The complete process of IVF treatment
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is known as one of the different techniques available to help those with fertility problems or even some same-sex couples get pregnant. And thanks to the continuous evolution in today’s technology, there are now a few different types of IVF to fit what’s best for each couple.
IVF generally includes removing an egg from the ovaries, which is then fertilized with sperm outside of the womb within a laboratory. This fertilized egg, or embryo, is then placed back into the womb where it is left to grow. But for those who will be going through this treatment, what happens during the process of IVF?
The IVF procedure
It’s worth noting that each clinic or hospital will perform the IVF treatment slightly differently depending on the couple’s situation, so do your research and make sure you know before you choose where you receive your IVF treatment. First, daily medication will be administered to suppress the menstrual cycle and stimulate the ovaries, this is done to encourage the production of eggs.
Next, ultrasound scans, and in some cases blood tests, are carried out to check the development and maturing of the eggs. Here, additional medicine can also be used to help eggs mature if needed. When they’re ready to be collected, a needle will be inserted into the ovaries to remove the eggs. This is a minor procedure that typically only lasts 30 minutes and is performed under mild sedation. On the same morning, the male partner produces a semen sample which is then used to fertilize the eggs. Once combined, they’re allowed to sit for a few days to ensure fertilization. One to two of the fertilized embryos are then placed back inside the womb to grow. You’ll need to wait up to two weeks before taking a pregnancy test to confirm your results.
According to the NHS, the number of embryos that will be transferred depends on the woman’s age but should usually be discussed before treatment starts. “Women under 37 in their 1st IVF cycle should only have a single embryo transfer. In their 2nd IVF cycle, they should have a single embryo transfer if 1 or more top-quality embryos are available. Doctors should only consider using 2 embryos if no top-quality embryos are available. In the 3rd IVF cycle, no more than 2 embryos should be transferred.
“Women aged 37 to 39 years in their 1st and 2nd full IVF cycles should also have a single embryo transferred if there are 1 or more top-quality embryos. Double embryo transfer should only be considered if there are no top-quality embryos. In the 3rd cycle, no more than 2 embryos should be transferred. Women aged 40 to 42 years may have a double embryo transfer. If any suitable embryos are left over, they may be frozen for future IVF attempts.”
The Detailed Steps of IVF Treatment
In IVF treatment, egg retrieval is a key step. During this procedure, the doctor will inject a synthetic hormone into your vagina to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple eggs at once. This is important because some of the eggs will not fertilize and you will need a large number of healthy eggs. After the trigger shot, the doctor will use an ultrasound to guide a needle into your ovary. The egg is then placed in a special solution and incubated for 36 hours.
Although egg retrieval can be painful, most women experience minimal discomfort. Pain is usually limited to cramping, similar to those experienced during a menstrual period. In addition, some women experience a sense of fullness or pressure in their pelvis after the procedure. Wear warm, fuzzy socks to help prevent discomfort and wear loose, comfortable clothing.
The egg retrieval process is a surgical procedure. While the patient is under anesthesia, a needle is inserted into an ovary and follicle. The embryologist will use an ultrasound wand to guide the needle into the ovary. The needle will then pull the egg from the follicle. The semen sample must be collected the morning before the egg retrieval procedure. Sperm is also collected using a testicular aspiration. The sperm will then be separated from the semen fluid in a lab.
This procedure is usually non-invasive and uses ultrasound to guide the catheter into the womb. Embryos are then passed through the catheter into the woman’s womb. The process usually involves no anesthetics or sedatives, though some women may experience discomfort during the procedure. Some women will experience pain after the procedure, especially if their bladders are full before the procedure. After the transfer, a woman will need to rest for a few days and avoid strenuous physical activity. In addition, some women may experience vaginal discharge or cramping.
Embryo transfer is a critical step in IVF treatment and requires careful monitoring. The process may be complicated or painful, so women should discuss their symptoms and goals with their fertility specialists before the procedure. Embryo transfer is typically performed within three to five days of retrieval. The doctor will also monitor the patient for signs of infection, ovarian torsion, or severe ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. Afterward, a pregnancy test is performed to make sure the embryo is implanted. If the result is positive, the woman will be referred to a pregnancy specialist for further evaluation.
Embryo transfer is a crucial step in the treatment process, but not all embryos can be transferred successfully. The success rate varies depending on the age of the woman and the age of her egg donor. In general, the younger the patient is, the more successful the procedure will be.
Embryo cryopreservation is a technique used to preserve embryos for use in later IVF treatments. It is an option for post-pubertal women who are at high risk of ovarian failure and those with limited ovulation. The process requires a controlled ovarian stimulation cycle, which traditionally begins on the third day of a woman’s menstrual cycle. The human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) is administered to trigger ovulation, after which a transvaginal oocyte retrieval is performed. The transvaginal oocyte retrieval procedure is performed approximately two to six weeks after ovulation. The retrieved total oocytes and mature oocytes are stored separately in the laboratory. Although oocyte maturation rates are similar during
After the embryo is developed, the embryologist can select a suitable embryo to implant. This process may require the use of ICSI, a process in which a doctor injects a single sperm directly into the egg. This technique is used in cases of problems with the sperm or after unsuccessful IVF attempts. The embryos are then frozen and used later if they are viable. The biggest challenge with freezing embryos is the amount of water in the cells. When water freezes, it forms crystals that could rupture the cell.
Embryo cryopreservation is also useful for patients with ovarian cancer. A woman with ovarian cancer may not be able to conceive a baby after treatment with chemotherapy or radiation therapy. After the treatment, she may need to use donor eggs or cryopreserved gametes for IVF. But these methods are not the only options for cancer survivors. Nonbiological approaches such as adoption are also available.
ICSI is an important step in the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF). In this procedure, the sperm is injected into the egg’s cytoplasm. After the injection, the healthcare provider will remove the needle and monitor the egg in a laboratory. Within five to six days, the egg should divide into cells, or form a blastocyst. The healthcare provider will then assess its size and mass.
ICSI is also useful in cases where sperm cannot penetrate the egg or is abnormally shaped. In these situations, ICSI increases the chances of conception. This treatment is recommended only when the woman has healthy eggs. If the woman does not have good quality eggs, she should undergo the traditional IVF procedure.
For this procedure to work, the male partner must provide a sample of his sperm, which is usually taken on the same day as the egg retrieval procedure. However, it can also be collected in advance and stored until needed. The embryologist will study the sample and isolate the strongest swimming sperm. Compared to standard IVF, ICSI injects sperm directly into the egg.
Although a small percentage of eggs are destroyed or damaged during the ICSI process, the overall risk of chromosomal abnormality is very low. The risk of Down’s syndrome is essentially the same for both ICSI and the natural method, though the risks increase with maternal age.
Preimplantation genetic testing
Preimplantation genetic screening and diagnosis is a common procedure during in vitro fertilization. It is not always necessary, but it can help in determining the likelihood of having a child with certain genetic conditions. This procedure involves the removal of multiple cells from an embryo, followed by genetic analysis. The embryo is then frozen until the results are ready. Then, in a subsequent cycle, the embryo is thawed and transferred to a woman for conception.
Preimplantation genetic testing can identify over 400 single-gene disorders, including certain fatal diseases. It can also detect chromosome abnormalities, reducing the risk of genetic disease in future children. The procedure also allows physicians to select embryos that are free of these problems, which can help improve the chances of success.
The results of PGD will help doctors select the best embryo for transfer. The doctor will consider the age of the egg donor, if there is one, to determine the embryo’s genetic profile. The embryo’s appearance under the microscope is called its grade, and it gives doctors an indication of its potential for pregnancy. Preimplantation genetic testing for aneuploidy can also help doctors select the most suitable embryo for transfer. Patients with recurrent pregnancy losses and those with multiple unexplained failed IVF cycles are more likely to undergo this test.
Other types of IVF
IVF with egg donation refers to a form of assisted fertility treatment where another person’s eggs are used. Unfortunately, some women and couples face a difficult situation in which their only chance of conceiving is with donated eggs. In many cases, this is a result of the woman no longer being able to produce eggs. Typically, this occurs as women reach their mid-40s, ahead of menopause, but it can also occur in younger women who have premature ovarian failure.
Mild stimulation or modified natural cycle IVF uses lower doses of fertility medication than conventional “full stimulation” IVF. The drug dosage is enough to encourage at least one follicle to develop and promote egg growth. As with traditional IVF, once your eggs are ready, an injection of human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) or gonadotropin releasing-hormone (GnRH) is given to trigger egg maturation. At Harley Street Fertility Clinic progesterone supplements are also given to help support your body and implantation of the embryos after the transfer, and like traditional IVF this is then followed by egg collection. They only recommend mild stimulation or modified natural cycle IVF for very few patients because of its high cancellation and very low success rates.
It’s important to do your research and understand as much as you can about your various treatment options. This way you’re fully aware of what’s going to happen and what to expect, leading to a much calmer procedure. No matter which treatment you need or where you receive it, make sure you speak to a knowledgeable consultant or fertility specialist to find out which treatment is right for you and to have all your questions answered in person.