In-Vitro-Fertilization, commonly known as IVF, is a “not so talked about” mysterious IVF process for infertility to produce tube babies. The IVF process involves fertilization of an egg in combination with a sperm outside the body.
In Vitro is procedure performed in a test tube or elsewhere outside of a living human being. In this process, the egg/eggs known as the ova/ovum are removed from a woman’s ovaries and fertilized outside with the help of sperm in a liquid. Once the eggs (zygote) fertilizes, they are reimplanted in the same woman’s or another woman’s uterus. This process is undertaken to establish a successful pregnancy.
The Procedure of IVF Involves the Following Steps:
#1. Ovarian Stimulation :
For those who are starting IVF using their eggs will be treated with synthetic hormones in the beginning. This is done to produce multiple eggs instead of the single egg produced each month. Several eggs are used as all eggs don’t fertilize. The doctor will decide which medicine to use and when to use.
In most cases, about one to two weeks is required for the stimulation to take place for the eggs to be ready for retrieval. Methods like vaginal ultrasound and blood tests are used by doctors to check if the eggs are available for collection. If your cycle is canceled, the doctor will recommend you to take the help of an egg donor.
#2. Egg Retrieval :
The process of egg retrieval is done after 34 to 36 hours after the last injection right before ovulation. During the process, the patient will be calmly made to sleep using medical drugs. The method of transvaginal ultrasound aspiration is used for retrieval. An ultrasound probe is inserted into an ultrasound guide to go through the follicles in the vagina. If the ovaries aren’t accessible, then an abdominal ultrasound is used.
The eggs are removed from the follicle through the needle connected to the suction device. This process takes about 20 minutes. The mature eggs are then placed in a nutritive liquid and incubated. The healthy mature eggs mix with the sperm to create embryos.
#3. Sperm Retrieval :
In cases where the male partner’s sperm is used, he is required to provide a semen sample with the help of masturbation on the same morning as the egg retrieval. Methods such as testicular aspiration are also used to extract sperm directly from the testicles. Donor sperm is also used in several cases. After then, the sperm is separated from the semen in a laboratory.
The most common methods used for impregnation are:
Conventional Insemination: In this process, healthy sperm and mature eggs are mixed and incubated throughout the night.
Intracytoplasmic Sperm: Also known as ICSI, in this process. A single healthy sperm is directly injected into the mature eggs. This method is used when the previous IVF cycles haven’t been successful or if there is a problem with the semen quality. Other procedures may also be recommended, like assisted hatching and preimplantation genetic testing.
This process takes place about two to five days after egg retrieval. This is usually painless. For this process, the doctors insert a flexible tube called a catheter into the vagina of the woman through the cervix. A syringe is attached to one end of the catheter which suspends embryos in small amounts. With the help of this process, the doctor places the embryo or embryos into the uterus. If the process is successful, the embryo will start to implant in the uterus lining in about six to ten days after egg retrieval.
After this process is completed, women can resume normal activities. It is advisable to avoid rigorous activities. After about 12 days, the doctor will take a blood sample to determine if the woman is pregnant or not finally. If pregnant, the doctor will recommend an obstetrician. If not, the woman can stop taking progesterone and will get her period within a week.