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Independent Info & News Regarding IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation)
As an IVF consultant, I talk through the IVF procedure on a daily basis, but I am
still surprised by the amount of new questions I am asked. The IVF procedure is not
something we plan for, or ever hope to undertake. In this article I have aimed to
write a simple explanation about the IVF process step by step as well, as delving
into the all important, yet very complicated and subjective IVF success rates.
The IVF procedure is unique to each couple and depends on many factors. If the reason that you are undertaking an IVF procedure is unexplained infertility, then you are actually lucky because the process will be shorter and is simple. It will also cost you less. If your reasons for IVF procedure are due to more complicated female issues, or if there are sperm problems, then more will be involved. The IVF procedure in other instances is not a lot different,but you will undergo more testing, and the sperm will need to be treated before fertilization.
Most good IVF clinics will spend time monitoring your menstrual cycle in order to find out if you ovulate naturally. However, if you have been monitoring this yourself by using an ovulation kit, providing this information to your doctor will cut down the time span. Drugs may be administered at this time to regulate your menstrual cycle -
Your partner's sperm will also be analysed at this point and any issues will be discussed with you both. Problems with sperm are usually that there are too few, or that the sperm are 'sluggish' or slow. Don't worry too much, as sperm issues do not generally affect the IVF procedure success rate. Once your cycle is determined (with our without the help of drugs) the actual IVF begins. At this point the step by step can be variable depending on the types of drugs and their uses.
Here I outline the most common IVF procedure, and the one my clinic has the most
success with. Most clinics will begin administering a drug called Lupron on Day 21
of your cycle. This is so that the professionals have complete control over your
ovulation. The drug is administered in the form of an injection twice daily. Your
clinic will support you in showing you how to do this yourself, or some women prefer
their partners to do this. You will have to perform these injections for 12 -
On the first day of your menstrual cycle you will under go blood work and will generally have an ultrasound to investigate your ovaries. This can be unpleasant, but is necessary to ensure that your ovaries are responding to the drugs and have not formed cysts. During this time, you will undergo many bloody tests because the doctors need to check how your follicles are responding to the Lupron and if they are growing. Once they reach a certain size, you will be monitored daily. You need to learn to love the needle during the IVF process!
The next drug is termed the 'trigger' shot. The timing of this shot is important and you will be given an exact time to do it. At this point up to 20% of IVF procedures are cancelled due to ovarian problems. All going well though, you will move to the next step on the IVF procedure, and the most exciting!
Two days after the "trigger" shot you will undergo the process of egg retrieval.
At this point you will be asked to stop eating for a day and will be given further
drugs. Egg retrieval is very simple for you, but very painful. You will be given
intravenous pain relief and you will need it! As they eggs are removed they will
be counted off and the more eggs the better. A good number of eggs is around 8. Anything
more can risk hyperstimualtion of the ovaries and makes transfer not possible. Any
number less than 8 could mean that after three days of growth you may not be left
with any surviving embryos. Sadly, this is common.
All going well, after three to five days of growth you will have a happy healthy embryo to implant. Embryo numbers dwindle daily, and at most clinics the embryologist will call you daily with updates on the numbers. The IVF procedure success rate is higher when embryos of five days of growth are implanted (blastocysts), but with eggs dying daily, this waiting game can be a little like a lottery. This is a tense time if you have made only a few eggs as low egg production reduces the success rate. These statistics are generally not recorded or discussed as the 30 -
Implantation of the embryo is a simple and painless procedure where the embryo is inserted via a long thin catheter. This is also the most exciting part of the IVF procedure! Life is so close and you need only wait 10 days to do a pregnancy test! During this time you will insert progesterone balls daily -
The IVF procedure success rate is touted these days at over 40% of live births. As I stated earlier, I would concur that these figures are not actual percentage as often for economic reasons the figures are enhanced. There are numerous factors which affect the IVF procedure success rate, and they are based on an individual rather than the masses.
Factors to be considered are: female age, sperm quality, reproductive function, egg production, age of embryo at implantation and on the clinical procedures and monitoring.
If you are thinking of undertaking IVF, I hope here you have found the IVF procedure
explained. It is a long journey,and I would advise you consider all other options
before paying thousands of dollars. Read and learn all you can! There are many other
options available out there. Buy books, go to the library or in these modern times
get an e-
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