In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), is a medical treatment that fertilizes egg cells with sperm, in a Petri dish. Currently, it is the most successful treatment option for infertile couple. It has proved to be useful even in older women with low ovarian reserves as well as for couples where the man has low sperm count or low sperm motility.  Though it is an extremely successful treatment, most infertile couples turn to it only after trying various other treatments in vain.

In many ways this also becomes their last resort for having a baby and most couples are willing to give it a shot when other treatments fail.  However, with IVF awareness on the rise, we are now seeing a shift in this trend and some couples who have failed to get  pregnant in their bedroom, directly opt for IVF instead of taking the circuitous route of trying  different treatments. In effect, this is also a smarter option, as they don’t lose time and money experimenting with methods that are most likely to be fruitless.

The IVF process

  • The woman begins her hormone therapy for superovulation. This helps in the production of a larger number of eggs
  • The eggs are removed from her ovaries
  • They are then combined with the sperm, in an IVF lab- this is where fertilization takes place
  • Once these eggs get fertilized, the embryo that formed, is transferred to the woman’s uterus
  • If it successfully implants here, the pregnancy is established

About ICSI

The intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) treatment is a variant of IVF. It is used to treat male infertility (that is  caused by defective sperm which are unable to fertilize the egg). In this process, the sperm is directly injected into the egg cell with the use of a micromanipulator- this helps the sperm fertilize the egg. It is an effective means of fertilizing the eggs in a lab after the eggs have been retrieved from the woman’s ovaries. Typically, ICSI is used when:

  • Couples don’t want to use donor sperms
  • Previous IVF attempts have failed
  • The male partner has low sperm count/motility
  • When the woman has a low ovarian reserve
  • If the number of mature eggs fertilized in the normal manner is low
  • The number of eggs retrieved is very low. When ICSI is used in this case, it’s possible to fertilize a larger number of eggs in comparison to the regular IVF
  • The woman has low quality eggs

Key elements of IVF

The 3 key elements required for successful In Vitro Fertilization are  healthy sperm and eggs and a normal uterus. Over the past few years, there has been a marked improvement in IVF success rates. In good IVF clinics they can be as high as  46% per cycles. It’s important to find a reputed  clinic with a high success rate and one that has an experienced and dedicated  IVF team.

Not happy with the attention you are getting from your IVF clinic? Need more information? Please send me your medical details by filling in the form at www.drmalpani.com/free-second-opinion so that I can guide you!

Authored by : Dr Aniruddha Malpani, MD and reviewed by Dr Anjali Malpani.

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