What is IVF (In-vitro fertilization)?
IVF or “In Vitro Fertilisation” is a method of getting pregnant. An egg is fertilised by sperm outside of the body “in vitro”, which means in the glass. This procedure of combining an egg and sperm is done manually in a laboratory dish.
Later on, the embryos are transferred to the woman’s uterus. IVF is usually undertaken by couples struggling to conceive, same-sex couples or single women wishing to have a baby.
Nowadays, IVF has become very popular and sometimes it seems as the only answer to infertility. It is important to note, that IVF is not a treatment for infertility as it does not alter the cause. You can perceive it more as the method of getting pregnant. IVF cycles can be repeated for several times. It is a very demanding procedure in reproductive medicine.
How “In Vitro Fertilization” works?
All IVF treatments begin with hormone therapy. This procedure is used to stimulate egg production. To stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs than usual, daily injections are used. Moreover, a second injection is also given to release eggs before collection. Naturally, only a single egg is matured and ovulated each month.
By stimulating the ovaries, the hope is to get more eggs and a larger number of embryos at the end of the day. Today, different fertility drugs may be recommended by the doctor with IVF as they can help increase your chances of pregnancy.
Who will benefit from this treatment?
- Women suffering from endometriosis
- Individuals/Couples with a genetic condition which can be screened
- Unexplained infertility
- Infected or blocked fallopian tubes
- Male partner with fewer sperm counts and less motile sperms
- Women aged under 40 years who have not conceived after 2 years of regular unprotected intercourse
- Women with premature ovarian failure, blocked or damaged fallopian tubes, ovulatory disorders, polycystic ovarian syndrome, ovulation disorders, premature ovarian failure, uterine fibroids
- Patients for whom treatments such as artificial insemination have failed
- Same-sex couples and single women
The incidence of infertility is on the rise. Female and male causes of infertility are equally represented. Learn more about infertility causes (female&male).
How long does IVF take?
A full IVF cycle takes 3 weeks – 4 weeks to complete and it has three phases:
1) Stimulation of ovaries with hormones
2) Egg retrieval and fertilisation
3) Embryo transfer
The whole process of “In Vitro Fertilization”
Healthy single baby is the main aim of IVF. Once, you will under the IVF treatment, the IVF clinic will retrieve all the oocytes (Eggs) from the female partner and transferred to the oocyte dish, then the collected sperms are added to the dish in the laboratory for fertilisation.
When preparing for IVF, women take self-administered injections of fertility medications daily. The patient usually gives themselves two or three injections a day for 10 or more days.
When eggs are ready to be retrieved, the procedure is scheduled. During this treatment, the ultrasound probe is inserted into the vagina and a needle is guided alongside the probe into the ovary to collect the eggs. It is 5-10 minutes long procedure done under sedation.
On the other hand, male partner provides a sperm sample, which needs to be analyzed. If the sample is appropriate for fertilization, sperm capacitation will be used, ie. technology that provides the sperm with the ability to fertilize the egg outside of the body.
High-quality sperm samples are then added to each egg for fertilization. However, there are concerns that the sperm may have trouble fertilizing the egg, ICSI (Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection) is used – the sperm is injected into the egg directly using a very fine needle. There is a waiting period of two to five days before the embryos can be implanted into the uterus.
This period allows the embryos to grow and helps in choosing the most viable embryos for transfer into the uterus. Finally, the embryos are placed into the uterus using an embryo transfer catheter and guided through the cervix by ultrasound. Patients are advised to rest for about one hour after the procedure and then discharged. The first pregnancy test will be taken 17 to 18 days after egg retrieval.
How many times would I need to visit the clinic?
After an initial consultation with all the basic evaluation, the IVF clinic may require five to six visits in total to complete the IVF procedure.
Success rates for “In Vitro Treatments”
The success rate of IVF depends on your age and particular fertility problems, but it’s quite a safe procedure. “For women who are in their 30s, it’s a very effective treatment, even for the most fertility problem.
According to portal American Pregnancy, the live birth rate for each IVF cycle is approximate:
- 41-43% for women under age 35
- 33-36% for women ages 35 to 37
- 23-27% for women ages 38 to 40
- 13-18% for women ages over 40
Is it a painful procedure?
It’s not a painful procedure.
Do I need a hospital stay?
No, IVF procedure doesn’t need a hospital stay. The doctor may recommend rest for 5-7 days post Embryo transfer.
How do I choose an IVF clinic abroad?
There are so many reasons why people decide to go for a treatment abroad. Firstly, it might be the waiting list in their home country, low quality of services or the cost of the procedures as one of the most decisive factors.
Do you want to undertake your IVF treatment abroad? Check GCR report – Top 10 IVF clinics in Europe.
It does not matter if you would like to undergo dental, cosmetic, IVF or any other type of treatment, it is always better to be prepared – for your own safety and peace of mind. In this article, you can read 5 handy tips to consider before scheduling the first consultation in a clinic abroad. In nutshell:
- Do extensive research before choosing a clinic,
- Be very curious about selected clinics,
- Double check the clinic before booking (look at expertise, facilities, services, feedback score, location, payment methods),
- Consult your treatment with your personal doctor,
- Use the extra services in the selected clinic.