In Vitro Fertilisation
In Vitro Fertilisation, more commonly known as fertilisation or IVF, is the process whereby the egg is fertilised by the sperm outside of the body. The embryo is grown in a lab and inserted into the womb at a later and safer stage.
IVF is one of the most commonly used Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) for couples experiencing infertility, and literally translates to “fertilisation in glass”, which is where the term “test tube baby” originates from.
IVF was first developed in Great Britain, with the first “test tube baby” being born in 1978. Since then, IVF has evolved into a treatment for many different kinds of infertility, treating both males and females.
Who should be treated with In Vitro Fertilisation?
IIVF is used as an effective treatment for infertility of all causes, except those caused by anatomic problems of the uterus, such as severe intrauterine adhesions.
The procedure is generally sought after by couples who have failed to conceive after at least one year of trying, who also have one or more of the following:
1. Damaged or blocked fallopian tubes or pelvic adhesions with distorted pelvic anatomy.
2. Male factor infertility, more commonly known as low sperm count or low motility. Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is an IVF procedure that aims to fertilise eggs even with a poor sperm quality.
3. Severe endometriosis.
4. Advanced female age.
5. Failed 2 – 4 cycles of ovarian stimulation with intrauterine insemination.
6. Decreased ovarian function, which refers to a lower quantity (and sometimes quality) of eggs.
7. Unexplained infertility when inseminations have failed.
The In Vitro Fertilisation process consists of 5 basic steps which all take place during one menstrual cycle:
1. Controlled Ovarian Hyperstimulation: Fertility drugs are given to the woman in order to stimulate egg growth.
2. Egg Retrieval: Eggs are typically removed in an outpatient surgical setting using an injection.
3. In Vitro Fertilisation: The embryologist places the eggs with the sperm in the laboratory, allowing fertilisation to take place.
4. Uterine Embryo Transfer: Embryo transfer is performed in a special procedure room using a tiny catheter and ultrasound guidance.
5. Monitoring and Support: Once the embryo is in the best possible place in the uterine cavity, medication and monitoring is continued for the duration of the pregnancy.
The success rate per IVF treatment is 30 – 40 percent and up to 50 percent in individuals younger than 35 years of age.
While you can’t put a price on happiness, when it comes to IVF fertilisation, the price tag can be rather daunting.
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