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IVF is probably the widely practiced conception procedure in the world. The procedure does not need admission at any step and is conducted on outpatient basis. In order for pregnancy to occur, there should be a union between ovum and a sperm. In case of natural pregnancy this union, called fertilization, occurs within the fallopian tube, which joins the uterus to the ovary. However, in IVF the union occurs in a laboratory after eggs and sperm have been collected. Embryos are then transferred to the uterus to continue growth.
IVF procedure commonly known as, ‘Test Tube Baby’ was first performed in 1978. IVF treatment is said to be viable for the affluent sections of the society. However, this treatment has been made available even to the weaker section of the society. IVF has benefited to those couples who are unable to attain parenthood even after several medical aides.
Steps involved in IVF procedure are:
Ovarian stimulation by hormonal injections to produce multiple eggs:
At the start of the woman's menstrual cycle, the doctor prescribes injections or other medications. These control the timing of the cycle and stimulate the development of multiple eggs in the ovary.
Monitoring of the response by ultrasound scans and blood tests:
After several days of medication, a vaginal ultrasound and blood tests is done to check the cycle's progress and the number of follicles. Once the doctor is satisfied with the progress of the cycle and the number of follicles, the patient is instructed to administer an additional injectable medication to ensure that a minimum number of follicles are developed to make the retrieval worthwhile.
Egg retrieval is normally performed under local/general anesthesia. Guided by ultrasound monitors, the doctor inserts a needle through the vagina and into the ovaries. The doctor then draws back the needle to remove the eggs from the follicles. Not all follicles contain eggs. Following the retrieval procedure, certain patients are asked to take additional antibiotic intakes by mouth for 3 to 4 days.
Fertilization of the eggs in the laboratory:
After the retrieval of the eggs, an embryologist arranges for the mixture of eggs and sperm from the partner or a donor. The eggs and sperm are mixed in the laboratory to promote fertilization. The fertilized eggs, called embryos, are hatched for several days.
Transfer of the resulting embryo(s) into the uterus of the woman:
The embryologist selects the best candidates to transfer into the woman's uterus, once they have developed normally. On the basis of individual situation, the doctor and the patient determine the number of embryos to transfer. The physician uses a small catheter to pass the embryos through the cervix and into the uterus. After the transfer, which requires no anesthesia, the patient must rest in a recovery room. A woman may become pregnant, just as in the natural reproduction process, if one or more embryos are implanted in the uterus,
Blood test performed after embryo transfer:
Blood tests are done after 15 days of embryo transfer, to access the establishment of pregnancy. This ensures normal conception.