What is IVF?


Dr. Suman

Jul 06, 2021

Taking into consideration, what is IVF? we are well aware that technology enhancement has made its place in medical science quite effective. It has saved many lives and given reasons to cherish the beauty of life as well. One such medical science advancement is In Vitro Fertilization that has helped many sterile women or those who lost hope of having a child, cherish motherhood.

What is ivf treatment

Understanding IVF

To know In vitro fertilization (IVF) or what is IVF treatment, experts say that this is a type of assistive reproductive technology (ART) that helps a couple conceive a pregnancy. It involves fetching eggs from a woman’s ovaries and fertilizing them with sperm in a laboratory. This fertilized egg or embryo is then transferred to a woman’s uterus or frozen for storage. 

As per the health condition of the couples, IVF can use:

  • A woman’s eggs and her partner’s sperm
  • A woman’s eggs and a donor sperm
  • A donor’s eggs and the male partner’s sperm (male partner of the couple)
  • A donor’s eggs and a donor’s sperm
  • Donated embryos (from donor to a sterile couple)

A healthcare practitioner can implant embryos in a surrogate, or gestational carrier also. In general, a surrogate is a woman who carries the baby for a woman wanting a child through IVF. 

How does the IVF process work?

IVF means in vitro fertilization. To understand how does IVF works, one must know that It works by using a combination of some specific medicines and surgical procedures to help sperm fertilize an egg, and help the fertilized egg or embryo implant in a woman’s uterus.

It involves certain steps:

  • First— A woman needs to take medication that helps make several of her eggs mature and ready for fertilization. 
  • Second— Then the doctor or a healthcare practitioner would take the eggs out of the woman’s body and mixes them with sperm in a lab, to help the sperm fertilize the eggs. This sperm can be from the woman’s male partner or donor sperm.  
  • Third— Then the doctor would put 1 or more fertilized eggs (embryos) directly into the woman’s uterus. Pregnancy happens if any of the embryos implants in the lining of the woman’s uterus.

In many cases, IVF can be done in multiple cycles and it may take several months to complete the whole procedure. However, many couples got to have ‘Good News’ on their first try only, but many couples need more than 1 round of IVF to cherish parenthood. 

IVF increases your chances of pregnancy if you’re having fertility problems, but there’s no guarantee. Studies also suggest that many couples are going for natural IVF to avoid the cost and have a patient-friendly procedure. For the most part, everyone’s body is different and the efficiency of IVF treatments depends largely on the body’s response to it.

What is IVF Pregnancy?

IVF pregnancy stands for an IVF treatment that has helped a woman get pregnant. One can comprehend the treatment in five steps as given:

  • Ovulation Stimulation

A woman produces one egg during each menstrual cycle. However, an IVF treatment may require multiple eggs. In general, doctors use multiple eggs as it helps increase the chances of developing a viable embryo. A woman undergoing such treatment will receive fertility drugs to increase the number of eggs her body produces. Meanwhile, the doctor will perform regular blood tests and ultrasound to check the production of the eggs. The doctor would then let the healthcare practitioner performing IVF know when to extract them.

  • Fetching Eggs

This process of fetching eggs or retrieving eggs is known as follicular aspiration. It is a surgical procedure that involves the usage of anesthesia. The doctor will use an ultrasound wand to guide a needle through the woman’s vagina, into the ovary, and an egg-containing follicle. The needle will suction eggs and fluid out of each follicle.

  • Insemination

Here comes the role of the male partner. In this step, the male partner will give a semen sample. A laboratory technician will mix the sperm with the eggs in a dish. It will then monitor if the egg is fertilizing. If that doesn’t work or produce embryos, the doctor may decide to switch to other fertility treatment options. 

  • Embryo Testing

Once the egg and the sperm are mixed, the doctor will monitor the fertilized eggs to make sure that they’re dividing and developing. The embryos may undergo testing to check genetic conditions at this time as well.

  • Implantation 

If embryos are fertilized and big enough, they can be implanted. It normally takes three to five days after fertilization to reach the required size. The Implantation process involves inserting a thin tube called a catheter inserted into a woman’s vagina, past the cervix, and into the uterus. Then, the doctor releases the embryo into the uterus.

Pregnancy takes place when the embryo implants itself in the uterine wall. This may take six to ten days. Next, the woman can go for a blood test to check if she is pregnant. 

Causes of Infertility that IVF can treat

When it comes to infertility, IVF can be an option if a woman or her partner has been diagnosed with:

  • Endometriosis
  • Low sperm counts
  • Uterus or fallopian tubes issues
  • Ovulation problems
  • Antibody problems that affect sperm or eggs
  • Sperm immobility 
  • Poor quality of eggs 
  • The genetic disease of any of the partners 
  • An unexplained fertility issue

However, medical practitioners suggest IVF in cases of complete tubal blockage and avoid referring to it as the first line of treatment for infertility issues. In particular, it is reserved for cases where other modes of treatments such as fertility drugs, surgery, and artificial insemination fail to show the desired outcomes.

If you think that IVF might work for you, consult with your healthcare practitioner or get in touch treatment center before undergoing the procedure. 

Why should you choose IVF?

Many of you might be thinking if it is recommended in the later phases or after trying other methods then why IVF? 

Well, In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a treatment for infertility or genetic problems. Sometimes, women over 40 years of age give IVF a try and cherish motherhood. Male partners, who struggle with sperm immobility, can also go for IVF, especially if they tried less-invasive treatment options before attempting IVF, including fertility drugs to increase production of eggs or intrauterine insemination, and got no results. Generally, it is a procedure in which sperms are placed directly in a female body’s uterus near the time of ovulation.

Moreover, IVF is offered as a primary treatment for infertility if any of the partners have certain health conditions. For instance, one can go for this fertility treatment option if the female partner has:

  • Fallopian Tube Blockage— Any damage or blockage in the fallopian tubes makes it difficult for an egg to be fertilized or for an embryo to travel to the uterus.
  • Ovulation Issues— If the female partner is having infrequent or no ovulation, then fewer eggs would be available for fertilization and that hampers pregnancy.
  • Endometriosis— It is a health condition in females where the uterine tissue implants and grows outside of the uterus. It often affects the function of the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes.
  • Uterine Fibroids— Fibroids are benign tumors that attach to the wall of the uterus and are common in women in their 30s and 40s. These uterine fibroids often interfere with the implantation of the fertilized eggs.
  • Previous Tubal Sterilization — In case the female partner had tubal ligation previously, it can obstruct pregnancy. It is a type of sterilization in which the fallopian tubes are cut or blocked to permanently prevent pregnancy. In such a case, if a female wishes to conceive, IVF may be an alternative to tubal ligation reversal.

Also, if the male partner is struggling with 

  • Impaired Sperm Function— Sometimes the male partner might have certain infertility issues that do not allow the sperm to help the egg get fertilized. It can be below-average sperm concentration, weak movement of sperm (poor mobility), or abnormalities in sperm size and shape. All these issues make it difficult for a sperm to fertilize an egg. 
  • Unexplained Infertility— In many cases, a poor lifestyle or unhealthy habits might cause infertility. However, despite evaluation for common causes, one cannot find the underlying cause and term it as ‘Unexplained Infertility.’ 

Other Health Conditions

  • A Genetic Disorder— If any of the partners are at risk of passing on a genetic disorder to the child, they can go for pre-implantation genetic testing. This procedure involves IVF treatment. Once the eggs are harvested and fertilized, the doctor screens them for certain genetic problems, even if all genetic problems are not found. Embryos that don’t show pre-identified genetic problems are be transferred to the uterus.
  • Other health conditions— In case, any of the partners is going to start cancer treatment, including radiation or chemotherapy, it can affect fertility. In such cases, IVF for fertility preservation may be an option. The female partner can have her eggs harvested from her ovaries and frozen in an unfertilized state for later use. Also, the eggs can be fertilized and frozen as embryos for future use as well.

Moreover, female partners who don’t have a functional uterus or for whom pregnancy poses a serious health risk might choose IVF. However, they pick another person (gestational carrier) to carry their pregnancy. In this case, the woman’s eggs are fertilized with sperm, but the resulting embryos are placed in the gestational carrier’s uterus to raise it. 


What is IVF and how is it done?

Ans- IVF stands for in-vitro fertilization and it is among the most common second-line treatment for infertility issues. It is done by retrieving the eggs from a female body and mixing it with sperm in a laboratory. Once the egg gets fertilized, it is then transferred to the female body’s uterus. 

Why do people get IVF?

Ans- People get IVF as an infertility treatment when other or the first-line of treatment fail to show the outcomes. It can be fertility medications and hormonal therapy. After trying all such methods, if they fail to attain pregnancy, choosing IVF is a good option. 

What is IVF pregnancy?

Ans- IVF pregnancy is a pregnancy attained after undergoing a successful IVF treatment. Here, the woman gets to conceive, get over the trauma of losing the chance of pregnancy, and cherish the beauty of motherhood with the help of this assisted reproductive technology treatment option. 

How is IVF done step by step?

Ans- It involves certain key steps that start with the treatment, then stimulation of ovaries, injection triggering, retrieval of eggs and collection of semen, then fertilization. Next comes transferring of the embryo to the female body’s uterus, the luteal phase, and finally the testing of pregnancy. 

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