Thursday, 4 December 2014

What is IVF treatment?

As long as humanity has existed, fertility has been a major issue for the medical field. Nowadays, fertility problems affect more than 20% of the population. It is only since the late 1970s that a real chance for conception has arrived, thanks to the development of IVF treatment.

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IVF treatment is in short the in-vitro fertilization of woman's eggs in a laboratory environment.
In-Vitro-Fertilization treatment is recommended to couples that have unprotected sex regularly for longer than a year and have failed to get pregnant. 

ivf treatment

For such couples, several tests are performed to assess their suitability for IVF treatment and especially which of its sub-categories is appropriate for them. The usual examination for women includes an ultrasound check of the ovarian reserves and a test of specific hormones’ levels. 

For men, a spermiogram is conducted to check the sperm count, as well as sperm activity and morphology.Couples that cannot conceive naturally can proceed to the IVF treatment to get pregnant (provided that both partners meet a minimum of certain fertility criteria).

ivfThe process..

The treatment begins with the stimulation of the ovaries, in order for them to produce as many eggs as possible. The stimulation is done with hormone injections and this phase usually lasts from 10 to 14 days. At the end of this period, the mature eggs are collected with a short procedure called Oocyte Pick-Up (OPU). On the same day of the OPU, the sperm is used to fertilize the freshly retrieved eggs (microinjection).

The fertilized eggs are placed in incubators that simulate the human body. These fertilized eggs are then observed for three to five days for their progress: some will develop into viable embryos. The IVF treatment ends and the viable embryos are transferred to the patient’s uterus and from that point on, pregnancy develops naturally.

There are several variations of IVF treatment for cases where fertility problems of one partner (or both) do not allow pregnancy with their own eggs or sperm. In such cases, the treatment is performed using donors’ eggs or sperm (or both). 

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