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In vitro fertilization

All About In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

What is In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)?

IVF stands for In Vitro Fertilization, which is an advanced fertilization procedure that helps infertile couples to conceive a child. In Vitro means something that takes place outside the body hence In vitro fertilization is a procedure where the fertilization of an egg with sperm is done in the lab. IVF is a series of distinct steps that make up the entire process of fertilization.

The IVF process involves the retrieval of eggs from a female body and then fertilizing it with sperms in the lab. Once the embryo is formed, it is transferred to the woman’s uterus or it is frozen for future use.

Everything You Need to Know About In vitro fertilization

Purpose | Preparation | Procedure | Risks and Complications | Results

Why is IVF done?

IVF is an infertility treatment often opted by couples that face problems in having a baby. IVF is usually opted after trying other simpler methods, like taking certain drugs to increase egg production or choosing IUI, where the sperm is directly transferred in the woman’s uterus.

IVF is one of the most effective ways of assistant reproductive techniques. It is used when the natural fertilization does not take place in the body. So the only option left is to do that fertilization process in the lab. There are various reasons for which IVF is required or can be helpful. These reasons include:

  1. Reduced fertility because of increasing age in women.
  2. Reduced eggs in the ovaries (decreased ovarian reserve) in the female.
  3. Endometriosis.
  4. Male infertility issues related to low sperm count.
  5. Damaged or blocked Fallopian Tubes.
  6. Uterine fibroids.
  7. Severe PCOS

How to Prepare for IVF

Once you decide you need the help of a fertility specialist, the first thing to keep in mind is to choose a proper fertility clinic. The IVF success rate depends upon a lot of things like the experience of the IVF team, quality of the lab, the reputation of the center, the methods they choose, the overall success rate of the procedure, etc.

After choosing an IVF clinic and getting a consultation, the process starts with an ovarian reserve test in which your doctor takes your blood sample to check for the level of Anti-Mullerian hormone (AMH). This test indicates the size and number of eggs in a female body. Your doctor can also do a transvaginal ultrasound to check for the number of eggs in the ovaries ( known as antral-follicular count).

Ultrasounds besides checking your ovarian health also rule out other diseases of the reproductive organs. This examination helps a doctor to check the uterus health and rule out cysts and fibroids. Besides a few other hormone tests and infection screening tests could be done on your first visit.

Meanwhile, the male partner will be asked to give a semen sample for sperm analysis that will tell about the quantity and the quality of sperms. If the sperm is weak, then a different procedure called ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) may be required as part of the IVF process.

Now, after all these tests and investigations, the doctor will tell you what will be the best treatment option and if IVF is advisable. In case that he says yes, it’s your choice to go for the same or not. For all other queries related to IVF, you can ask them at the initial stages.

IVF Procedures Step By Step

The entire IVF procedure contains different stages and steps that are performed one after the other. All these steps are:

  • Ovarian Stimulation: The first step of the IVF procedure includes the stimulation of the ovaries. During a normal menstrual cycle, a woman produces just one egg. But an IVF process requires multiple eggs to result in a good embryo. Your doctor will give you certain fertility drugs and injections starting from day two to day three of your periods to increase the egg production in your ovaries. After giving those drugs, the doctor will monitor the egg production and decide the best time to retrieve the eggs by the means of serial or sequential ultrasounds.
  • Egg Retrieval: Once the doctor finds that there is enough production of eggs in the ovaries, he will then perform the second step which is the retrieval of eggs. Once the eggs get mature, a trigger injection is given ( HCG injection usually) and retrieval of the egg is planned between 34 to 36 hours post the trigger injection. For this, the doctor (anesthetist) will give you anesthesia and use an ultrasound wand to make the needle reach the follicles that contain eggs. This needle will suction the fluid and the eggs from each follicle.
  • Fertilization: The next step in this process is of fertilizing the eggs and the sperms. Now, for this process, two ways can be used. Firstly, the doctor will mix the eggs and the sperms in a petri dish and the sperms will naturally fertilize the eggs overnight. But in this process, there’s a risk that if the sperms are weak, the fertilization may not occur. In the other process known as ICSI, the embryologist will select the best sperm and inject it into the egg for fertilization of the egg.
  • Embryo Culture: This step is a monitoring step in which the embryologist will monitor the embryos to see if they are developing and dividing. The embryo will divide into multiple forms and then make a blastocyst on day fifth. This is the stage where the embryo is ready to transfer and get implanted in the uterus. By doing a blastocyst transfer, we select the best embryo for transfer in the uterus.
  • Embryo Transfer: Once the embryos have grown into a blastocyst, they get ready to get implanted in the cavity of the uterus. This is the final and the most important step of the IVF procedure. The doctor uses a fine catheter and inserts it into the uterus. At last, the doctor releases the embryo in it.
  • Pregnancy support: Now, it seems like the process may end here, but the pregnancy results after the embryo get implanted on its own. The implantation takes 5-10 days in most IVF cases. This last stage is about pregnancy support where the patient is given doses of regular progesterone and other medical support.

After an IVF procedure

After completing the IVF procedure, the patient can go back to her normal life and can resume daily activities. The ovaries can still be enlarged, for which a patient should avoid doing any rigorous activity. You may also feel some side effects like spotting, breast tenderness, mild cramping, mild bloating, constipation, etc. Also, if you feel any discomfort or pain after the procedure, immediately consult your doctor.

IVF Risks and Complications

The IVF procedure also has some risks and complications a couple should know. Some risks are:

  • Premature delivery: It is often seen that the pregnancies done through IVF may sometimes result in premature delivery. The baby gets delivered before the standard time of 40 weeks and also has low birth weight.
  • Multiple Pregnancies: If your doctor transfers over one embryo in the uterus then there are chances of having multiple pregnancies. Now multiple pregnancies can come with a lot of complications like preterm labor, low birth weight of the baby, etc. But some couples who have been trying to have a baby for a long time can also prefer having twins. You can consult this with your doctor.
  • Miscarriage: The miscarriage chances with IVF pregnancy are 15-20% which similar to that of natural pregnancy. This chance increases with increasing maternal age.
  • Ectopic pregnancy: It is a kind of pregnancy in which the embryo gets implanted outside the uterus and it happens in 2 to 5% of the women who go for IVF. This type of pregnancy can not be continued.
  • Stress: Choosing an IVF procedure can come with emotionally, physical, and financial stress. It is normal to feel all sorts of mixed emotions but one must keep herself stress-free all the time. Try to relax by doing whatever you love, for example by doing yoga, watching comedy shows, doing fun activities as a couple of activities to stay stress-free.

IVF Results

After 15 days to two weeks of the egg retrieval process, the doctor will take a blood sample to detect if you are pregnant. The results can tell us two things, first that you are pregnant or the other one that you are not. So, in case the test is positive and you are pregnant, your doctor will recommend you to consult further for prenatal care.

And in case the pregnancy test is negative, your doctor will ask you to stop the consumption of progesterone and other medications. You may have your regular periods next month. If you notice unusual bleeding during your periods, consult your doctor at the earliest.

If your tests are positive, congratulations, your little bundle of joy is just nine months away. But, if your tests are negative, don’t lose your hopes because IVF doesn’t have a 100% success rate. In case your first cycle fails, you can go for other cycles as well. Don’t get disheartened and stressed by the negative results.

There are a lot of IVF cases in which the first cycle becomes successful but some couple needs more than one cycle to get pregnant. In case of failure, one needs to troubleshoot and try and rectify then. Also, always be positive because then positive things come to you.

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Abhishek Parashar

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Hi, I and my wife Garima got married in 2013, and it's been 7.5 years since we had no children. We went to three-four doctors before visiting Gunjan IVF world. Then we went to Gunjan IVF center, where Doctor Gunjan ma’am guided us so friendly and she advised us to go for IVF. With their positive hands, we cracked in the first go and now we are blessed with twins. Especially, the team is too very cooperative they give you an environment which makes you feel very positive and comforting

Rohit Krishna Gupta

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We started the treatment with Dr. Gunjan in the year 2018 when my wife had an ectopic pregnancy. The key thing in this relationship was that we trusted the doctor blindly and the doctor also put their best efforts to help us in getting the good news. Hope everything will go positively. Thank you, doctor. Last but not least, Mr. Gaurav, the COO of Dr. Gunjan Hospital, is the biggest reason to have this long association with the doctor and the treatment. Always got positive thoughts and suggestions from him and they helped a lot. Thank you, Gaurav Ji.

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Had a great experience with Dr. Gunjan. We visited the clinic as we had some queries regarding the conception process. Dr. Gunjan listened to the queries and answered all those with patience. And we had good news at the next consultation itself. Dr. Gunjan is very experienced, is soft-spoken, and very diligent with the process. Highly recommended!

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From the very depth of my heart, I would really love to thank my most excellent Dr. Gujan and her team whose guidance actually helped me a lot more than that I would like to give my gratitude to the most outstanding counselor (Ms. Nivedita) for all her counseling. It was actually possible with her help that I could take a perfect decision for my own self. Thank you for valuable counseling which actually provided inner strength to go for Gujan Mam. It’s not been long that I have been attached to the clinic but it makes me feel like an extended family of mine.

Know the Expert before you visit our clinic

A team of Specialists working together as a team with a single Goal: Patient Satisfaction

Dr. Gunjan Gupta Govil

MRCOG(UK), MD(Gynae) – Founder & CEO

She is a Gynaecologist with specialization in IVF, Infertility & Laparoscopy specialist doctor and has close to 2 decades of experience in treating Infertility, performing Gynae Laparoscopy (Keyhole Surgeries) & Handing high-risk Pregnancies. She is a noted speaker in National and International level conferences and has also chaired various sessions on Infertility

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