couple's to have to endure month after month of unsuccessful attempt's to start or finish a family whilst watching everyone else taking their children for granted - I'm guilty of it.
If you have stumbed across this site, then you are seeking answers as to what exactly is involved in IVF treatments and you're quite possibly thinking about the fine print too - how much is it going to cost?
Please feel free to visit my blog called Getting Pregnant After... for more information about IVF prices and questions that you must ask your Doctor before deciding to use his/her clinic.
What is IVF: the G-Rated Version
In Vetro Fertilization is the process of harvesting a woman's ova (eggs) and inseminating them in a laboratory setting.
Despite of the common saying "test tube baby", the fertilized embyro's are only days old when they are implanted back into the uterus.
Many Doctor's find they have more success when they take control over the entire cycle. IVF is very intensive, very expensive and as such, is often a last resort to couple's.
IVF will benefit any couple who has been diagnosed with fertility problem's such as blocked fallopian tubes, endometreosis or ovulation issues. Male infertility - caused most commonly by obstructions, anti-sperm bodies or sperm production problem's - is also a cause for requiring IVF. Many same sex couples also use IVF to realize their dreams of becoming parents. Egg and sperm donors can be called upon in the event of one or both partners being unable to produce them.
The Cycle of IVF Can Be Broken Into Five Stages
Caution: Not for the squeamish.
IVF cycles take about three weeks to complete and are really quite an ordeal in themselves but since the alternative is infertility, many couples are grateful for the oppurtunity.
IVF begins with a series of injections which stimulate the ovaries into producing many ova instead of the one which is normally matured during the menstrual cycle. Care is taken not to over or under stimulate the ovaries and Doctor's may need to fine tune your treatment. Ultrasound will monitor the growth of the ova and urine testing will monitor hormone level's in your body.
Once matured, the eggs will need collecting. This day surgery is done in the clinic under a local anesthetic. During the surgey (called follicular aspiration) ultrasound images guide a long needle through the vagina and up to an ovary. The needle is gently inserted into the ovary and the folicles which house the eggs are carefully suctioned off one by one. The process is hen repeated at the other ovary. You may experience cramping afterwars but this generally subsides after a day of rest.
Under close supervision, your Doctor will chose the healthiest eggs to inseminate. Insemination is done by placeing your eggs and the sperm in a special chamber and left to their own devices - it usually takes a few hours.
However, if your Doctorthinks that the chances of insemination are low, staff will preform ICSI - intracytoplasmic`sperm injection. Some clinics prefer to do this regardless.
The egg becomes an embryo once it's cell begin to divide. After three to five days the embryo's are considered mature and are ready to return to the uterus. Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is occasionally offered at this stage to couples who are concerned about passing genetic complications onto their child. PGD is highly controversial and many clinics do not offer it.By the completion of this stage, several cells in your embryo's are actively dividing.
Depending on clinic protocol, you region and your age, 2-3 embryo's are transferred back into the uterus. This requires another day surgery at your clinic and more local anesthetic. This time, you'll be happy to hear that there is no needle but the surgery is still quite invasive. A thin catheter is used to carry the embryo's through the cervix and up into the womb. At this point in time, Researchers are still working on methods of embedding the embryo's into the mucusy lining of the uterus. They are simpley left in the womb with the hope that one (and sometimes more) will find their own way there. Medication can be offered to better prepare the ling and therefore increase the chances of this happening.
For additional information please consult your Doctor.
In the mean time, you can find lots of useful information here
including questions you need to ask that will help you choose the right IVF clinic, IVF prices from around the world and lots more conception and preconception info.
It is worth mentioning here that the success of IVF depends on the cause of infertility and the age of the woman. Please do not labor under the impression that IVF will fix the problem - most clinics average around 30% success rate and the chances that the first IVF treatment will be successfull are slim
Many clinics will offer a partial refund that you can reinvest into subsequent cycles and the price will be lower if you still had eggs from the first cycle frozen - which also means that you won't have to go through the first stages again =)
You will also be extremely pleased to hear about a recent study that concluded that stress does not effect the outcome of IVF. The report concluded with an note that Doctors should inform patients of this fact. In Vetro Fertilization is an incredibly traumatic time, not only the outcome of IVF but the added financial pressure too. While depression is linked to infertility, researchers are trying to determine if IVF is also a cause. In either case, please be wary of your emotional temperature.