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About IVF

In vitro fertilization

In vitro fertilization

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a treatment of infertility in which a womens eggs (oocytes) are fertilized by sperm in a laboratary dish. One or more of the fertilized eggs (embryos) are then transferred into the woman’s uterus, where it is hoped they implant and produce a pregnancy.

This topic will discuss the reasons IVF might be recommended, the medications used to prepare for IVF, and the outcomes of treatment.

Who Should Consider In Vitro Fertilizaztion?

In Vitro Fertilizaztion

IVF is usually considered by couples who have :

  1. Absent or blocked fallopian tubes
  2. Severe male factor infertility (sperm counts or sperm motility is low).
  3. Advanced reproductive age, as time to conception is critical and pregnancy rates with other therapies are low.
  4. All other causes of infertility, after failing treatment with other therapies (eg :- endometriosis, ovulation disorders unexplained infertility).
  5. Ovarian failure, although donor eggs would be required in this case.

Although IVF has a high rate of success in helping couples to become pregnant, it has some disadvantages as well, including high costs (cost is very competitive & the lowest at Dream Flower), potential risks from fertility medications and invasive procedures used, as well as increased rate of multiple gestation (ie, twins or triples) There may also be an increased risk of some pregnancy complications such as preterm birth. Ectopic pregnancies can occur after IVF, although the risk is lower than with other fertility therapies.

Women who are considering IVF should discuss the risks, benefits and alternatives with their healthcare provider at Dream Flower before treatment begins. In most cases several cycles of a less expensive infertility treatment are recommended before considering IVF.

In Vitro Fertilization Procedure

The IVF procedure consists of several steps that take place over a period of weeks:

  1. Education of the couple about the complex steps involved in IVF, its risks and benefits, and techniques for giving injections at home.
  2. Stimulation of the ovaries to produce several eggs.
  3. Retrieval of the eggs from the ovaries and obtaining a semen sample.
  4. Fertilization of the eggs with sperm and growth of the embryos in the laboratory.
  5. Transfer of one or more embryos into the uterus.

More than one cycle of IVF treatment is often necessary before pregnancy occurs. Unfortunately, some women will not become pregnant despite multiple IVF attempts.

Ovarian Stimulation – The first step of the IVF procedure involves the use of fertility medications to increase the number of eggs (follicles) that develop in the ovaries and control the time of ovulation. The stimulation regimen is selected based upon the woman’s dignosis and the physician’s preferances. It is possible to perform IVF without ovarian stimulation. This is known as “natural cycleI IVF” or “unstimulated IVF” usually only one egg is retrieved. However, the vast majority of IVF cycles world wide are preformed with some type of ovarian stimulation.

The ovarian stimulation regimen described below is an example and may differ from that recommended by your docotor.

  1. Many clinics will prescribe a birth control pill for the woman to take for one or more weeks before begining IVF. The pill help to prevent the women’s body from releasing hormones that could stimulate natural ovulation.
  2. The woman herself or a trained nurse will start giving injections of a medication a (GnRH agonist) that helps to prevent the body from releasing the hormones that could stimulate ovulation or allow premature ovulation. This medication is called leuprolide acetate or Lupron , and it is started approximately one week after starting the birth control pill. The injection can be given under the skin in most cases and is not painful.
  3. Most programs ask that you call on the first or second day of menstrual bleeding to schedule an appointment for blood tests and an ultrasound. The first day of menstrual bleeding is considered day one of the cycle.
  4. On day three to five, you may be aksed to have a pelvic ultrasound to evaluate your ovaries and blood testing to measure hormone level. If these tests are OK, you will be given a date to start giving yourself injections with FSH to stimulate the growth of egg follicles. In most cases, you will give yourself and injection to FSH once per day, generally in the evening. The injection can usually be given under the skin, rather than deep in to the muscle.
  5. After a few days of injections, you will be asked to have a pelvic ultrasound to measure follicle growth, and a blood test to measure hormone levels. Depending upon the results of these tests, the dose of FSH may be increased or decreased. Blood testing and pelvic ultrasound may be repeated several times during a cycle.
  6. In some cases, a class of medication called a GnRH agonist. (abarelix/Plenaxis), cetrorelix / Cetrotide, or ganirelix/Antagon will be recommended instead of the GnRH agonist. In this case, stimulation with FSH is started immediately after stopping the birth control pill and the antagonist is added once the follicles have reached a certain size ( often round 14 mm) . This medication helps to prevent premature ovulation.
  7. The goal of stimulation is to have least two follicles that are approximately 15 to 18 mm in size. When blood testing and ultrasound measurements show that the follicles are “ready” you will be instructed to give an injection to hCG to trigger ovulation. hCG stands for human chronic gonadotropin, with brand names including Ovidrel, Pregnyl, and Novarel. hCG is usually injected under the skin at a particular time in the evening. This allows the follicles to be ready for egg retrieval during a window of time, approxmately 36 hours later.

Side effects of treatment – FSH injections do not cause side effects directly. However, the ovaries become enlarged during treatment, which can cause abdominal swelling and discomfort, and in more severe cases, nausea or even vomiting.

Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is a condition in which the side effects of ovarian enlargement and abdominal swelling become extreme. The woman may develop severe abdominal pain, vomiting and if untreated, blood clots in the legs or lungs and fluid imbalances in the blood. Mild forms of OHSS occur in 2 to 6 percent of women undergoing ovulationinduction of IVF. Severe cases of OHSS occur in approximately 1 percent of cases (These symptoms may be brought to the notice of the Doctor for early treatment and to avoid complications).

The risk of OHSS can be reduced by cancelling the IVF cycle when blood estrogen levels become too high or there are too many follicles seen on ultrasound. The IVF cycle may be cancelled after oocytes are retrieved, they are often fertilized and cryopreserved for use in a subsequent cycle. Because symptoms of OHSS peak approximately three of five days after egg retrievel, the decision to freeze all embryos may be delayed until this time. (See Storing unsed embryo’s below.)

Egg retrieval – Approximately 32 to 36 hours after injecting hCG, a procedure is performed to retrieve the eggs. The physician inserts an ultrasound probe into the vagina and then uses a needle to withdraw the egg from each follicle. The procedure take approximately 15 to 30 minutes, depending upon how many follicles are present. This is generally done while the woman is sedated.

Serious complications of oocyte retrieval are uncommon, but side effects such as pelvic cramping, light bleeding, and vaginal discaharge often occur. If these problems are persistent or become severe, it is important to call a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Abdominal swelling and discomfort may also be signs or early ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), so close contact with the healthcare provider (s) is a good idea.

Postprocedure care – After the retrieval, the patient will be monitored in a recovery are for a few hours and then allowed to go home. Due to the effects of the anesthesia, the patient should not drive or return to work for approximately 24 hours.

Fertilization – After the retrieval procedure, the eggs are combined with sperm in a laboratory dish so they will fertilize. In general, approximately 50 percent of occytes become fertilized.

In cases of severe male factor infertility, fertilization is achieved by intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) ICSI is an option for all men with severe male factor infertility, regardless of their sperm count. Only mature occytes can be injected. Fertilization rates with ICSI range from 50 to 70 percent .

Embryo transfer – Approximaterly two or five days after the retrieval, one or more eggs that have been fertilized (embryos) are placed in the woman’s uterus using a thin, flexible catheter inserted through the cervix. Most commonly, embryo transfer is performed on day 3 after egg retrieval. The catheter is inserted as gently as possible to minimize uterine cramping; traumatic transfer procedures are associated with lower success rates. Anesthesia is not usually needed for this procedure.

Following the transfer procedure, the woman is generally encouraged to rest at home for several hours. Although studies do not show that rest increases the chance of pregnacy, many women prefer not to resume their normal activities immediately.

Most clinics will prescribe a progesterone medication to improve the chances that the embryo will implant inside the uterus. This medication is started either on the day of retrieval or the day of transfer. There are several ways to administer progesterone, with the most common being a vaginal gel or suppository, or an injection given into a muscle.

How many embryos to transfer? – The number of embryos transferred depends upon the woman or couple’s preferences, the previous history of pregnancy and miscarriage, the woman’s age, and the quality of the embryos. Younger woman (under age 35) in their first cycle of IVF are often encouraged to have only one or two embryos transferred. If multiple attempts of IVF are not successful in achieving preganancy, A physician may recommended transferring more than one or two embryos to increase the chances of pregnancy. However, this may also increase the risk of multiple gestation (twins, triplets)

How many embryos to transfer? – The number of embryos transferred depends upon the woman or couple’s preferences, the previous history of pregnancy and miscarriage, the woman’s age, and the quality of the embryos. Younger woman (under age 35) in their first cycle of IVF are often encouraged to have only one or two embryos transferred. If multiple attempts of IVF are not successful in achieving preganancy, A physician may recommended transferring more than one or two embryos to increase the chances of pregnancy. However, this may also increase the risk of multiple gestation (twins, triplets)

Storing unused to transfer no more than one or two embryos.

Storing unsed embryos – Embryos that are not transferred may be stored by freezing them (called cypropreservation) Because some embryos do not survive the thawing process, the chances of a successful pregnancy using frozen embryos is lower than that when using fresh embryos.

The embryos may be cryopreserved for an unlimited period of time. However, most couples are encouraged to choose one of the following options .

  1. Transfer the embryos at a later date.
  2. Donate them for research or for use by another couple.
  3. Dispose of the embryos.

Testing For Pregnancy After In Vitro Fertilization

Blood testing – Apprtoximately two weeks after the embryo transfer, a blood or urine test for hCG, the hormone that signifies pregnancy, can be done. Home urine pregnancy testing is not as sensitive for detecting an early pregnancy as blood testing.

  1. If the first blood hCG level is < 5 IU/L, the woman is not pregnant.
  2. If the first hCG level is >1010 IU/L, the test is usually repeated 48 hours later to confirm that the levels are increasing. The hCG level should approximately double every 48 hours during the first 21 days after embryo transfer.
  3. If the second hCG level does not double or decrease, the blood test may be repeated again 48 hours later. Depending upon the situation, there is a possibility that the pregnancy is not viable. hCG levels do not increase or begin to decline when the pregnancy is not progressing normally. (See ‘When in vitro fertilization is not successful’ below)

Ultrasound – If the hCG levels increase as expected, a pelvic ultrasound may be done three to four weeks after the transfer. At this time, it is usually possible to see a gestational sac inside the uterus. The gestational sac is a fluid- filled sac containing the embyo.

At five to 6 weeks of pregnancy (4 to 5 weeks after the transfer), the yolk sac is usually visible. The yolk sac provides nourishment to the embyo early development. A heart beat is usually visible by 6 to 6.5 weeks of pregnancy (4 to 4.5 weeks after the transfer).

Pregnancy care – In most cases, pernatal care begins at 6 to 10 weeks of pregnancy. At this time, the woman will begin to see her obstetrical physician or nurse on a regular basis. These visits allow the obstetrical provider to monitor the woman and baby’s health and to answer any questions.

When In Vitro Fertilization Is Not Successful

In vitrto fertilization has a resonable rate of success in most cases. Overall, approximately 30 percent of IVF cycles will end in a live birth, and the cumulative chances of success are higher when more than one cycle of IVF is done.

Overall, approximately 30 percent of IVF cycles will end in a live birth, and the cumulative chances of success are higher when more than one cycle of IVF is done.

However, an individual’s chance of success depends on several factors, including the woman’s age, cause of in infertility, and treatment approach, For example, in the India, the live birth rate for each IVF cycle started is approximately 30 to 35 percent for women over 40. The sucess rates of individual infertility clinics in the India, is published on the internet at the society for Assisted Reproductive Technology (www.sarft.org).

It can be difficult to deal with the emotional highs and lows of infertility treatment. This is especially true if the woman (and her partner) have been trying to conceive for a long time, if treatment is not covered by insurance, or if there are underlying problems in the couple’s life (eg, medical, family, partner, job, finacial)

Costs Of In Vitro Fertilization Treatment

The costs of IVF treatments can be high, depending upon what tests are required, the type and dose of medication (s) used, and the number of cycles required to become pregnant.

Dream Flower IVF centre ensure the best treatment at the most affordable cost infact it is the most cost effective centre in the country.

Where To Get More Information

Your healthcare provider is the best source of information for questions and concerns related to your medical problem. At Dream Flower our IVF coordinator Dr. Jayalakshmi Suraj can be contacted for more details.

E-Mail: jayalakshmisuraj@yahoo.com
Phone: +91 9447000616