In Vitro Fertilization, commonly known as IVF, is a type of assisted reproductive technology that treats infertility. First time IVF recipients are expected to have many questions.
Trying to get pregnant can be difficult and worrisome enough, but when you are faced with the fact that you may be infertile it can be devastating. However, with help, many individuals are able to actually conceive, carry and deliver their own children with the aide of fertility treatments, such as IVF.
Unlike the process of intrauterine insemination, a process where sperm is placed inside the uterus, IVF involves combining eggs and sperm outside the body in a laboratory. Once one or multiple embryos are formed, they are then placed inside the uterus. The process of IVF, like any medical procedure, can cause additional stress and concern, especially if it is the first time having the procedure performed. Being prepared for what is to take place can help ease the anxiety of the procedure and allow you to focus on what it truly important: staying positive, hopeful and stress-free.
What is IVF?
As previously address, in vitro fertilization is a form of medical procedure that involves combining a sperm and egg outside of the womb and transferring the embryo that forms into the mother’s uterus. While often viewed as a complex and expensive procedure, in vitro fertilization may be the only hope for couples who are experiencing infertility for various reasons.
Preparing for the Procedure
In order to increase the probability that fertility treatments will be successful, patients must undergo an extensive preparation process. After going over the patient’s health history, the next step includes initiating fertility medications. These medicines stimulate egg production, which increases the chance that an acceptable egg will be available. In general, multiple eggs are essential to this procedure, because many eggs will not develop or fertilize after they are retrieved.
An ultrasound, usually transvaginal, is also used to examine the ovaries to eliminate any concerns. Then, blood tests are also drawn and sent to the lab to check hormone levels.
The Retrieval Process
A minor surgical procedure is then used to retrieve eggs. During this procedure, a hollow needle is guided through the pelvic cavity in an attempt to remove the eggs. Medication is provided to reduce any discomfort from the procedure. Next, the male provides a sample of sperm to be combined with the egg.
Following the retrieval, the sperm and eggs are combined and stored in a lab in an effort to encourage fertilization. The eggs are then monitored to ensure that fertilization and cell division are taking place, at which point the fertilized eggs are now considered to be embryos.
The embryos are transferred into the woman’s uterus three to five days after egg retrieval and fertilization have taken place. This is done by using a small catheter or tube that is inserted into the uterus and aides in the transfer of the embryos. Though this procedure is virtually painless, some women may experience slight abdominal cramping. If successful, implantation of the embryo typically occurs within six to ten days after the egg retrieval.
What You May Feel
Every women’s experience is different. However, there are some common side effects that are associated with the in vitro fertilization process. These side effects may include:
- Breast tenderness
- Passing a small amount of blood
Other side effects from fertilization drugs may also be experienced. Common symptoms of fertility medications include:
- Mood swings
- Abdominal pain
- Hot flashes
If any of these symptoms become severe or increasingly painful, it is important to contact your healthcare provider as it may be indicative of a serious issue.
Increasing the Chances of Pregnancy
It was reported in the year 2009 that pregnancy occurred in approximately 29 percent of all in vitro fertilization cycles. To increase the chance of becoming pregnant, experts recommend transferring two or three embryos at a time. While this may increase your chance of becoming pregnant, it may also increase your chance of having a multiple pregnancy. In addition, women who are younger in age, in good health and refrain from alcohol and drug use are more likely to become pregnant.
It is undeniable that patients will have several questions to ask regarding their first time receiving in vitro fertilization treatment. It´s important that your doctor inform you about the appropriate therapy options in detail. All existing findings should be taken into account. Afterwards, an individual therapy plan is drawn up that is precisely tailored to the patient. The better you know about the hole procedure, the more stress-free you can enjoy the treatment.