In vitro fertilization is the joining of a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm in a laboratory dish. In vitro means outside the body. Fertilization means the sperm has attached to and entered the egg.

Normally, an egg and sperm are fertilized inside a woman’s body. If the fertilized egg attaches to the lining of the womb and continues to grow, a baby is born about 9 months later. This process is called natural conception.

IVF is a type of assistive reproductive technology. It involves retrieving eggs from a woman’s ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm. This fertilized egg is known as an embryo. The embryo can then be frozen for storage or transferred to a woman’s uterus.

IVF can be used as:
Your eggs & your partner’s or donor’s sperm.
Donor eggs & your partner’s or donor’s sperm.
Donor eggs & Donor sperm or donated embryos.

IVF becomes necessary for individuals facing various infertility issues, including
Reduced fertility in women over 40,
Blocked fallopian tubes,
Diminished ovarian function, and
Male infertility such as low sperm count.

Unexplained infertility is also a common reason prompting couples to explore the possibilities offered by IVF.

The process of IVF comprises five key steps:

  1. Stimulation: A woman normally produces one egg during each menstrual cycle. However, IVF requires multiple eggs. It increases the chances of developing a viable embryo. You’ll receive fertility drugs to increase the number of eggs your body produces.
  2. Egg Retrieval: Also known as follicular aspiration, a surgical procedure. Your doctor will use an ultrasound wand to guide a needle through your vagina, into your ovary, and into an egg-containing follicle. The needle will suction eggs and fluid out of each follicle.
  3. Insemination: The male partner provides a semen sample, which is then mixed with the eggs in a petri dish by a skilled technician.
  4. Embryo Culture: Fertilized eggs undergo meticulous monitoring to ensure proper division and development, with the possibility of genetic testing to assess the embryos’ health.
  5. Transfer: Once the embryos reach a suitable stage, typically three to five days after fertilization, they are delicately implanted using a catheter into the uterus, increasing the chances of a successful pregnancy.

Pregnancy occurs when the embryo implants itself in the uterine wall. This can take 6 to 10 days. A blood test will determine if you’re pregnant.

The success rates of IVF can vary, influenced by factors such as age and overall health. The live birth rate for women under 35 undergoing IVF is around 41 to 43 percent, while this rate decreases to 13 to 18 percent for women over the age of 40.

IVF represents a hope for those facing fertility challenges, offering a scientifically advanced method to achieve the dream of parenthood.

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