In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a technique used to help couples conceive a child. IVF involves retrieving eggs from a woman’s ovaries and mixing them with sperm in the laboratory, then transferring one or more of these embryos back into the uterus.
Who can benefit from IVF? When should you consider using that treatment? How does it work?
What is IVF?
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a process where eggs are fertilized outside the body, then implanted in the uterus. Eggs are retrieved from the woman’s ovaries and mixed with sperm in a lab, and the resulting embryo is then transferred to the uterus.
IVF is used most commonly when other fertility treatments fail because it allows doctors to control exactly how many embryos are transferred into your uterus at once.
Why is IVF performed?
IVF is used to help couples unable to conceive a child using their eggs and sperm.
- In about 15% of cases, there is a fertility problem on the woman’s side;
- Another 20% have a problem with the man’s sperm.
- The remaining 65% of couples will require treatment for both partners to conceive naturally.
IVF may also be used if you or your partner has a low sperm count (oligospermia), if your ovaries are damaged (as in polycystic ovarian syndrome), or if you have unexplained infertility with no apparent cause found after extensive testing.
How common is IVF?
IVF is the most common fertility treatment in the world. The number of IVF treatments has increased every year since its introduction in 1978, and it’s now one of the most popular infertility treatments.
IVF is also an effective infertility treatment and can result in a successful pregnancy if you have problems with your ovaries or fallopian tubes, such as blocked or burst cysts or endometriosis.
Who Are The Suitable Candidates For IVF?
You may be the right candidate if you or your partner have the following:
Reduced Sperm Production Or Poor Quality
If the sperm concentration in men is below average, sperm movement is weak, or there are abnormalities in sperm size and shape, these problems can make it difficult for sperm to fertilize an egg.
It means that no reason for infertility has been found despite the evaluation.
A Genetic Turmoil
Suppose one of the partners risks passing on a genetic problem to their child. In that case, IVF treatment may be the right choice because the embryos are tested, and only the healthy embryos which don’t contain identified problems will be transferred to the uterus.
Problems With Fallopian Tubes
Damage or blockage of the Fallopian tubes makes it difficult for an egg to be fertilized or an embryo to move to the uterus.
If the woman’s ovulation is rare or absent, fewer eggs will be obtainable for fertilization.
This problem affects the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes when the uterine tissue grows outside the uterus.
It is a benign tumor in the uterus wall, common in women aged 30 and 40. Fibroid can prevent the implantation of the fertilized egg.
Fertility Preservation For People Who Have Health Conditions
If you’re about to start any treatment, such as radiation or chemotherapy, that may harm fertility; this treatment is the right option. For women, it is possible to harvest eggs from ovaries to be frozen for later use.
How Do You Prepare For The In Vitro Fertilization Treatment Cycle?
Before starting the treatment, you and your partner will meet your doctor for the following purposes:
First, the doctor will:
- Test the ovarian reserve to determine egg quality and quantity, in addition to testing the levels of some hormones such as Estrogen and Anti-Mullerian.
- Examine the inside uterus lining.
- Conduct a semen analysis.
- Ask for infectious disease tests for you and your partner.
- Explain to you all the risks and complications associated with the procedure.
Furthermore, you should consider some essential questions and discuss them with your doctor, such as the number of embryos transferred, handling multiple pregnancies, complications, etc.
At the end of the consultation, your doctor will decide whether you and your partner are candidates for the In Vitro Fertilization treatment and explain all the instructions you must follow before starting the procedure.
What are the steps of IVF treatment?
This process consists of several steps. One IVF treatment cycle takes about two to three weeks, and you may need more than one cycle. These steps include:
First, you’ll start the treatment with hormones that stimulate your ovaries to produce many eggs — instead of the single egg that usually grows each month. There is a need for many eggs because some won’t fertilize or do not develop after fertilization.
You may need different types of medications like:
- Medications for ovarian induction stimulate your ovaries.
- Medications for oocyte development that help the eggs mature.
- Medicines for preventing early ovulation.
- Remedies for preparing the uterus lining: On the day of retrieving the eggs or embryo move, your doctor will recommend taking progesterone supplements to make the uterus lining more receptive to implantation.
Your doctor will determine which medications to use and when you start to use them. Typically, you’ll need between one to two weeks of ovarian induction before your eggs become ready for retrieval.
Then your doctor will likely perform some examinations to determine whether the eggs are available for collection:
- An imaging exam of your ovaries to check the development of eggs.
- Blood tests to check your response to ovarian stimulation medications.
Sometimes, the doctor will cancel the rest cycles before egg retrieval for the following reasons:
- An inappropriate number of eggs developing
- Early ovulation
- Too many developing eggs lead to a risk of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome.
If your cycle is canceled, you must discuss promoting a better response during future IVF cycles with your doctor.
During this stage, you’ll be given pain medication. Finally, the doctor will retrieve the developed eggs after 36 hours of the final injection and before ovulation.
The retrieval will be done using transvaginal ultrasound aspiration. First, your doctor will place an ultrasound probe into the vagina to identify follicles. Then they will insert a thin needle into an ultrasound guide to go through the vagina to retrieve the eggs.
Sometimes, it is not possible to access the ovaries through transvaginal ultrasound. In this case, the doctor will use an abdominal ultrasound to guide the needle.
In this process:
- Your doctor will remove the eggs from the follicles with a needle connected to a suction device.
- They can remove many eggs in 20 minutes.
- Then they will incubate mature eggs in a palatable liquid.
- Then, only they will mix the mature and healthy eggs with sperm to create embryos.
The partner will provide a semen sample at the clinic through masturbation on the morning of egg retrieval. Then they will separate sperm from the semen in the laboratory.
Sometimes, other methods of sperm retrieval may be needed, like using a needle or surgical procedure to extract sperm from the testicle directly.
Fertilization can be performed using two standard techniques:
- Traditional insemination: In this method, healthy sperm and mature eggs will be mixed and incubated overnight.
- Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI): A single healthy sperm will be injected directly into each mature egg.
This technique is often used when:
- Semen quality is poor.
- There is a problem with the sperm number.
- If fertilization attempts during previous IVF cycles failed.
Embryo transfer is usually done after two to five days of egg retrieval. This step is usually painless. However, you may feel mild cramping.
Your doctor will insert a tube (catheter) into your vagina through the cervix and the uterus. Then they will attach a syringe to the end of the catheter. This syringe contains one or more embryos hanging in a small amount of fluid.
Next, the syringe will place the embryo or embryos into the uterus. An embryo will implant in the uterus lining about six to ten days after the egg retrieving if it succeeds.
What To Expect After Embryo Transfer Procedure?
You can continue your daily activities the following day after the procedure. However, the doctor will ask you to avoid energetic activities.
You may experience some side effects,
- Passing a small amount of fluid.
- Mild cramping
- Mild bloating
- Breast tenderness
You should call your doctor immediately if you experience any unfamiliar complications like heavy vaginal bleeding or severe pain.
What medications are used for IVF?
The following medications are used in IVF:
- FSH (stimulating follicle hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) stimulates ovulation.
- Progesterone to support the endometrium once there’s an embryo.
- hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) will be given after eggs are retrieved to cause ovulation of the remaining eggs that were not fertilized during IVF.
- Estrogen and progesterone help prepare your uterus for pregnancy by thickening its lining to support a growing fetus.
- Prolactin inhibitors are used if you’re using Clomid, which lowers prolactin levels in your body so that they don’t inhibit your ovaries’ ability to produce more eggs at each stimulation cycle during IVF.
What Are The Factors Which Affect The IVF Success Rate?
Before undergoing the treatment, it is essential to understand that several factors can help prevent getting pregnant. Such as:
IVF Success Rates By Age
In general, younger women have a higher chance of successful pregnancy. Doctors do not often recommend this treatment for women over the age of 43 because their pregnancy chances of success are too low because of the impaired egg production or the poor quality of an older woman’s eggs. The IVF success rate for women under 35 is 40 percent. While the IVF success rate for women over 42 is 4 percent
Age Success Rate
Under 35 29%
35 to 37 23%
38 to 39 15%
40 to 42 9%
43 to 44 3%
over 44 2%
these statistics are according to the National Health Service.
Fertility Problem Type
Some male infertility problems impact success, such as reduced sperm production; furthermore, female problems like uterine abnormalities or fibroid tumors also reduce their success rate. IVF process success depends on ovulation. Ovarian problems may decrease the chances of success.
Women who smoke need to stop it at least three months before starting the In Vitro Fertilization treatment to improve the possibility of having a baby.
The reasons behind that:
- Smokers require higher doses of fertility drugs to catalyze the ovaries.
- Smokers need almost twice as many IVF treatment attempts compared with non-smokers.
- Smokers experience more chances of a failed fertilization procedure.
Being overweight or obese can also impact the IVF success rate. Women who suffer from obesity have an increased risk of infertility and miscarriage.
Overweight women also have fewer success rates compared with women of healthy weight. However, maintaining an average weight and avoiding alcohol, smoking, and caffeine will improve having a baby.
The IVF Clinic
Choosing the right clinic to increase the success rate of In Vitro Fertilization treatment is essential. You must select a clinic with advanced equipment, experienced doctors, and qualified medical staff.
At HayatMed, our consultant doctors are highly experienced in fertility treatment. They will make all efforts to increase the success rate of the treatment. Click here for a free consultation.
What is assisted hatching in IVF?
That process is called “assisted hatching,” and it helps the embryo implant in the uterus. Some instances in which assisted hatching is advised, such as when embryos have a thick zona pellucida that prevents them from implanting on their own.
In assisted hatching, technicians remove part of the shell around an embryo and use laser technology or acid to make small holes. That allows for better cell development so that an embryo can grow faster and stronger once it has been transferred into your womb.
How much does IVF cost in Turkey?
The price of IVF treatment depends on several factors, including the clinic, the doctor, and the chosen method. However, in general, we can say that the average cost of IVF treatment in Turkey is $2,500 per cycle.
- The woman’s age undergoing IVF can make a significant price difference. Older women tend to have lower success rates than younger women, which means their treatments cost more overall (and sometimes require multiple cycles).
- The number of embryos transferred during the procedure can influence your final bill.
Some clinics allow you to choose an embryo number that they will transfer at once; others require that all your embryos be transferred regardless of whether or not they are viable for implantation or pregnancy.
That means one cycle could cost significantly less or more than another, depending on your situation and clinic policy.
How much does IVF cost in the US?
The cost of IVF depends on the type of procedure you want and the clinic in which you choose to undergo treatment. The average price of an IVF cycle, which includes medication and embryo transfer, is $12,000 to $17,000.
However, some clinics offer payment plans or discounts for patients with insurance policies covering fertility treatments.
What are the benefits of IVF?
The benefits of IVF include the following:
Better quality embryos.
That means you have more embryos to choose from during the procedure, increasing your chances of becoming pregnant and having a healthy baby.
Give you more control over your treatment plan.
You can use donor eggs, sperm, or both if you have IVF with a partner with fertility issues. You can also choose which embryos to implant into your womb at any time, giving you more control over what happens during your treatment plan.
Decrease your chances of miscarriage.
Because the embryo has been prepared in a lab before being placed in the uterus, there’s less miscarriage risk associated with IVF than with other fertility treatments.
Increase your chances of conception.
IVF’s success rate is higher than other assisted reproductive technologies such as IUI and GIFT (intrafallopian gamete transfer).
Some studies put the success rate at about 35 percent per cycle for women under 35; for women over 40, it’s about 20 percent per cycle.
Minimize risks associated with multiple births.
When the doctor transfers the embryos into the uterus during an IVF cycle, they’re monitored carefully to determine how many will be implanted and where they’ll go within the uterus so that the doctor will transfer fewer than three eggs.
That will minimize risks associated with multiple pregnancies (such as gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia).
What are the risks of IVF?
The risks include:
Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS)
OHSS is a complication when the ovaries become swollen with fluid due to too much hormone medication. People who experience that condition may need to be hospitalized for treatment.
An ectopic pregnancy happens when an embryo implants outside the uterus (womb) — usually on one of the fallopian tubes. If not treated quickly, the affected tube may burst and cause internal bleeding that can be life-threatening for both mother and child; however, most ectopic pregnancies are detected early enough so that surgery is necessary only if necessary.
Sometimes, doctors advise women not to get pregnant again because they might develop severe kidney damage.
This kidney damage might happen due to their first ectopic pregnancy or because they’ll have trouble getting pregnant again after having had one before age 30 or over 35.
What are the most common side effects of IVF?
Here are the most common side effects:
Headache, nausea, and fatigue
Women who undergo IVF experience these side effects during the procedure. You can manage the discomfort by using over-the-counter medications to ease symptoms.
Some women may experience mood swings during their IVF cycle as they take hormones and undergo treatment. You can address that by consulting your doctor about coping with the changes in your emotions or lifestyle you must make during that time.
When ovulation occurs, it can result in sudden swelling of an ovary or both ovaries, which may cause discomfort or pain for some women. If that happens, you should contact your doctor immediately for advice on what to do next.
Women undergoing egg retrieval sometimes experience muscle soreness from being sedated before the surgery.
However, most women find relief one day following surgery even if they did not take any medication beforehand because inflammation is common after any invasive procedure involving organs inside the body (such as those involved when transferring embryos into a uterus).
How effective is IVF in getting pregnant?
One of the most common questions asked by people considering IVF is, “How effective is it?” Unfortunately, the answer is that it’s effective, but not always.
IVF success rates are between 30-60%, depending on your age and whether you have your eggs harvested. If you’re younger than 35 years old, have been trying to get pregnant for less than three years, and do not have any medical issues that affect fertility (like blocked fallopian tubes), then the odds are high that you’ll be able to conceive with IVF.
However, for women over 35 years who have been trying to conceive for more than five years without success, those numbers drop significantly to just 20%. That can be very discouraging news if you’ve been waiting a long time for your dream child!
How long does it take to know you are pregnant after IVF?
The time it takes to know you are pregnant after IVF can vary from person to person. Most women will find out they are pregnant within a week or two of their transfer, but some people may need to wait longer.
It’s important to remember that if you do not get a positive pregnancy test on the day of your embryo transfer, it doesn’t mean something went wrong with the procedure, just that your body needs more time.
It would help if you waited until at least seven weeks pregnant before taking a pregnancy test—and speaking with an experienced infertility doctor is strongly recommended.
Can you select the gender during IVF?
There is no method of selecting the gender during IVF or IUI. However, it is possible to select a specific gender during artificial insemination (AI), which involves injecting sperm into the egg after a woman has ovulated. There are two methods of AI: natural and artificial.
- in natural AI
The husband’s sperm is placed directly into his wife’s vagina before she ovulates; that is called ‘intravaginal insemination (IVI).’
- In artificial insemination
An embryologist places the sperm into a sterile syringe inside your uterus through a small tube inserted by doctors through your cervix.
What is the difference between IVF and IUI (intrauterine insemination)?
While IVF is the more common fertility treatment, it’s not the only one. IUI (intrauterine insemination) involves transferring sperm directly into the uterus, and that process is more straightforward and less invasive than IVF, so it’s cheaper.
However, IUI is less effective than IVF because it doesn’t involve fertilization outside your body like in vitro fertilization.
The IVF process is a complex one, and it can be overwhelming. The good news is that you don’t have to go through all the steps of IVF on your own—your doctor can help guide you through each step from beginning to end.
Your doctor will also help ensure that any medications are safe for your body. If you’re considering IVF treatment, talk with your doctor about what it means for them and their staff before deciding how long it will take or how much it will cost!