IVF, full form In Vitro Fertilization, is a complex procedure that assists in conceiving a child. The word “in vitro” means “in the lab” where the retrieved egg and sperm are fertilized externally in a laboratory and then implanted into the woman’s uterus. The process is also known as assisted reproductive technology or ART where a set of medications and certain surgical procedures are used to help a woman to conceive.
Babies produced this way were earlier known as “test-tube babies” as the babies were conceived outside the mother’s womb. It is different from artificial insemination like IUI (intrauterine insemination) where the sperm of the partner is directly released into the uterus and pregnancy is then followed naturally.
In IVF, mature eggs are retrieved from the ovaries and then they are fertilized artificially with the sperm in a laboratory. Then after a full cycle of fertilization, the fertilized egg or eggs are implanted into the uterus of the woman.
In IVF, anonymous donor sperm or eggs can be used for pregnancy. In some cases, the fertilized embryo can be implanted into the uterus of a gestational carrier. A gestational carrier is a woman who implants the fertilized embryo in her womb to bear a child on behalf of a woman who is unable to conceive.
IVF is a complicated procedure and its success rate depends on a number of factors like the age of the woman, quality of the embryo, underlying health factors, etc. The process is time-consuming and also expensive and has potential risks. Many times, women who have undergone an IVF procedure had twins or even triplets.
Why is IVF done?
IVF is an invasive and costly treatment for infertility. Before undergoing IVF, couples try to conceive through other fertility treatments like medications, artificial insemination like IUI, etc.
In vitro fertilization is often used to treat women over the age of 40 or 45 who cannot conceive naturally or have undergone fertility treatments but have not conceived.
IVF can be used for fertility treatment if a woman or her partner has any of the following conditions:
- Ovulation problems: Women who suffer from ovulation disorders have fewer eggs or ova for fertilization.
- Endometriosis: Here, the uterine tissue may grow and spread outside the uterus affecting the normal functioning of the fallopian tubes, uterus, and ovaries.
- Fibroids: Uterine fibroids are common in women between the ages of 30 to 40. These are benign tumors that can prevent the successful implantation of the embryo in the uterus wall.
- Tubal ligation: For women who have undergone tubal ligation or sterilization where the fallopian tubes have been blocked or removed, it is difficult to conceive naturally.
- Damage or blockage of the fallopian tubes: If there is a blockage in the fallopian tubes or they are damaged, it will be difficult for the embryo to travel up to the uterus.
- Poor sperm quality: In the case of male infertility, where the sperm production is below average or there is a deformity in the size or shape of the sperm, it is difficult for a woman to conceive naturally. Men with semen abnormalities must undergo fertility treatments.
- Genetic disorders: If a woman or her partner has a genetic disorder or has any family history of genetic abnormalities, the doctor will perform preimplantation genetic testing on the fertilized embryos. After the test, only a healthy embryo will be implanted in the uterus. However, not all genetic disorders are detectable at such an early stage.
- Unexplained infertility: This can be very frustrating for women who want to conceive when they do not know the real cause of their infertility.
- Fertility preservation or embryo freezing: Women who are about to undergo cancer treatment cannot conceive. They often use IVF to freeze their embryos so that they can be implanted later on when they are healthy and ready to conceive. Nowadays, many professional women who are over 35 or 40 use IVF to freeze their embryos so that they can be pregnant whenever they are ready.
Before undergoing an IVF procedure, you and your partner may have to undergo various tests to ascertain the extent of your infertility, the quality of your eggs, and the sperm.
- Ovarian reserve test: Here a blood test of the woman is done to detect the quality of the eggs and the quantity. It also measures the FSH or follicle-stimulating hormone, the estradiol, and the anti-Mullerian hormone found in the blood of a woman during the first stage of the menstrual cycle. The blood test will be followed by an ultrasound of the ovaries to see how the ovaries will react to the IVF program and medication.
- Semen analysis: The male partner must also undergo a fertility evaluation through semen analysis to determine the quality of the sperm.
- Screening for infectious diseases: The couple has to undergo a test to rule out any infectious diseases like HIV that could be transmitted to the woman while conceiving or to the unborn child.
- Mock embryo transfer: This test is done to measure the depth of the uterine cavity so that the doctor can successfully implant the embryo in the uterus.
- Uterine exam: Here, the doctor examines the inner lining of your uterus wall before starting the IVF procedure. A sonohysterography can be used where the doctor inserts a fluid through a plastic tube inside your uterus to take images of the lining of the uterus wall and the uterine cavity. The doctor may also use hysteroscopy to examine the uterus. A hysteroscope which is a thin telescope with a camera and a light is inserted through the cervix to examine the uterus.
Before a patient undergoes an IVF procedure, the doctor may perform a pelvic laparoscopy to examine the pelvic organs. It is used to get sample tissues for biopsy and to repair any damage in the pelvic organs.
Pelvic laparoscopy: The surgery is done under general anesthesia. A small incision (1.25 cm) is done on the skin just below the belly button. A laparoscope is a small telescope that has a camera and a light is inserted into the incision to view the organs. Doctors look for symptoms that may cause infertility. The doctor can also repair/remove parts of the uterus, or ovaries, or uterine tubes that are damaged. If a person has endometriosis, the doctor can remove scar tissue that may be affecting the normal functioning of the fallopian tubes.
There are several stages to the IVF procedure.
Superovulation or stimulation of the eggs: Fertility drugs are used to improve the ovulation process and egg production. In general, a woman’s body produces only one egg in a month but stimulation will boost the ovulation process and her body will produce several eggs in a month. The woman has to undergo several transvaginal ultrasounds and blood tests to determine her hormone levels during this time.
Egg retrieval: A follicular aspiration is used to retrieve the eggs from the woman and is performed at the doctor’s chamber or a hospital. Mild anesthetic agents are used during the procedure. The doctor will insert a thin needle through the vagina to extract the eggs from the ovaries. A suction device is attached to the needle that retrieves the eggs. In some patients, a pelvic laparoscopy can be used to retrieve the eggs.
Insemination and fertilization: The sperm of the partner will be collected. The sperms will be inseminated or mixed with the best quality eggs to promote fertilization. They are kept in a separate chamber. Generally, the fertilization occurs within a few hours. If the partner’s sperm count is very low, ICSI (intracytoplasmic sperm injection) may be done where healthy sperm is directly injected into the egg.
Embryo culture: The fertilized eggs will start dividing into cells. As it starts dividing it forms an embryo. A pre-implantation genetic diagnosis or PGD is done after 3 to 5 days of the fertilization to check for any genetic disorders.
Embryo transfer: After the embryo has matured properly, the doctor will implant the fertilized embryo using a thin catheter into the womb of the woman. In a successful pregnancy, the fertilized embryo will attach to the uterine wall and develop into a fetus.
- Medication side effects: Hot flushes, restlessness, irritation, headaches, etc.
- Multiple births: There is a huge risk of multiple fetuses and early labor.
- Premature babies: Babies may be born early with low birth weight.
- Ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome: The fertility drugs may cause pain and swelling of the ovaries.
- Miscarriage: Higher risks of miscarriage in women undergoing IVF than natural pregnancies.
- Ectopic pregnancy: There may be ectopic pregnancy where the fertilized egg may attach to the fallopian tubes instead of the uterus.
- Developmental defects: Women who are above 40 are at risk of developing birth defects in the fetus.
- Cancer: Some studies have proved that some fertility medications can stimulate the growth of ovarian tumors.
- Stress and anxiety: IVF can be very stressful for patients. A patient undergoing an IVF treatment needs the support of their friends and families.
Patient Care After IVF
- Take rest: The IVF procedure can be traumatic. You have undergone hormonal treatments and a procedure. So, after the implantation, patients are advised to take ample rest. Relax and keep your mind calm.
- Medications: Many patients take progesterone after an IVF to boost the pregnancy. Patients must keep on taking medications as prescribed by their doctor.
- Healthy diet: Eat healthy food. Eat fruits and vegetables that are rich in calcium and vitamins.
- Avoid sex: Do not have sex just after the implantation. Your body must need rest and sexual intercourse may prevent the embryo to attach to the uterine wall.
What to Expect after an IVF?
After the implantation, you may experience some mild side effects such as:
- Mild vaginal spotting
- Breast tenderness
- Mood swings
Generally, after two weeks, your doctor will ask you for a sample blood test to detect pregnancy. If you are pregnant, your doctor will refer you to a gynecologist or an obstetrician. If you are not pregnant, your doctor will ask you to stop taking progesterone and your normal menstruation will resume within one week.
For couples who have tried to get pregnant without any success, this can put a lot of strain on their marriage. Infertility in women can be due to several causes, including blocked fallopian tubes, an ovary that releases an egg prematurely, or a fertilized egg that gets implanted inside the uterus. There is a need to undergo a thorough examination by a competent gynecologist and establish the actual cause of infertility. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a useful technique that has helped many people with fertility problems.
Benefits for IVF Treatment in Bangalore
- Affordable costs
- High-end medical facilities
- Efficient doctors
- High success rates
- Minimal risks
Goficure for IVF Treatment in Bangalore
At Goficure, we work closely with a highly competent team of doctors drawn across Bangalore, who are experts in IVF. Our experts recommend laser-assisted hatching alongside IVF because it improves the success of implantation. The technique is also associated with minimal handling of an embryo, is safe, and gentle. Laser-assisted hatching is also administered under clinical guidance, based on individual circumstances. At goficure, we offer one of the most detailed plans for IVF treatment in Bangalore. This helps us to administer IVF treatment safely and quickly. We also offer one of the most highly discounted consultations with IVF specialists in Bangalore. Goficure has partnered with hospitals in Bangalore that specialize in IVF treatment to allow you to undergo the procedure. We will have you picked from your home in one of our hospital vans, get you prepared for the procedure, and drive you back home after the surgery. Goficure also assists with your insurance claim. Our post-op consultation is among the very best in Bangalore. We also offer post-op care and guidance, including liaising with leading nutritionists in Bangalore. They will assist you with a personalized diet plan for faster healing.
1. Dedicated Medi-Pal
A dedicated Medi-Pal is assigned to you. Your Medi-Pal will be your one point contact throughout the treatment and post-op period. They will always be available for you
2. Quick doctor’s appointments
After understanding your concerns, your Medi-Pal will schedule your consultation with a specialist doctor. Your doctor will carry out necessary tests and advise the course of treatment
3. Hassle-free treatment
If you opt to get the surgery done, goficure will take care of it completely. Right from booking your surgery, claiming your insurance to being with you throughout the procedure, your Medi-Pal will do it all
4. Post-op recovery support
Your Medi-Pal would ensure quick recovery. This includes booking your follow up consultations and helping you with doctor-recommended steps for diet & exercise
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