Is In Vitro Fertilization right for you? Understand the Basics before embarking on this semisweet journey
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), is a process that is conducted to aid fertility and conception of children. This assisted reproductive technology is a technique where the egg and the sperm are combined outside the body, in a laboratory. Insemination of the sperm and the eggs is a great treatment for couples, single woman/man or the couples of the same gender who wish to have a baby. Proven to be the best solution for couples with male infertility, endometriosis and PCOS, this technique also enables the older patients to become parents.
What is the Procedure?
IVF requires multiple eggs to enhance the chance of developing a viable embryo. Drugs are given to increase the production of the eggs, which are then retrieved through a surgical procedure. Further, the sperm and the eggs are fused to produce an embryo. When the embryo is big enough, usually 3-5 days after fertilization, they are finally implanted into the uterus. A pregnancy test after 9-10 days will unveil the success of the procedure. The unused embryos can be used again whenever needed. You can also freeze the eggs if the IVF round doesn’t turn out in your favour.
How and why IVF can become the solution to your fertility problems:
- Inclusivity: It can be used by anybody since it allows infertile couples a chance to get a child wherein the pregnancy can be carried either by themselves or via surrogates/gestational carriers. It also gives same-sex couples the chance to start their own family.
- Multiple paths to get pregnant: Donated eggs/sperm can be used if the man or the woman is unable to conceive naturally. Depending on your situation, IVF can use:
- Your eggs and your partner’s sperm
- Your eggs and donor sperm
- Donor eggs and your partner’s sperm
- Donor eggs and donor sperm
- Donated embryos
- Increased chance of a healthy baby: Genetic screening is done to ensure that the foetus used during IVF is free of medical conditions like Down syndrome. Decreased risk of genetic abnormality also decreases the chance of miscarriage.
- Multiple births: If more than one embryo is implanted, it might result in early labour, multiple pregnancies and low-weight babies.
- Ectopic pregnancy: If the eggs get implanted outside the uterus, it may cause further complications.
- Pregnancy Induced Hypertension: It includes the risk of high blood pressure.
- Additional reactions: Heavy bleeding, Anaemia, mood swings, diarrhoea, nausea, hot flushes, breast tenderness, irritability and insomnia are some of the side effects the patient might face.
- Risks to the baby: Babies born by the IVF procedure are more prone to low birth weight and other congenital birth defects.
- Emotional, financial and physical exertion: The process is frightful, expensive and mentally exhausting. It takes a toll on the physical and mental health of the patient along with burning a hole in their pocket.
What is the success rate of IVF?
The success rates of IVF in India falls between 30-35%, however, your chance of having a healthy baby depends mostly on your age, quality of embryos and cause of infertility. It is believed that a woman under the age of 35 has a higher chance of getting pregnant through IVF as compared to a woman over the age of 40. The number and quality of embryos highly affects the success of the procedure. However, it’s important to understand that everyone’s body is different and it will react differently, so what might have worked for others might not work on your body and vice-versa. Before you consider this option, you might want to explore others first, e.g., hormone replacement therapy options.
Tips to make your journey smoother:
- Stay calm through the stream of emotions: The process can become emotionally exhausting and nerve-wracking. The hormone shots will make you feel all the emotions in its highest intensity, so remember to take a breather.
- A little prep here and there would go a long way: Gearing up for the mushy days ahead would be the path to follow. Cleaner diet, organizing the medications and supplies, clearing up your schedule, wearing stretchy clothes and carefully taking notes during the
- IVF training session would help you fight the emotional and physical exhaustion better.
- Don’t spend too much time on Google: Research is important but it can sometimes become overbearing and paralyzing. Rest, relax and rejuvenate by eating your favourite meals and having a good time with your spouse. Indulge in acupuncture treatments, massages, walks or Netflix and chill, whatever makes you happy to battle the cramps, bloating and mood swings.
- Patience is the key: Not many understand that it’s a long and tiring process. It takes about 6-8 weeks of preparation before the embryo can finally be inserted into the uterus. At this time, stress could be your biggest enemy, so try to patiently wait through the process.
IVF is more common than you think so it’s important to break down the stigma revolving around it and do what makes you and your family happy! If you feel that IVF is the right technique for you, seek advice from a professional and commence your course towards happiness.