IVF/ Test Tube Baby
In Vitro Fertilization or Test Tube Baby is a process where the egg and sperm are fertilized outside the body.
The term ‘In-Vitro’, meaning ‘in the glass’, was used because the early experiments were carried out in glass containers like test tubes, beakers, etc. In fact, babies resulting from this treatment are often called ‘test tube babies’ which is a reference to the test tubes commonly used in science laboratories. IVF may be prescribed to women whose infertility stems from problems with the fallopian tube or other problems which make fertilization in vivo, or inside the woman difficult or impossible. It can also be used in males if defects in sperm quality are detected. It is used along with other methods to boost the chance for success in case of male infertility.
Procedure of IVF
The process of In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) involves hormonal stimulation of woman’s ovarian follicles to boost the production of eggs. The eggs are then retrieved from the ovaries. The partner is then required to provide a fresh sperm sample. If donor sperm is used, they are removed from the frozen storage and thawed. They are then mixed with the partner’s or donor’s sperm in the laboratory for 14-18 hours after which they are checked if fertilization has occurred. If there is a fertilized egg, also called an embryo, it is placed in a special growth medium for 24 hours until it develops a bit more. The best embryo is then selected and is then placed in the womb of the woman. Usually, if the woman is below 40, one or two embryos are transferred, if she is above 40, up to 4 embryos can be used. Due to risks involved in multiple births, the number of embryos transferred is restricted. The remaining healthy eggs and embryos can be saved for future attempts.
While IVF is considered to be largely safe, in certain cases, complications can arise. Among these are complications arising during egg retrieval, problems during hyper-simulation of ovaries, multiple births, and emotional stress.
Is IVF for me?
IVF is not the first procedure if you suspect an infertility problem. In many cases, you may be able to conceive simply by knowing the best period to have sex. In many cases, you could also increase your chances of pregnancy by making simple lifestyle changes. When it comes to treatment, you could first opt for less invasive and less expensive methods like Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) You should go for egg retrieval and IVF or any other advanced procedures (ICSI, Blastocyst culture etc) after that. However, these are general guidelines only, and your doctor is the best person to suggest which procedure you should go with first. A variety of factors (age, clinical reports etc) are taken into consideration by fertility experts in suggesting your best treatment options.