In vitro fertilisation (IVF) is a cutting-edge fertility technology rooted in seven golden steps. Read on to know more about them. While IVF may not be as quick or easy as an equivalent act between the sheets, it has emerged as the most coveted fertility treatment among those seeking help for infertility.
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IVF is an assisted reproductive technology suited for couples struggling to conceive naturally. The IVF process models natural fertilisation by uniting sperm and eggs in a petri dish, in a fastidiously controlled, carefully sanitised environment. One or more of the resultant embryos is then transferred to the uterus for implantation, with the rest either being cryopreserved or discarded.
IVF follows an elaborate seven-step cycle from ovulation induction to embryo transfer and follow-ups. Here's a look at the exact process.
A successful IVF cycle relies on the development and maturation of multiple ovarian follicles. Therefore, as a first step, fertility drugs are given for ovulation induction. During the stimulation process, your fertility specialist will go to great lengths to monitor your hormone levels and follicular development, to ensure your follicles are maturing as they should.
Once your follicles have produced enough eggs, the next step would be egg collection. This procedure involves a fine needle being passed through your vagina, and is typically performed under anaesthesia.
Once your fertility specialist has extracted the requisite eggs, they are fertilised with your partner's sperm in a petri dish, in a carefully controlled environment. Fertilisation may or may not be supported by auxiliary fertility technologies like intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ISI) preimplantation genetic screening (PGS), preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) and intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI).
Once embryos have been produced, they are left to mature over a period of four to five days, until they have reached the blastocyst stage. They are then graded for quality and integrity.
Once the embryos have morphed into blastocysts, the best ones are considered for transfer to the uterus. On Cloudnine, we usually cap embryos transferred to two, to minimise maternal and fetal risks later on in pregnancy. You will be given the option to cryopreserve your remaining embryos for future use.
Two weeks after your embryo transfer is the big reveal; the day you find out whether your cycle has been successful or not. You will be asked to come in to meet your fertility specialist to check for a viable pregnancy. If you do discover you're pregnant, you might want to put on your party hats for a little celebration. You can also look forward to an ultrasound about two weeks later. This ultrasound will finally reveal your child's long-awaited heartbeat.
IVF and regular follow-ups go hand in hand; the latter can prove critical in minimising potential complications. You can use these consultation windows to ask questions and gain more information from your doctor, and prime yourself for the incredible journey that lies ahead.
If you do opt for an IVF cycle, you may find a few extra steps added to your IVF treatment plan, specifically tailored to your medical profile. A customised cycle always presents augmented outcomes, so seek comfort in knowing that your specialist has prescribed a specific solution keeping your odds in mind. Through the exhaustion of medication, transfer and follow-ups, keep your chin high and your spirits higher. For in the end, your efforts will be worth it.
Must read - Everything you need to know about IVF