IVF Process & Preparation of Couples Before Undergoing IVF
In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one option to overcome fertility problems. IVF is a procedure of combining egg and sperm cells that are put together in a container that has growing media in a special laboratory. The IVF process starts from stimulation of ovulation to embryo transfer.
This planting medium will be given nutrients to help fertilization and embryo development. The fertilization process will be observed for 3-5 days in the laboratory. After that, the embryo will be transferred to the woman’s uterus.
IVF is a solution for couples who want to have children but are constrained by fertility problems or infertility. Couples who are declared infertile are those who have had sex without regular contraception for one year.
IVF is usually recommended for women who have fertility problems or with medical conditions such as:
- Damage or blockage of the fallopian tubes. Damage or blockage of the fallopian tube makes it difficult for an egg or embryo to travel to the uterus.
- Ovulation disorders. If ovulation is infrequent or absent, fewer eggs are available for fertilization.
- Endometriosis. Endometriosis occurs when uterine tissue implants and grows outside the uterus – often affecting the function of the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes.
- uterine fibroids. Fibroids are benign tumors in the uterine wall and are common in women in their 30s and 40s. Fibroids can interfere with the implantation of a fertilized egg.
- Previous sterilization or removal of the tube. If you’ve had a tubal ligation – a type of sterilization in which the fallopian tubes are cut or blocked to permanently prevent pregnancy – and want to get pregnant, IVF may be an alternative to tubal ligation reversal.
- Impaired sperm production or function. Below average sperm concentration, weak sperm motility (poor mobility), or abnormalities in sperm size and shape can make it difficult for sperm to fertilize an egg. If a semen abnormality is found, your partner may need to see a specialist to determine if there is an fixable problem or an underlying health problem.
- Unexplained infertility. Unexplained infertility means that no cause for infertility is found despite evaluation for common causes.
- A genetic disorder.
- Fertility preservation for cancer or other health conditions. If you are starting cancer treatment – such as radiation or chemotherapy – that could compromise fertility, IVF to maintain fertility may be an option. Women can have eggs removed from their ovaries and frozen in an unfertilized state for later use. Eggs can be fertilized and frozen as embryos that can be used in the future.
Stages of IVF Procedures
Undergoing IVF procedures must go through several stages, starting from ovulation stimulation, retrieval of female patients’ egg cells, male patient’s sperm cell retrieval, egg fertilization, to embryo transfer.
Stimulation of Ovulation
In one month usually women produce one egg every menstrual cycle. For IVF, it requires a lot of eggs to increase the chances of developing a viable embryo.
In this process, female patients will be given hormone injections to increase egg production. During the process, female patients will have regular blood tests and ultrasounds to monitor the progress of egg production.
Egg retrieval is also known as follicular aspiration. At this stage, the female patient will undergo a surgical procedure under anesthesia for egg retrieval.
Sperm Cell Collection
In the IVF process, male patients will provide sperm cell samples. The best sperm cells will be selected which will later be mixed with eggs that have been taken from female patients in a container.
Fertilization of Egg Cells
In this process, the eggs that have been taken will be mixed with sperm cells in a container. This procedure is done to monitor the development of the embryo. At this time, embryos can be taken for testing for genetic conditions.
Embryo Transfer The
The next IVF process is embryo transfer. This procedure will be carried out 3-5 days after conception. Pregnancy can occur when the embryo implants in the uterine wall. This procedure can take 6 – 10 days. To check for pregnancy, the female patient will do a blood test.
Preparation Before Undergoing IVF
Before undergoing IVF procedure, the patient will do some preparations. This is done to prepare the body for pregnancy. Starting from eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, taking prenatal vitamins, reducing caffeine consumption, to quitting alcohol and smoking.
Consumption of Healthy Food
Eating healthy food is one of the preparations before performing IVF procedures. Besides being able to provide nutrition for the body, eating healthy foods also affects sperm health in men who will undergo the IVF process.
One of the reproductive endocrinologists, dr. Aimee Eyvazzadeh, recommends a Mediterranean-style diet. Research shows that the Mediterranean diet can increase IVF success rates in those under 35 years of age.
Before performing IVF procedures, the body condition must be healthy and fit. Therefore, regular exercise can be done before undergoing the IVF process. The American Heart Association, an organization in the United States that conducts research on cardiovascular medicine, recommends exercising at least 30 minutes per day with a frequency of 5 days per week.
Regular exercise can also increase heart rate, lower blood pressure, reduce diabetes, and increase the chances of success for the IVF process.
Reducing Caffeine Consumption
Research shows excess caffeine can reduce the chances of getting pregnant through IVF by as much as 50 percent. Studies recommend consuming less than three cups of caffeine per day.
Taking Prenatal Vitamins
Before undergoing IVF procedures, take prenatal vitamins for the previous 30 days to increase folic acid. Prenatal vitamins are also important for protecting the fetus against birth defects of the brain and spine. For male patients, prenatal vitamins can help improve sperm quality.
Stop Consuming Alcohol and Smoking
Consuming alcohol and cigarettes can interfere with fertility. Alcohol and cigarettes can also reduce the quality of a man’s sperm so this will have an impact on the results of the future IVF process.
Avoiding Excessive Stress
In addition to some of the preparations above, excessive stress must be avoided before undergoing the IVF process. Not only affects health conditions, stress can interfere with fertility and the success of the IVF process.
Preparing Costs for IVF Process
Planning IVF procedures must of course prepare costs for all care and treatment that will be carried out. Usually the tube costs outside with the cost of medicines and vitamins needed for female patients. So preparing the cost of IVF also needs to be done.
IVF Success Rate
Age is one of the success factors for IVF procedures for every couple. The CDC reports that IVF success rates are increasing in every age group as the technique is refined and doctors are becoming more experienced.
In 2014 and 2016 the percentage of IVF treatments that resulted in live births was:
- 29% for women under 35
- 23% for women aged 35 to 37
- 15% for women aged 38 to 39 years
- 9% for women aged 40 to 42
- 3% for women aged 43 to 44 years
- 2% for women over 44 years
This is based on consideration of a healthy weight, free from alcohol, smoking and caffeine during IVF procedures which provide a high chance for IVF.
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