WHAT IS IVF?

IVF, In Vitro Fertilization is an ART (Assisted Reproductive Technology) technique for treatment of infertility. This technique is mostly used when a female human body is not capable of carrying out fertilization inside her. The reasons for this could be many. Some of them are when the eggs are not healthy enough, when the sperm is not healthy and/ or motile enough, when the ovulation cycle is not frequent etc. Whatever the reasons are, fertilization can be carried out with the help of in vitro fertilization (IVF) as it is done outside the human bodies.

The couple has to get a few important tests that the doctor or the specialist will recommend. If the female human body has low or no ovulation, the specialist will provide treatment to stimulate her ovulatory process. The process is watched continuously till ovulation is confirmed through laboratory, imaging or procedural tests. Once this stage is achieved, an egg or eggs are retrieved from the woman’s ovaries. These eggs are injected with healthy and motile sperms using another technique called Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI). In Intra Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), a single sperm is directly injected in a single egg. This injected egg is kept in a liquid in glass dishes outside the female human body in a laboratory until fertilization has occurred.

The fertilized egg, also called Zygote, is cultured in the laboratory at the right temperatures maintained for a successful fertilization. It takes about 2 to 3 days for the fertilized egg to be cultured in a laboratory. Once fertilization has occurred, the Zygote is transferred to the woman’s uterus and further observed and/ or treated for a successful pregnancy. Most fertilized eggs, once transferred back to the woman’s uterus attaches itself to the uterine wall. If the process fails, the specialist might recommend repeating the process of in vitro fertilization (IVF).

There are also cases where healthy sperms and healthy eggs have been retrieved from the couple under treatment but due to physical issues, the woman is not able to bear the child in her womb as the zygote cannot attach itself to the uterus lining or the woman is not physically fit to carry the child imposing threat to both lives. Such cases are recommended gestational surrogacy. Here, the fertilization occurs outside the female human body and cultured as explained earlier. The fertilized egg or the zygote is transported to the surrogate instead of the woman from whom the eggs were retrieved. Here, the surrogate bears the child until delivery. Because the retrieved eggs and sperms belong to the couple, the delivered offspring will not be genetically related to the surrogate.

Donor sperms or eggs can also be used incase the male human partner is unable to provide healthy sperms or if the female human is unable to produce healthy eggs. As the fertilization is carried outside the female body, this option is also highly appreciated by the patients.

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