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8 Facts You Didn’t Know About In-Vitro-Fertilization (IVF)

A woman bearing a child is not a matter of course, but a small wonder. Many factors must come together at the right time so that a new life can come into existence. As an estimate, every 10th couple in their middle age is not able to have children. Many of these affected couples go through a nerve-wracking and uncertain time, in which the possible methods of the modern reproductive medicine are considered to fulfill their desire to have children . The in-vitro fertilization is one of those methods. Read the 8 most important facts about the prospects, workflow and the risks of IVF treatment:

1. Strictly speaking, IVF is not artificial insemination and does not take place in a test tube.

Although the Latin meaning of the word in-vitro fertilization is “insemination in glass”, the so-called culture dishes are used in place of the test tubes. Moreover, no artificial injection of the sperm is done, but instead the egg and the sperms are brought together, only outside of the body. The insemination is, therefore, “natural”, but only outside the body.

2. IVF is a method that can help women become pregnant, who have problems with their Fallopian tubes.

If the Fallopian tubes are not working, the egg cell cannot reach the uterus and cannot get lodged in the uterus. In the in-vitro fertilization, therefore, the mature egg cells are extracted and are brought together with the male sperm in an incubator. Thereafter, the fertilized egg cells are transferred to the uterus. In this way, the blocked Fallopian tubes can be bypassed.

3. An IVF treatment includes one complete female cycle.

On the first day of the menstrual bleeding, the maturity of the egg cell is enhanced by giving an injection, this is known as hormonal stimulation. On the ninth day of the cycle, the maturity of the follicles is checked by means of ultrasound and blood test. On the basis of this result, the time of ovulation is determined. The egg cells are taken 36 hours after the initial injection. The sperms of the male now have 24 hours for fertilizing the egg cells in the culture dish. Around the 17th day of the cycle, the fertilized egg cells can be placed back in the uterus. About ten days later, the much-awaited pregnancy test can be done with a hopefully positive result.

4. The hormonal stimulation has advantages and disadvantages.

Normally, one egg cell becomes mature in the body of a woman in each cycle. An injection of natural messengers can increase the number of the egg cells and hence also the probability of success of the

treatment. Every egg cell does not develop into an embryo. If several embryos are present, the most promising one can be selected from these. Possible side-effects are an increase in the cycle symptoms, like headache and mood fluctuations. Even serious problems like over-stimulation of the ovaries cannot be ruled out. Asper experience, if a women decides to undergo an IVF treatment without hormonal stimulation, the number of treatment cycles required increases.

5. Multiple and tubal pregnancies are possible risks.

The risk of a multiple pregnancy increases, if several embryos are transferred to the uterus. In case of two embryos, the probability for a twin pregnancy is around 10%. The decision of, how many embryos should be used, is up to the couple. In exceptional cases, a tubal pregnancy can also be caused, if the embryos do not get lodged in the uterus, but instead in the Fallopian tube. Both of the cases could cause pregnancy complications.

6. The chances of success of each embryo transfer are around 30 – 40%.

A lot of factors influence the success rate of an in-vitro fertilization, including the age of the woman, the reason for infertility and the number of embryos transferred. The entire process of treatment is very fragile and does not always succeed. In this case, it can be repeated in the next cycle. The doctor clarifies, whether an interval between the cycles individually makes sense.

7. ICSI is an alternative, if the fertilization outside of the body does not succeed naturally.

In case of IVF, the sperms and the eggs should meet each other by themselves. If the sperms are too slow, too weak or too few, they can be injected directly in the egg cell in the laboratory (ICSI = Intracytoplastic Sperm Injection). This process can be successful, even when the egg membrane (amnion) is thick. During the course of the treatment, there is no difference between IVF and ICSI for the couple. 

8. During the IVF treatment, one should avoid smoking and intake of caffeine and alcohol.

Drugs and poisonous pleasures of all kinds can harm the embryo and cause miscarriages and infertility. Sexual intercourse, on the other hand, can be done during an IVF cycle. Studies have even indicated that this improves the quality of the embryos.

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Source: Caremondo

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