Are you unable to conceive? Are medications and lifestyle changes still not helping? Is the family pressure nagging you constantly? Want to have your own baby but feeling distressed at negative results? While it can be very depressing for some, it is not the end of the world. And there ARE solutions.
Heard of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)? It’s an assisted reproductive technology (ART) which can give you hope again. Yes, you can become pregnant through an IVF treatment. So, let’s discuss what IVF involves.
The IVF is a procedure that involves fertilizing the egg outside your body in a laboratory. Then, it is implanted it your uterus once fertilized. Did you know that In vitro fertilization is actually a Latin phrase and it means “in glass.” In today’s times, IVF has become the most effective way to help women conceive if they can’t get pregnant naturally. A controlled environment is created in this case that actually increases the opportunity for the fertilization of the egg manifold.
When the sperm and egg are put together in a laboratory dish and incubated, it is monitored carefully to see if the fertilization process is happening or not. In about 3 to 5 days the eggs that have fertilized successfully, develop into embryos. But even here, the success cannot be guaranteed as not all embryos’ quality is good enough to transfer. IVF is in fact a procedure that involves 4 to 5 steps. A typical IVF procedure takes about 6 to 8 weeks to complete, but it always depends from patient to patient and how each body responds to the treatment at every step.
So how does IVF work?
Firstly, the development of several follicles in the ovary needs to be stimulated. For that, a hormone therapy is given. Then the eggs are collected to be fertilized in a test-tube (in vitro) to be able to create several embryos. Then these eggs are left in an incubator for two and five days. The best ones are then transferred through a women’s vagina into her uterus as the implantation or growth happens there and then you are pregnant. But not all embryo implants have a 100 percent success rate, and that is why the surplus embryos are frozen as a second transfer might be needed if the first one fails.
The Steps in the IVF Procedure
- Scan: The IVF process starts with an advanced ultrasound that helps to see how the ovaries are doing and then decide the treatment to be undertaken. After that, the womb or the uterus is examined to confirm if that space is normal for the embryo implant and the uterus lining or endometrium is in good health.
- Scans are monitored: From day 5 of your cycle, you will have to undergo 3-4 scans to check the growth of the follicles and to also check if the endometrium is thickening. A couple of blood tests also might be needed.
- The HCG Shot: When your follicles reach 17mm or more, then a hormone called HCG is injected. This hormone helps in maturing the eggs in your ovary and assists in ovulation after 36 hours or so. Actually the timing of the egg collection process has to be exact and very precise so that it can be retrieved before the ovulation happens.
- Collection of the Egg: The egg collection process can be a little overwhelming for some women; therefore, you might be put under some mild sedative so that you cannot feel the procedure at all. After the procedure is over and you have recovered, you can go home within a couple of hours.
- Fertilisation: Now after the eggs are collected, they need to be combined with your partner’s sperm so that the fertilisation can be done. Post this process, the eggs are monitored to see if the fertilisation has happened. You will be informed the next day if the process has been successful. If you have been lucky, the embryo is developed, which usually takes between two to five days.
- Embryo Transfer: Once the last step is successfully done, the embryo needs to be transferred back into the uterus to grow. But you have to again be in the hospital for this procedure to be done.
- Pregnancy Test: About 10 days post the embryo transfer, your pregnancy test is done. A positive result means that you can carry on with your medications for the implantation.
- Final Pregnancy Scan: This is the final step in the process. A pregnancy scan is done in about two weeks after the pregnancy test was done to confirm if it’s an intrauterine pregnancy and to check the foetal heartbeat.
Precautions to take after an Embryo Transfer
You may be worried about how effective your treatment would be and how you can take care of yourself. So, here’s a list of precautions you can take:
- Avoid an intercourse to prevent any infections or complications.
- Avoid lifting heavy things.
- Do not undertake any strenuous activities for some time.
- Hot baths are not a good idea.
- It is a good idea to avoid taking baths for at least first couple of weeks.
- Strenuous workouts are to be completely avoided.
- Consult your doctor and take Progesterone.
- Do not smoke and avoid alcohol and other heavy medication without your doctor’s advice.
- Just take plenty of rest and be positive.