Science has made many leaps forward. The invention of the in vitro procedure has given so many people the chance to have a baby, even if they are experiencing reproductive problems. Since 1978, over a million 'in vitro' babies have been born - a figure that is exceptionally impressive.
Though many people have heard about it or know partially how in vitro takes place, few know the procedure in its entirety. Naturally, in vitro fertilization is a chance but something to worry about, as well. After all, the process is leading to the birth of a child in a very different way from the traditional manner.
This is when the real procedure gets started. The future mom undergoes ultrasound examination, blood tests and gynaecological exams. The future dad will respectively have to undergo sperm analysis.
Most in vitro clinics control ovulation by using different types of medicines. The gynaecologist decides on the most suitable type of drug.
Such medications prevent the egg from being discharged too early during the menstrual cycle. This procedure is called follicle suppression. Follicle suppression medicines are taken for a period of two weeks but the period can be changed on the basis of the bodily response.
To increase the chances of pregnancy, medics will use follicle stimulating medicines that, as the name suggest, stimulate the ovaries to produce more eggs than what is considered normal. In this way, more eggs are available for fertilization and transfer into the uterus.
Follicle stimulating medications are administered for a period of seven to 10 days. During that time, the lady who is trying to get pregnant will have to see her gynaecologist frequently. He/She will monitor the manner in which follicles are developing. Ultrasound equipment is needed to do that.
The progress will be monitored carefully so that the gynaecologist knows whether the medicine is functioning or if an adjustment is needed.
During one IVF cycle, an egg needs to be obtained before the natural ovulation takes place. Unfortunately, some female organisms are incapable of responding well to follicle stimulation. If the number of follicles is small, stimulation is likely to be discontinued. Other ladies will have too many follicles developing in their ovaries. This is unadvisable and the medical team will monitor the response to make sure that the number of follicles remains reasonable.
Eggs need to be obtained during a specific time frame. The careful selection of the right moment is very important since the egg is needed before it undergoes natural ovulation.
A needle is used to collect mature eggs. Ultrasound equipment guides the needle to the ovary.
Getting the Egg Fertilized
Once the egg is obtained, it has to be fertilized. Experts at the IVF lab get the eggs obtained during the previous stage with sperm previously collected from the lady's partner or spouse. On a coming day, eggs are examined for signs of fertilization.
The fertilized eggs are called pre-embryos. They will be examined in the coming days for proper cell division. When the embryos reach a certain stage of development, they will be positioned in the uterus.
Embryos are transferred in the uterus during a short procedure. The number of embryos to be transferred will be determined in advance.
A catheter is introduced through the vagina and the cervix into the uterus. This catheter is used to place the fertilized eggs in the uterus. The procedure is painless. After the transfer, the medic is likely to administer progesterone, which helps the female body accept the embryos.
This is where the procedure ends. The final stage is getting a pregnancy test. If the test is positive, the in vitro clinic stages ultrasound scans, which can confirm the good condition and positioning of the embryos.