In-Vitro fertilization (IVF) is a type of Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) procedure used as an infertility treatment where an egg is combined with sperm outside the body (In-Vitro). In 1978, Louise Brown was the first child successfully born after her mother received IVF treatment. In IVF, multiple eggs are formed by the use of a few medications. The growth of these eggs is monitored by blood tests and ultrasounds scan (USG) when these eggs are ready and mature than they are taken out by a small surgical procedure (Egg pick up).
The eggs are then allowed to mix spontaneously or manually injected with the sperms under the microscope (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection-ICSI) in the special dish in the laboratory. These are then allowed to grow in a laboratory in culture media. Fertilized eggs (embryos) then can either be transferred back in the woman (embryo transfer) or can be frozen. The frozen embryo can be used anytime and can be kept frozen for any number of years. The result of the transfer (successful pregnancy or failed procedure) can be known after 14 days of the transfer. The success of the process depends on various factors which would be discussed by the doctor during a consultation. Not every woman will get pregnant at the 1st attempt for some it might take repeated attempts.
IVF is usually considered if:
• Blocked or obstructed uterine tubes (Fallopian tubes) of the female partner.
• Severe male infertility which includes conditions like very low male sperm count (Oligospermia), sperm motility (swimming ability) is poor (Asthenospermia), or if sperm needs to be extracted surgically from his testicles due to blockage in male tubes.
• A woman’s fertility reduces significantly as she ages, both egg count and quality are diminished. So if a female partner is over 35 years of age and has failed to get pregnant naturally or using other fertility methods after trying for months, IVF is an option.
• Females have had another cause of infertility (e.g. endometriosis, ovulation disorders, unexplained infertility), and other fertility methods haven’t worked.
• In case of a chromosomal abnormality or inherited genetic disease that you want to avoid passing on to your child. If so, IVF is combined with a pre-implantation genetic diagnosis. This means that the embryos (or in some cases, just the eggs) are tested for the disease, and only those without the disease are transferred to your uterus.
•Female ovaries have failed prematurely so the body isn’t producing any eggs. Donor eggs are required in this case.
•Female is about to undergo cancer chemotherapy and wants to preserve eggs or embryos.