In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the most common Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART) used today to help couples overcome infertility problems. The first successful IVF took place in Great Britain in 1978 and it was successful for the first time in America in 1981. In 2013, there were 67,996 live born infants recorded according to the CDC’s Fertility Clinic Success Rates Report.
What is IVF?
As mentioned earlier, IVF was first developed in Great Britain to help women who had blockages or scarring in their fallopian tubes become pregnant. Today, IVF has evolved into a treatment for different kinds of infertility such as infertility caused by endometriosis, male infertility, and even unexplained infertility wherein other fertility treatments did not work.
When a couple chooses to use IVF, this means that the woman’s egg (or it can be a donated egg) is fertilized outside the body. The egg is placed with her partner’s sperm together in a laboratory dish – this is where the fertilization occurs. The embryo or embryos grow, then, in the laboratory for a few days. Afterwards, one or more embryos is transferred into the woman’s uterus where it will implant and grow naturally to a healthy child.
The IVF Procedure
IVF consists of 5 basic steps (all take place during one menstrual cycle):
- Controlled ovarian hyperstimulation – Fertility drugs are administered to the woman which stimulates the ovaries for multiple follicles and eggs to develop. In a normal cycle, the ovaries typically release only one egg.
- Egg retrieval – The eggs are removed from the ovaries in a surgical setting. The fertility doctor uses a needle that will pass through the vagina with ultrasound guidance to aspirate the fluid from the follicles and pull out the egg.
- In vitro fertilization – The eggs are placed with the sperm in the laboratory dish, or an embryologist may use a procedure referred to as intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) in which one sperm is injected directly into the egg for fertilization.
- Uterine embryo transfer – The embryos then are transferred into the woman’s uterus by a tiny catheter and again, ultrasound guidance.
- Monitoring and support – Fertility specialists will then monitor the woman to check her blood levels and to assess the quality of the uterine lining. After a positive result (if the woman gets pregnant), she will then have an ultrasound after two weeks to check for the fetal heartbeat.
If you are interested and would want to know more about IVF, set up an appointment with Dr. Fay Weisberg today. She is one of the experts who can answer all your inquiries about this procedure.