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IVF was a big decision that I took in 2016.
When my doctor guided me that IVF is the path towards my motherhood, I completely gave into this procedure.
Being an inquisitive biology student, all I wanted to do was to understand this procedure so that I am prepared for all the steps involved in this procedure.
I went through a few websites like Mayo Clinic, WebMD and Healthline.com and tried to gain knowledge about the technique. Although I did have some knowledge previously, I still wanted to know each and every step in detail.
My gynaecologist shared with me that IVF is a reproductive assisted technology. It’s a process of fertilisation where an egg and sperm are fertilised in laboratory conditions.
The embryo is then transferred to the uterus and you are blessed with a baby.
It does sound simple but there are 6 steps which I went through to achieve the desired results.
There are a lot of ups and downs associated with this technique, where one has to take a decision, with mind and heart both involved simultaneously.
First of all, when I took this decision I was told about the patients who undergo this procedure.
Who Needs an IVF?
It is used to treat infertility in the following patients:
- Blocked /damaged Fallopian tubes.
- Fallopian tubes removed.
- Women with ovulation disorders, premature ovarian failure, uterine fibroids.
- Male factor infertility -Sperm motility /count etc.
- Genetic disorder.
- Unexplained fertility issues -The most common these days.
How Did I Prepare for In Vitro Fertilisation?
Before starting the treatment I first underwent the ovarian reserve tests and other tests. This involved taking a blood test sample and testing my FSH levels. The result of this gave information about my size and quality of eggs. Secondly, my uterus was examined and the health of my uterus was revealed to be positive for a healthy pregnancy. This is done with the help of an ultrasound machine. It also helped my gynecologist to determine the best way to implant the embryos.
Men undergo sperm testing. This involves giving a semen sample, which a lab will analyze for the number, size, and shape of the sperm.
Choosing to have an IVF is a very personal decision. There are a number of factors to consider:
In case the ovarian reserve is not good then the doctor suggests a donor egg and in case the sperm quality is not good then sperm donors are suggested.
What to do with any unused embryos?
How many embryos do you wish to transfer? The more embryos transferred, the higher the risk of multiple pregnancies. Most doctors won’t transfer more than two embryos.
How do you feel about the possibility of having twins, triplets, or higher order multiple pregnancies?
What about the legal and emotional issues associated with using donated eggs, sperm, and embryos or a surrogate?
What are the financial, physical, and emotional stresses associated with IVF?
Once these possibilities are taken care of the process of IVF is started.
How is In Vitro Fertilisation Performed?
The first process of IVF is Stimulation: In this process, I was given gonadotropins to increase the number of my eggs. IVF requires multiple eggs to increase the chances of developing viable embryos.
During this phase, the eggs were monitored and examined to see an increase in their size. Trans vaginal ultrasound is performed to examine the egg size until the ovaries have developed the follicles of size 15-22 mm which is considered to be a good mature egg.
The second step was the Egg retrieval: This is a surgical step where I was induced with anesthesia and an ultrasound wand guided the needle through vagina, ovary and into my egg follicle. The needle sucked out egg and fluid out of each follicle.
I was discharged after the procedure and was told to rest the whole day and I resumed my daily activities from the next day.
The third step was Insemination: In this step, the male partner is asked to give a sperm sample. This step can be done anytime, on the same day or days prior. Sperm samples can be stored, in case the partner is not available on a particular day. The technician mixes the sperm with eggs in a petri dish under lab conditions.
The fifth step is the Embryo Culture: Doctors monitor the fertilized eggs to ensure that they are developing and dividing. The embryos undergo testing for any genetic conditions at this time
The last and the final step is the Transfer Stage and Implantation: My embryos were frozen for at least 4 months as I was unable to achieve the desired size of the endometrium.
When the endometrium lining, the inner lining of the uterus achieved a desirable size of 10 -15 mm, which took few months for me to achieve with help of some medications the transfer and implantation were done by inserting a thin tube called catheter and released 6 embryos in my uterus. It’s up to you how many embryos you want to implant. It depends upon the embryo health as well and how many sustain until this phase. As the number of embryos is implanted so are the chances of multiple pregnancies.
But in case you only put one embryo then chances decrease as well so please discuss this in length with your doctor.
This is done without anesthesia.
Pregnancy occurs when the embryo implants itself in the uterine wall. This can take up to 10 to 15 days. An HCG test determined my pregnancy.
The first cycle is a success is not always possible. People have gone through 5-7 cycles and finally got success.
This depends upon many factors such as age, embryo health and unknown factors.
There are some complications also associated with IVF.
What are they?
- Multiple pregnancies-Twins, triplets, Quadruplets which eventually results in preterm labour.
- Pregnancy loss
- Bleeding, Cramping and Infections.
Deciding whether to undergo in vitro fertilization and how to try if the first attempt is unsuccessful is an incredibly complicated decision. The financial, physical, and emotional toll of this process can be difficult. Speak with your doctor extensively to determine what your best options are and if in vitro fertilization is the right path for you and your family.
IVF Success Rate
There are chances that your first cycle may not be successful, there are many reasons associated, such as Age for example. If you are under 35 years your chances are 40% and likewise as your age increases the success rates drop.
When I underwent this journey I followed some Do’s and Don’ts which might help you. Do’s before Cycle:
- Staying healthy was my mantra.
- Exercising moderately
- Taking Vitamin supplements, folic acid, calcium and Iron supplements on daily basis.
- Reduced intake of outside food.
- Staying positive about the process.
Do’s After the Cycle:
- Staying positive.
- No exercise.
- Yoga and Meditation.
- No over the counter drugs –I always referred to my gynaecologist for any medicines.
Don’ts After the Cycle:
- Strenuous work.
The main key for my successful IVF was that I trusted my gynaecologist and this treatment.
Infertility can be dealt with.
Keep trying until you succeed.
There will be a way out for you too.
All the best for your journey in case you are going to go in for one.
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