What is IVF and How Does It Work?

If you have started to look into fertility treatment, you’ll no doubt have come across the term ‘IVF.’

IVF (in vitro fertilization) is an effective method of fertility treatment for couples who are having great difficulty in conceiving naturally. This procedure can give a couple a little extra help in starting a family, whether the issue is with the egg or the sperm.

However, while you may have heard of IVF, you may still be unsure of what happens during the IVF procedure and who it is suitable for.

Therefore, to help you make an informed decision on the treatment, here is a brief summary of what IVF is and how it works.

The IVF procedure

For IVF to take place, a healthy egg is taken from either the ovaries of someone who is struggling to conceive, or an egg donor.

Prior to IVF treatment, the woman will undergo preparation and be prescribed medication which will include hormonal stimulation, to increase the number of eggs available.

About 12 days after this, the female patient will go through hormonal induction to release the eggs, which are then collected by the IVF experts.
The egg is then fertilised with eligible sperm, which can be frozen or fresh. This fertilisation takes place in a laboratory with the correct equipment, by a fertility expert.
Once the fertilisation process is complete, the embryo can be transferred into the woman’s uterus, which will allow the pregnancy to take place and the baby to be carried by the mother.

The whole process takes around six weeks.

Who can IVF help?

IVF treatment is an option suitable for couples who have been trying to conceive for a long time, and have been unsuccessful in trying other fertility treatments.
Women with fallopian tube blockages or other confirmed fertility problems such as endometriosis can greatly benefit from the use of IVF. Men with reduced sperm parameters can also be assisted by the extra support that IVF offers.
Couples who are not producing any sperm or eggs at all can also benefit from the treatment, using IVF with donor eggs or donated semen.
Due to this, IVF is also suitable for same sex couples, as two women can use donor sperm to conceive this way. A homosexual male couple can also conceive using IVF and a surrogate, allowing for a baby that is partially genetically-related to them, to be conceived.

As many cancer treatments can also unfortunately cause different forms of infertility, IVF treatments can be used by patients to ensure that once chemotherapy ends, they are still able to start a family.

Fertility can be preserved before cancer treatments take place, by freezing a woman’s eggs or a man’s semen, and saving it for use once the patient is recovered and ready to conceive. Once the person feels ready, the preserved sperm or eggs can be used with IVF treatment to achieve a pregnancy.

 IVF success rates

While IVF is an incredibly effective method of conception, the chance of success will vary from patient to patient.

However, several factors can affect the possibility of the treatment working. These factors include the patient’s age and their individual sperm quality.

This is due to the fact that younger people naturally have a higher chance of success, as fertility begins to decline with age.
A specialist can give you a more accurate individual success rate after tests have been administered.
One of the most important factors in your IVF procedure is choosing the right clinic for you. This is essential as you want to know if they offer the treatment that will suit you most, and that you will supported throughout your experience.

If you want to know more about the IVF procedure, you can always get in contact with a team of fertility experts who will be happy to help you, and advise you as to what steps to take.
Image courtesy of dream designs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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