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IVF Center

In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)

In Vitro Fertilization is an assisted reproductive technology (ART) commonly referred to as IVF. IVF is the process of fertilization by extracting eggs, retrieving a sperm sample, and then manually combining an egg and sperm in a laboratory dish. The embryo(s) is then transferred to the uterus. Other forms of ART include gamete intrafallopian transfer (GIFT) and zygote intrafallopian transfer (ZIFT).

IVF can be used to treat infertility in the following patients:

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

Step 1: Fertility medications are prescribed to stimulate egg production. Multiple eggs are desired because some eggs will not develop or fertilize after retrieval. A transvaginal ultrasound is used to examine the ovaries, and blood test samples are taken to check hormone levels.

Step 2: Eggs are retrieved through a minor surgical procedure that uses ultrasound imaging to guide a hollow needle through the pelvic cavity to remove the eggs. Medication is provided to reduce and remove potential discomfort.

Step 3: The male is asked to produce a sample of sperm, which is prepared for combining with the eggs.

Step 4: In a process called insemination, the sperm and eggs are mixed together and stored in a laboratory dish to encourage fertilization. In some cases where there is a lower probability of fertilization, intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) may be used. Through this procedure, a single sperm is injected directly into the egg in an attempt to achieve fertilization. The eggs are monitored to confirm that fertilization and cell division are taking place. Once this occurs, the fertilized eggs are considered embryos.

Step 5: The embryos are usually transferred into the woman’s uterus three to five days following egg retrieval and fertilization. A catheter or small tube is inserted into the uterus to transfer the embryos. This procedure is painless for most women, although some may experience mild cramping. If the procedure is successful, implantation typically occurs around six to ten days following egg retrieval.

Side effects of in vitro fertilization

Although you may need to take it easy after the procedure, most women can resume normal activities the following day.

Some side effects after IVF may include:

-Passing a small amount of fluid (may be clear or blood-tinged) after the procedure

-Mild cramping

-Mild bloating

-Constipation

-Breast tenderness

3If you experience any of the following symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

-Heavy vaginal bleeding

-Pelvic pain

-Blood in the urine

-A fever over 100.5 °F (38 °C)

Additional risks of IVF include the following:

Egg retrieval carries risks of bleeding, infection, and damage to the bowel or bladder.

The chance of a multiples pregnancy is increased with the use of fertility treatment. There are additional risks and concerns related to multiples during pregnancy including the increased risk of premature delivery and low birth weight.

Though the rates of miscarriage are similar to unassisted conception, the risk does increase with maternal age.

The Kare Hospital reports that the risk of ectopic pregnancy with IVF are 2-5%. An ectopic pregnancy is when a fertilized egg implants anywhere outside the uterus and is not viable.

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) involves a significant physical, financial, and emotional commitment on the part of a couple. Psychological stress and emotional problems are common, especially if in vitro fertilization (IVF) is unsuccessful.

How successful is in vitro fertilization?

The success rate of IVF clinics depends on a number of factors including reproductive history, maternal age, the cause of infertility, and lifestyle factors. It is also important to understand that pregnancy rates are not the same as live birth rates.