What Is IVF?

What Is In Vitro Fertilisation (IVF)?

In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is one of the many fertility treatments out there. But what exactly is it and how does it work? How do you know if it’s right for you? These are all questions we will help you answer!

In vitro literally means “in the glass” and refers to the fact that fertilisation occurs in a laboratory rather than the body. A combination of medications and surgery is used to ensure the egg is fertilised and that the fertilised egg is implanted into your uterus.

So How Does It Work?

The first step is taking fertility medications for a few months before the procedure. This is to ensure that you have several eggs that are healthy, mature, and ready for fertilisation. During this process, known as Ovulation Induction, you may have regular blood tests or ultrasounds done to monitor your hormone levels and egg production.

Once you have enough matured eggs, it’s time for Egg Retrieval. This is a minor procedure done by a doctor – you will be given medication to help you relax. The doctor will then insert a thin tube into your vagina and into the ovary. Here, it will use a suction device to gently remove the eggs from the follicles.

Now it’s time for the in vitro part – your eggs are mixed with sperm from your partner or donor and fertilisation occurs. If the sperm have motility issues (they don’t move good), they may have to be injected directly into the egg. Once fertilisation occurs, fertilised egg is monitored.

After 3-5 days, the developing embryos will be put into your uterus. The doctor will slide a thin tube through your cervix and into your uterus, where the embryos will then be deposited. This process of embryo transfer is usually not painful.

Spend the rest of the day resting and you’re good to go! Pregnancy will occur if any of the embryos attach to the walls of your uterus. You may take pills or get shots of progesterone for 8-10 weeks after embryo transfer to improve the chances of success.

Side Effects of IVF

As with just about any medication or medical procedure, In Vitro Fertilisation comes with a set of risks and side effects. If any of these concern you, talk to your doctor about them.

  • Cramps
  • Bloating
  • Mood swings
  • Tender breasts
  • Headaches
  • Bruising around injection sites
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Premature delivery
  • Multiple births
  • Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome

Who Can Undergo IVF?

If you’re thinking of using IVF to overcome fertility issues, you may have success with less invasive options such as Intrauterine Insemination (insert link here) or fertility drugs.

IVF is an option if you or your partner has:

  • Endometriosis
  • Ovulation issues
  • Damage to fallopian tubes
  • Premature Ovarian Failure
  • Low sperm count/function
  • Unexplained infertility
  • A genetic disorder

All in all, In Vitro Fertilisation is a powerful fertility treatment that is a great choice for many people. That said, it can be a long, tiring process that will put you under considerable stress – it’s an invasive procedure, after all. However, it is generally regarded as the most effective method of artificial reproduction.

Talk to your doctor if you’re thinking about IVF as an option for you.

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