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A Detailed Guide to IVF Treatment
A few months ago a woman gave birth to her own grandchild, her daughter’s child. Similar cases have been reported in newspapers for the past few years now. All this is done with the help of in vitro fertilization, also known as IVF Treatment. Childbirth has always been an exceptional occasion for postmenopausal women, but the number of such cases has increased in the past few years, due to in-vitro fertilization, one of the assisted reproductive technologies. The article elaborates on this blessing in disguise for infertile couples:
If experts are to be believed, infertility cases have increased by 20-30 percent in the last five years. They are neither confined to urban households nor are women the sole cause of such cases. They believe that the main reasons behind such a phenomenon are dietary problems, lack of physical exercise and disorders due to pollution.
Infertility – It is that condition when a couple is unable to conceive a child naturally, even after continuous efforts. However, it also points out a condition of a woman when she cannot carry a pregnancy during its full term, there is a termination of pregnancy for any reason. The cause of this problem can be male infertility or female infertility and even both.
In vitro fertilization – It is one of the most commonly used assisted reproductive treatments, which involves the fertilization of an egg in a laboratory dish, after which the embryos are transferred into a woman’s uterus.
There are five steps in the embryo transfer process:
1. The development of maturing eggs in the ovaries is observed
2. The eggs are collected
3. The sperms are collected
4. Eggs and sperm are kept together in the laboratory where they are given suitable conditions for fertilization, resulting in the initial growth of an embryo.
5. The embryos are transferred into the uterus
The time of maturation of the eggs is controlled. To improve the chances of quality egg collection, fertility drugs are prescribed. Before the egg retrieval is done, an ultrasound of the ovaries is done to check egg development. A urine/blood test is also done to measure hormone levels.
The Process of Egg Retrieval
The process takes place trans-vaginally where a hollow needle is guided by an ultrasound image. Eggs are removed from ovaries with the use of this needle, which is called follicular aspiration. One must take care of the perfect timing for this.
After retrieval, the eggs along with sperms are kept in the incubator for the fertilization process, which is monitored at regular intervals for fertilization, cell division and embryo formation. The transfer usually takes place within 2 – 3 days after the egg retrieval, which is done by inserting a speculum into the vagina to expose the cervix (the neck of the uterus). This is followed by a rest period, ultrasounds and blood tests to check for possible pregnancy.
Intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI)
ICSI is used to treat sperm-related infertility problems. Its main purpose is to increase the chances of fertilization during the IVF phase, when a single sperm is injected into the matured egg. This egg is then transferred into the woman’s fallopian tubes or uterus.
The cost of in vitro fertilization in the countries located in the western hemisphere is quite high and thus becomes unaffordable for many. Because of this, the concept of medical tourism is gaining a lot of momentum in Asian countries such as Thailand, India, etc. but then, it doesn’t cost to fulfill a dream of becoming a parent.
IVF treatment helps an infertile couple to have a baby. The success rate of this treatment is quite high but it also depends on the right type of process chosen at the right time (read age). However, miracles do happen in science, proof of this is the real-life incident mentioned at the beginning of the article.
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