IVF - Test tube baby procedure

In Vitro Fertilization or IVF is one of the most common assisted reproductive technologies (ART). The processinvolves manual fertilization of an egg and sperm in a laboratorydish, and then transferring the embryo to the uterus. It is definitely never the first step in the treatment of infertility and is done in those cases where other methods such as fertility drugs, surgery, and artificial insemination haven’t worked.

What Causes of Infertility Can IVF Treat?

IVF may be an option if you or your partner has been diagnosed with:

  • Blocked or damaged fallopian tubes
  • Male factor infertility including decreased sperm count or sperm motility
  • Impaired sperm production or function
  • Sterile male
  • Endometriosis in women
  • Antibody problems that harm sperm or eggs
  • The inability of sperm to penetrate or survive in the cervical mucus
  • Women with ovulation disorders, premature ovarian failure, uterine fibroids
  • Women who have had their fallopian tubes removed
  • Previous tubal sterilization
  • Individuals with a genetic disorder
  • Unexplained infertility

Procedure of In Vitro Fertilization or IVF

There are five basic steps in the IVF and embryo transfer process:

Step 1 Stimulation of the development of healthy egg(s) in theovaries: The first and foremost requirement for conception is a healthy egg and healthy sperms. To stimulate the production of healthy eggs, fertility medications are prescribed by the doctor while monitoring the reproductive organs and hormone levels through transvaginal ultrasound and blood test samples.

Step 2 Collection of eggs: Under appropriate medication to reduce patient discomfort, healthy eggs are retrieved through a minor surgical procedure. The procedure uses ultrasound imaging to guide a needle through the vagina to remove the eggs.

Step 3 Secure the sperm: Healthy sperms are secured from semen after processing the semen.

Step 4 Laboratory combining of eggs and sperm: Eggs and sperm are combined and fertilized under appropriate laboratory conditions. It may be done through:

  • Insemination, when thesperm and eggs are mixed and stored together in a laboratory to encourage fertilization OR
  • Intracytoplasmic sperm injection(ICSI) is done in which a single sperm is injected directlyinto the egg in an attempt to achieve fertilization

Step 5 Transfer of embryos into the uterus: After 3-4 days following egg fertilization, the embryos are transferred into the woman-suterus through a catheter.

Successful procedure will result in implantation after six to ten days following egg retrieval.

Authored by Dr.Deepak Rao

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Dr. Deepak Rao is a gynaecologist and laparoscopic surgeon. A pioneer of endoscopic surgery (laparascopy and hysteroscopy) in Bangalore

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